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Posted: Sunday, August 17, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:32 am, Mon Aug 18, 2014.

(Family Features) For many families, clothing represents the largest share of back-to-school expenses each year. The amount of money that goes into a new school wardrobe paired with the reality that kids tend to be careless about their stained clothing can be daunting, but with proper care, you can take steps to better protect your investment. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately $8.5 billion was spent in family clothing stores in August 2012, the latest data available. This compares to approximately $2 billion spent in bookstores during the same timeframe, highlighting the significant investment families make in new clothing to send kids back-to-school in style. 

You can keep your family’s clothes in tip-top shape year-round by following the advice of the maker of OxiClean

Start fresh. New clothes, especially those that are deeply hued, are notorious for bleeding dye during their initial washings. Protect new garments, and old ones too, by grouping like-colored new items and washing them according to tag instructions. Even clothing that is not at risk of bleeding should be washed before wearing to remove any potential irritants and germs accumulated through handling on store racks. 

Take pre-wash precautions. Give clothing a quick scan before tossing it in the washer to identify and pretreat any stains before they’ve been washed, dried and set into the fabric. Also check pockets for any overlooked items. Shredding tissue or a leaking pen can lead to more time spent washing and cleaning clothes. 

Help keep clothes looking like new longer. Kids’ clothes attract stains like honey attracts bees. With a quality detergent, you can keep your whites bright and colors vibrant while fighting even tough, dried-on stains. For getting rid of stains such as grass, soil, chocolate and tomato sauce, try OxiClean Laundry Detergent in liquid, single-dose paks or powder. It combines powerful, color-safe OxiClean stain fighters, whiteners and a long-lasting fresh scent to deep-clean and freshen your whole wash. 

Sort and learn. Get the kids involved after school or on the weekends and invite them to help out with simple, age-appropriate laundry tasks. Have them help sort clothes by colors or match pairs of socks when they come out of the dryer. 

Share the load. Most families have a fairly consistent way of grouping loads of laundry – whites, darks, linens and so on. Make a list of your most common loads and instructions for handling each, and post it in your laundry room so others can help when the need arises. Be sure to include details such as the proper detergents and pre-treaters to use and settings for temperature and cycle for both the washer and dryer.  As safety is first, always triple-check that all detergents are out of reach of children.

For more tips and articles on ways to get fresh and clean laundry for the whole family, visit www.oxiclean.com and www.facebook.com/oxiclean.


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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