Dear Home-Ec folk,
Okay, here’s the thing. I’m sick and tired of replacing work shirts every year when the only thing wrong with them is they’ve gone a bit wiffy from being in contact with smelly armpits too often. How do you get that deep-seated, almost died-in-the-wool B.O. out of clothes so that they can again be worn in public without fear?
One thing, though – I live in the sunny tropics, where we have no need of these “dryers” people often refer to.
~ Laundry on the Line.
Put the bleach down! As backwards as it sounds chlorine bleach will only make perspiration stains worse on white clothing. The chemicals react with the salts, left behind to create mustardy yellow stains that are practically impossible to remove. While your clothing may be odor free, no one wants to walk around with giant pit stains. Getting rid of the salts from perspiration will solve the source of your whiffy pits.
As always spot test before using any of the remedies mentioned below.
- Sweat stains are best treated immediately. The sweat while still damp is acidic and is best treated with a weak base. Dissolve baking soda in water and spray or sponge onto the affected area. Allow the garment to sit for approximately half an hour. Launder in cold water, heat may set any lingering perspiration stains making them difficult, if not impossible to remove. Baking soda is an excellent tool for combating odor problems, repeat the process if necessary.
- Older stains require an acid; dilute vinegar sprayed or sponged onto the offending area will help remove the stain and kill off any offending odors. Allow the solution to sit for thirty minutes. Again, launder in cold water to avoid setting the stain. Repeat as necessary.
- Sunlight is great for whitening fabrics as well. Drying a fabric in the sun may help lighten any faint stains.
- For a stubborn perspiration stain or for treating an unwashable garment try making a paste of 1 TBSP cream of tartar and three crushed full-strength aspirin tablets (For Pete’s sake, make sure they are the uncoated, white variety!) mix with a little water and gently apply to the area with an old toothbrush. Rinse with plain water and air dry.
As the heat from conventional dryers would set the perspiration stains, you may be able to save some of your line dried articles.
Send your domestic questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.