Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lipstick On My Clothes....Now What?

Well it finally happened....the thing I dread the most (well maybe not the most) elusive tube of lipstick ends up in the dryer with my clothes I had placed inside just for a fluffing...totally forgetting I had anything in my pants pocket.

I am sure this has happened to a vast majority of us. You open the dryer and you have that "Oh No" moment accompanying a look of horror as you stare hopelessly at the mysterious waxy colored stains all over your clean, dried clothes.

Now you try to figure out what to do.....It is certain the stains are set. And of course it would be all over your favorite pants or shirt as was the case with me. "Fortunately I put this outfit in with dark bath towels, so these could be salvaged," I think to myself. But I stare at my beloved pants and shirt and think, "well garbage time. I'll never get this out!" And the most infuriating thing, the offending lipstick which was still miraculously inside it's pocket cocoon, casing completely in tact, did not leave one stain on the inside of that same pocket....Tricky! (scratching head)

Many think that once clothes go through the dryer the stains are permanently set.....not necessarily!

Some of us will spot treat and rub and rub and use methods that are actually more damaging to the clothes than the stain that permeates the fabric. But we are determined to save our favorite outfit so we are willing to attempt anything until it is an absolute lost cause. Also, only you can determine the value of an item for taking on this daunting task. Personally, underpants do not fall into the "save" category! Easier to go buy a new pair.

After composing myself, I broke out my arsenal of cleaners that I was hoping would do the trick based on past experience with hubby's multiple chapstick offenses. However, grease with color stain was going to be a new experience for me and I was totally unsure of the final outcome. As I have learned, it takes a lot of work, but unless the clothes are ready for the garbage bin to begin with, it is worth the effort to save my favorite outfit.

I took a deep breath and prepared myself for the lengthy battle with the waxy mess and set about tackling what appeared to be a massive job. I first prepared the stain by wetting each and every spot with Zout stain treatment..... then I whipped out my trusty Murphy Oil Soap. This stuff is truly amazing and is so gentle to fabrics. It is a vegetable oil (Glycerin like) that is extremely slimy and penetrates and breaks down waxy or oily stains. It literally emulsifies the wax allowing it to be lifted from the fabric during cleaning.

Tip: Make sure spot is wet or treated first before applying Murphy's otherwise it will not penetrate stain but will actually act like a water repellent and won't allow for Zout stain treatment to penetrate either.

Apply daubs of soap with finger and work it in with fabric on fabric, preferably stain on stain. Allow the Murphy's to sit on the fabric for 15 minutes to really break down the waxes. Scrub again! Then put it in the washer on the hottest, longest wash setting you can get.

Now don't abandon the task thinking that's comes some more elbow grease. Throughout the cycle, pull the stained items from the washer and for the most part they are going to look spotless, but it is time to get out the spectacles if your eyes are like mine, and look for the areas you missed. Trust me, you will miss some. Spot treat again with more Zout and Murphy's and rub fabric together, you will begin to see it lift the remaining stains right before your eyes. You remain hopeful as you see your clothes getting restored to their original condition.

This is a lengthy process, but again, if the outfit must be saved then it will take some attentive washing to salvage the clothes. After the first full cycle, I reinspect the outfit again and I find only a few more spots I missed. Treating them one more time, I did another full wash cycle on Hot! Voila....outfit saved. All traces of wax, oil and color are gone. I am a happy camper! Be aware however, it could take several washings depending on the wax ingredient. And you may not see anymore stains until you actually dry the outfit making invisible stains reappear. Even if this happens, you can still spot treat and wash it once more since drying the clothes will not set the stains further. Fortunately my natural organic lipsticks are not made with beeswax or dyes which are tougher to get out. Iron Oxides are easier to clean out of clothing and Candelilla wax and Castor wax are creamier so they are easily emulsified making removal simpler.

As most of us know from a past experience, when a lipstick melts it is not a pretty sight and it can't be saved either. It has been reduced to a lumpy mess, oozing from the container that manages to stay closed, yet it incredibly seeps the waxes and colorants out onto your clothes. It's enough to make you sit on the floor and have a good cry, especially if it was your favorite lipstick you lost as well!

Anyone who goes through this nightmare, makes darn sure it doesn't happen again, at least not in the near future. Pocket checking is always the best thing to do.

This same thing can happen in a washer if clothes were washed on warm or hot setting, and you now pull out a load of clothes full of waxy, oily spots! People who use chapstick have experienced this problem more than once, including my husband! I don't know how many times I have seen him ruin a pair of pants forgetting to take out that stupid chapstick tube. If you're lucky the load was washed in cool or cold water and the tube fell out into the washer saving you from the dryer disaster. Dare to Dream!

For crayons, beeswax based products like chapstick and candles, WD-40 is highly recommended for dissolving wax and grease in clothes....I know this sounds weird but it really works at removing the grease spot. Treat stain and allow it to sit for 20 minutes before washing. Not recommended for silk fabrics! You will have to wash clothes more than once though to remove the smell that is left behind by this product....but hey....if you can save an outfit, go for it.

Another one that is known to work is Dawn dishwashing detergent since it is a great de-greaser and is perfect for spot treating those pesky lipstick stains we get on our shirt collar.

Unfortunately, if you have a "dry clean only" outfit that you simply put in the dryer to freshen it up, you will have to rely on the dry cleaner and there is no telling the success they will have or how diligent they will work at it to save the outfit. However, a dry cleaner discreetly told me to pretreat the stain with WD-40 and then take it to them for the final cleaning. Bottom line however, no one cares more about your own stuff than you so if this job can be done at home, you're better off in the long run.

A Tidbit To Remember: When using spot treaters that foam, not as much detergent is necessary. After all you don't want soap floating out of the lid of the washer or oozing out on to your floor or you'll be cleaning more than just lipstick out of your clothes. Also, even if the spots are totally out the first go round, trust me, the soap is not. Wash again in clean water, still hot, and put in your fabric softener if desired. That is it! Outfit saved!

Also, make sure you throw an old light colored piece of fabric like a towel or old pair of pants into the dryer and put it on the highest heat setting. This is to make sure there is no other residue still remaining in the dryer drum. The heat will melt the remaining residue, placing it onto the fabric and then while it is still hot inside the drum use an ammonia and water mixture or a product called Goof Off to wipe down the dryer. After all that hard work you certainly don't want to recontaminate your favorite outfit you just spent hours restoring to its wearable self.

DANGER: Please oh please never mix ammonia with chlorine to clean your dryer thinking this will be the ultimate cleaning solution to cut the wax and clean the colored stains, not unless you want to inhale a toxic chlorine gas.

Hopefully these tidbits of information will work for you the next time you have a melting mishap on your clothes. However, I cannot guarantee results and trying these methods is of personal choice. But with the clothes already ruined, it really is at that point, a "what do you have to lose" question?

If you have a favorite remedy for removing lipstick from clothes, share it with us!

Have a great weekend and don't forget to check those pockets!

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

No comments:

Post a Comment