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Sewing that's Retro, Geek, and Chic
Today’s post isn’t exactly about sewing or fashion or what I’ve been up to, but about the related topic of laundry – something we all have to do and usually hate doing.
There are two very simple laundry tips I’ve shared with people over and over and over. You can take care of either oil/grease or blood stains almost anywhere you happen to be without rushing home to do laundry as soon as you can. And you won’t need to carry any stain-fighting chemicals in your purse just for emergencies.
First let’s talk about oil and grease stains.
I don’t remember when I first tried this trick, but I remember dripping some Italian dressing onto my pants once. (Somehow drips and spills always seem to miss the napkin that’s on the lap!) After I finished my meal, I reached for the dish soap from my kitchen sink and rubbed some onto the spot.
Since dish soap (the kind like Ivory or Dawn that don’t contain bleach) is scientifically formulated to cut grease and oil, I reasoned it should work just fine on clothing too. After I washed my pants, they were perfectly spot-free. Yay! Who says you can only use laundry products on laundry?
I have also used dish soap on many of the grease stains on my husband’s clothes when he has been working with tools. He also goes to the dish soap at the office if he gets something on his clothes at work. It is a great pretreatment for laundry. And it has occasionally saved me when the moving parts of my serger or sewing machine leave a little machine oil on a project.
You don’t have to wash the clothing (or even pre-treat) immediately – just rub some dish soap into the stain when you can, and it should come out in the wash later. Really horrible spots may take a couple treatments and washes – just remember not to put anything in the dryer that still has a stain! Air-dry and try again.
Onto removing blood stains. (Those of you with weak constitutions, brace yourselves and read on.)
Anyone who sews has probably bled a little on a project at one time or another – it’s just a hazard of working with pins & needles. Nosebleeds and knee scrapes will soil most kids’ clothes at some point. Or you might cut yourself shaving and leave a smear on your colored (therefore un-bleachable) towel when you dry off.
At some point in some costume shop, I learned that blood stains are surprisingly the easiest stains in the world to remove – without any chemicals! (And you don’t even need soap & water!) The only thing you need to know about blood stains is whose blood it is, because the incredible natural blood stain remover is saliva! That’s right – spit. Gross, I know, but it works amazingly even on old stains. Just pre-treat with spit & toss in the washer. It’s almost like magic!
I don’t know the exact science behind it, but apparently, your saliva has enzymes in it that can break down your own blood, essentially dissolving a blood stain. So if you bleed on something, spit on it – because you will be the only person who can easily remove the stain.
Simple dish soap and spit will save you hours of frustration when fighting tough stains compared to commercially marketed chemical stain removers!
If you have any simple & easy stain removal tips, please share in the comments!