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.
Oil or Grease
"Grease is just horrible," Weiss says. "You can totally get it out, but it can take a really long time. I had a shirt that had olive oil on it, and I had to re-treat it about 10 times." The best thing for grease is Weiss's beloved Dawn dish soap. Mix a little water in with Dawn to make a solution, and then rub it into the oil spot or grease stain with a finger. Let it sit 10 to 20 minutes before washing. For small-scale grease spills that are still liquid, Weiss says to either rub them with chalk or sprinkle corn starch on them, and let them sit so that the oil gets fully absorbed into the powder. Brush off what's left into the garbage and then wash as usual once all the oil is gone.
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