To test my theories, particularly on using less detergent, a
“pseudo-scientific study” of two stains—spaghetti sauce and
chocolate-hazelnut paste diluted 50/50 with olive oil to liquefy
it—placed on white 100% cotton T-shirts ( 6) was undertaken.
A 1 ml spot of spaghetti sauce and a 1 ml 50/50 mixture
of chocolate-hazelnut/olive oil was placed on the shirts and
allowed to dry for 16 hrs. Four washing tests were then performed, using one stained shirt and a variety of other normal
dirty clothes, sheets, and towels in each load.
1) 60 ml high quality HDL in wash water—~20% solids gives
12 grams active ingredients
2) 30 ml high quality HDL directly on stains— 6 grams active
3) 7 ml proprietary pre-spotter on stains—at 69% actives
gives 5 gram actives
4) 30 ml high quality HDL in wash water— 5 ml commercial
pre-spotter on stains—~ 7 grams actives
The tests were conducted in a Maytag home washing
machine set to cold wash, medium water volume, and cold
rinse. Stained shirts were removed at the beginning of the spin
cycle, and air dried overnight.
Tests 2–4 were designed to see if less overall surfactant
could be used to get good cleaning compared to test 1. In test
1, the detergent did better than expected and even removed
a small chocolate stain on another pair of khaki pants without
pre-spotting. In test 2, using half the detergent, but putting all
of it on the spots did better and was best at removing the olive
oil ring that spread out from the chocolate/nut stain. The pro-
prietary pre-spotter used alone in test 3 did the best on the
stains, but not as well on the oil ring. Dosage or spot cover-
age may have been too low. The most disappointing test was
test 4 using the HDL with a pre-spotter in a manner typical
of normal laundry when done with pre-spotting. There was
not enough pre-spotter for the ingredients it contained to do
an effective job. A few sprays of a dilute pre-spotter just isn’t
enough. So, the recommendation is use a large amount of
pre-spotter or just put your HDL on the spot.
Since the stains were not removed completely, all the
shirts were rewashed using about 5 ml proprietary pre-spotter on the stains. With that treatment, the spaghetti
was gone, but traces of the chocolate/hazelnut stain still
remained. Finally, the spots were treated with chlorine
bleach right on the stains and rewashed. By now all the
stains were gone, and the shirts were like new which leads
into the next topic.
OtHER OptIONs INclUDE BlEAcH
Some stains are very tough (chocolate/hazelnut spread),
ground in, or aged and oxidized. If your fabrics are white,
chlorine bleach is a great solution. Hydrogen peroxide on
red wine can work. A high enzyme detergent or pre-spotter helps on the right food stains. Again, pre-spotting offers
more success than general dosing particularly if you give the
treatment 10–30 min to work before washing.
Stubbornness has lead the author on multiple occasions
to use a cotton swab dipped in chlorine bleach to carefully
treat stains on white fabric in between colored strips on a
shirt. Keep water running in a nearby sink in case the bleach
starts to soak near the colored area and you need a quick
Very dilute chlorine bleach is the last desperate solution
for tough stains on colored fabrics. Chlorine bleach comes in
3–9% concentrations. Dilute to about .5% bleach well dispersed in water then soak the garment for 10 minutes to an
hour. Make sure all the fabric is under water or at least very
wet. This approach is obviously risky and only to be used
when the alternative is to throw away the garment.
1. One load with all colors and articles mixed together
(no sorting), cold water. The exception being “high lint”
items like fluffy towels need to be washed separately.
2. As you throw the clothes in the washer, quickly check
them for spots, stains, or concentrations of dirt. Pre-spot problem areas such as ring-around-the collar on
white shirts, grease or spaghetti stains on shirts, particulate dirt on the bottom of khaki pants, and dirty athletic socks—especially if they were worn while playing
golf or doing yard work. One good option is to put all
the detergent on the spots or dirty areas and none in
the general water or dispenser. The surfactants placed
on the stain will remove that stain, and the leftover surfactants will disperse and find the low levels of soil on
the remaining laundry items.
3. Pre-spotting can be done with a premium brand HDL, a
bargain liquid, any of the pre-spotters on the market, or
the author has his own favorite blend. If you pre-spot,
almost anything will work unless the stain is tough. In
that case, go to a premium HDL or the author’s blend.