Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Drip Drip Drip Goes the Water

Did I mention I took a little run to the Trader Joe's and impulse bought my way through $70 of frozen foods the other day? Well I did. Tonight, reveling in my smorgasbord of frozen food options, I took out one of my two new bags of frozen berries, heated them a bit and chowed down. And on my second to last spoonful, dripped blackberry juice on my orange top. Somewhere noticeable.

Luckily my mom taught me a trick for getting fruit stains out of clothes. It probably saved my hide when I was younger and liked to climb the mulberry tree to gorge myself, totally indifferent to what I was wearing. Strangely, I remember taking fresh peas from the garden up into the tree to eat and knowing even then that while both fresh peas and mulberries were delicious, they did not compliment each other. But on to the trick, which I think she learned from our elderly neighbor, Mrs. Smilie, also the source of the great "Lemon Sunshine Cake" recipe.

How to remove fruit stains:
  1. Do NOT wash, rinse, or blot them with water of any sort. Yet. Cool water sets the stain.
  2. Boil water. Preferably in a kettle for controlled pouring.
  3. Lay out the stained garment with the stain placed over a large mouthed jar or bowl in a clean sink or large tub.
  4. When the water is boiling, hold the kettle about a foot above the stain and drip the water drop by drop onto the stain.
  5. Watch the stain melt away. Repeat as needed, moving stains into the center of the jar's mouth.

Avoid the urge to just dunk the item in boiling water or pour the water on in a stream. The first can damage the clothes and neither works as well as the slower drip drip drip method, and can leave resisdual spots. I still don't totally understand why, which irks me. But not enough to use other methods. Naturally, the sooner the better.

Conversely, hot water sets other stains, namely blood. While I'm on the topic...
How to remove blood stains:
  1. If you get blood stains on laundry, keep the stains away from hot and even warm water, or they'll set.
  2. Soak the stain in ice water, either running or still. Some suggest putting an ice cube on the stain, the laundry in a dish or tub, and walking away. I prefer to run icy water from the tap if available, or using a dish of water with ice cubes in it, or just melted ice from a leftover bucket.
  3. That's pretty much it. Ice water, not hot.

Beyond that, I recommend a side loader and adding oxy.cl.ean to your detergent. Although if I'm going to visit, don't use All with any scent. I think they make it out of cat dander and ragweed with the way it makes me stuff up. The unscented works ok though.

I don't talk about books here nearly enough for the amount of reading I actually do. I just finished Emma Holly's Personal Assets and it was amazing. Scorchingly hot and satisfying, with a surprising amount of purpose. It was about people finding out where they wanted to be in life and who they wanted to be with, but oooh how they got there. It had a bit of a Judith Krantz glam to it. The threads of the plot all worked out neatly, but in that way of the movies Blue, White, Red instead of feeling contrived. Where "of course the lives and livelihoods all intertwine, it was the destination that picked the necessary characters for the story, not just some story needing the characters to wind up somewhere". One of my new personal favorite books, I'm thinking.
This post got edited about 5 times because I'm terrible with past tense grammar, particularly matching types of past tenses within one sentence or paragraph. And I was particularly clumsy with my punctuation and typos today. So if either was driving you nuts, please post a correction in the comments because otherwise I may never know my folly and will surely repeat the imperfective.


Anonymous said...

whenever I'd see ads for getting blood stains out I was always amazed that anyone had this problem**, until my dog's near drowning/bloody paws incident. *Shout* managed to remove a dozen blood stains on 5 bath towels without any residual stain or color loss.

**aside from those women who fell for the kotex commercials that advocated women wearing tight white tennis shorts during their periods ~ um yeah. For every 1 woman like that I could show she 1,000 in stretched out sweats and a bath robe scarfing down cool ranch doritos with a margarita chaser.

thanks for the hot tip on berry stains, I've never heard that 1.


janet w said...

Took me THREE times to read this before I slap slap slap woke up to the fact that you were NOT drizzling juice from a berry onto an orange! Gosh, thanks for the advice.

On that note: Prell rubbed into a paste with some clothes detergent takes out tomato sauce based stains very effectively :)

CrankyOtter said...

Ah cool. Yeah, pretreat all those stains and stay away from white hotpants during critical times. (Unless you're using a fresh instead and know how to replace them.)

Also, I'd like to mention that a good half to 2/3 of my titles are song lyrics. This one is from Chumbawumba.

Alaskan Hellcat said...

Trois Couleurs: Bleu, Blanc, Rouge!!! One of my favorite set of movies EVA!!! Love them. Hope the weekend was fun, and can't wait to see pics of the paint job!

Quark said...

Huh. On Friday, I used hot water in a sink to remove blood stains from a white t-shirt (lots of large, blood-gushing stains). It came out fine. The blood hadn't set for more than an hour, though, which might be the difference. But seemed to me that the blood came easily out in hot water when it was a recent stain. (I also did the jar-like thing, of holding a piece of the shirt taught and letting the sink water run through it, but then I got lazy and dunked the whole thing in the sink.)

I think the reason for the jar, in your berry example, is that you want the berry dye to drip away with the water and not back onto the shirt. If you just dunked the whole shirt in water, the berry dye which leaves one place can then attach itself to another part of the garment. As for why to drip and not just pour -- maybe hot water does still have some "setting" ability, so by being gentle, you allow the stain to slowly work its way out without setting, or else the dripping is a way to let the water cool just slightly (pouring would definitely be hotter than dripping at the point when the water contacts the garment).