Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ink-on-Laundry, Logs-in-Eyes, and Other Unwanted Stuff

Upon the removal of a load of clothes from the dryer a few mornings ago, I discovered that there was ink all over many of the items from a pen that had been left in the pocket of one of my family members when he placed his pants in the laundry basket.

Let's skip the discussion about whether this was primarily a failure of said individual who owns the pocket (and the pen), or a failure of the chief laundress in the home who does his laundry. I am mindful of two things which lead me to do so.

The first is something I remember from Dead Right - a short educational film with a clever-pun title which they showed back in my 1980's junior high health class - which made the noteworthy point that you could be "right" and still be "dead." (In the case of said educational film, it was by stepping out in front of a moving car while insisting on your prerogative to be in the pedestrian crosswalk.)

The second reason I skip the "blame discussion" is that I am learning - slowly and painfully and incompletely and probably far too late in life - that it is equally as dangerous as stepping out into the crosswalk in front of a moving car, to consider one's self "more right" than another... any other... in this case, the "offender" who left the pen in his pocket.

So, philosophical musings regarding "rightness" and "blame" mercifully laid aside, the fact remains that I was still the one handling the resultant ink mess.

Following is a detailed discussion of how I treated each of the three items that were worth trying to get the ink out of. (By this I mean that they were not sleep clothes or undergarments, which I decided not to try to treat due to the sheer number of items affected.)

All three of these items are now completely clean and clear of ink.

I soaked all of them over two nights in a solution of warm water and OxiClean. (I put a couple of scoops in a sinkful of water, so this was a pretty strong solution.) One of the stains I also doused with Goo Gone before soaking it in the OxiClean. Another I treated with hairspray before soaking it. The third (the least-stained one) I simply put in the OxiClean solution with the other two.

All three, washed today in warm water with the other light-colored clothes, are completely ink-free.

I remember once, years ago, trying to help a bachelor friend who had called me with a query about how to launder an antique quilt (made by his grandmother) which he had accidentally stained with ink. This was pre-Internet days (yes, I'm that old), and I looked in a book I owned entitled How to Clean Practically Anything. (This is a terribly useless book, by the way, not even worth the $.01 you can get it for on Amazon.) The hairspray they suggested using as a stain-remover for ink was terribly ineffective, and my friend grieved both the loss of his grandmother's quilt and the failure of his homemaker-type friend to help him.

Now, twenty years too late for my friend's quilt, I've found something that works to remove ink. I have put the information out there for any of you who may ever need it for some unfortunate laundry disaster in your own home.

Oh, and by the way, if the "unfortunate laundry disaster" you encounter should involve fresh strawberry stains (think strawberry picking with a two-year-old who is eating more than she's putting in her bucket), you can get them out in a jiffy by pouring boiling (yes, boiling) water through the garment from the backside of the stain. I first tried this tip from my friend Cheri with great skepticism, as I had erroneously heard years earlier that hot water would "set any stain." It has not failed once over the past fifteen years of strawberry picking-and-eating.

I have yet to try the laundry tip my friend Gloria sent me (mostly because I can't find a store near me that sells the nifty spray bottle she mentioned she'd bought), but I'm always happy to hear of - and to pass on - things that worked.

Happy laundering!

No comments: