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.
Mud and soil
Mud, it turns out, is a relative cinch. And unlike most materials, it's actually best to let it dry on a fabric first and then scrape off the chunks, rather than smearing it around. Then use an oxygen bleach product like OxiClean (use the powdered, not the liquid version) along with water, according to the directions, and soak the stained area. "Oxygen bleach can take a really long time to work the chemical reaction, though," Weiss notes. "You may have to soak it overnight – and you may have to re-treat." To speed up the process, she suggests combining the oxygen bleach with hot water, and let the item soak for a while. Whatever happens, don't let the solution dry on the fabric; make sure to rinse it first.
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