We've lost count of the shirts that we've lost to blood stains and pen ink, neckties to spaghetti sauce, and pants to bike-chain grease. And that's just in the past year (what can we say – we play rough). We've tried the usual stain sticks with middling results and aren't keen on the toxic witch's brew of chemicals that dry cleaners employ. So we rang up Mona Weiss, cofounder of the L.A.-based Eco Nuts, a purveyor of certified-organic cleaning products.
Weiss walked us through the best ways to naturally treat clothing and fabric when mishaps happen. We were surprised both at how simple these techniques are and how most of them simply rely on common household products. Keep in mind this one piece of advice, though: After your stained clothes have been treated and run through the wash, they should under no circumstance be put into the dryer, which will permanently set any stain, Weiss says. Instead, hang dry the garment until you can confirm the stain is completely gone. If it persists, re-treat it and do another round of washing. If that doesn't work, your options are going to a pro dry cleaner (preferably an organic one) or taking a trip to the mall for a replacement.
"Blood is really difficult to remove," Weiss says. Still, it's doable, and the sooner you get to it, the better your odds. Generally you want to use cold water to remove protein stains like blood (or any other bodily fluids for that matter), because hot water can set in the stains. Ideally, don't let it dry, and wet it from the back side of the stain, "otherwise, you're forcing it deeper into the fabric," Weiss says. Keep rinsing until the water comes through clear. If that doesn't get it completely clean, then try hydrogen peroxide, which works well; however, as with any product, be sure to try it first on an inconspicuous part of the fabric to test whether it causes discoloration. When the hydrogen peroxide stops bubbling, rinse the fabric in cold water; rinse and repeat if necessary.
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