The Stain-Removing Laundry Trick You’ll Use for the Rest of Your Life

May 20, 2019 Off By readly

Sometimes I feel like I can’t have nice things. Because in a world of nice things, there is also burger grease.

Take, for example, the cautionary tale of my favorite jumpsuit. I loved it, but it was too big for me and had languished, unworn, in my closet for more than a year. One day, inspired to invest in what I had rather than buying new things, I splurged: I took my jumpsuit to an old-school tailor in New York. I watched as he expertly pinned it to fit me just so, paid 50 percent upfront, and went home to await his call.

A week and a half later, my jumpsuit was ready. I’d never had anything tailored to me before, and it was perfect, from the cross-front neckline to the neat seams to the pant legs, which hit just right at my ankle, not a centimeter off. As a finishing touch, the tailor had steamed the green-grey cotton fabric until it was butter-soft and smooth. I was so pleased, I wore my jumpsuit right out of the tailor’s and straight to a coworker’s farewell party a few blocks away. And I felt great in it for a glorious 15 minutes, imagining all the good times to come.

But then, the sliders came out, and I caught a waft of them as the server dipped the tray beneath my nose.

“Mini slider?” he said.

I can’t turn down a good burger, new jumpsuit or no new jumpsuit, and before he could finish “slider” I was taking my first bite. Which is exactly how the burger grease came into play—all down my front, to be specific.

Fortunately, previous incidents had prepared me for this moment. I beelined to the bar, side-stepping so no one could see my torso, and asked the bartender for some regular old dish soap on a cloth so I could pat the soap onto the stains. When I could duck out, I dashed to the closest convenience store, where I bought a small bottle of the stuff for $1.99 (clear, to be safe), dotted it on generously, and reapplied until I could get home and throw the jumpsuit in the wash. (Follow the directions on your garment, but I’ve found it’s always best to use warm water, not cold, on grease stains for best results.)

Dish soap works well as a holdover measure on oily stains because it’s engineered to cut through the fat and food on your plates—and it’s cheap, multipurpose, and convenient. Chances are, you’re within a few paces of a bottle no matter where you are, at home, or at a restaurant or bar. No need to go searching for expensive, speciality laundry potions when time is of the essence.

I’m happy to report that the stains came out, and my jumpsuit has gotten plenty of wear. But now I make sure to stash some dish soap, decanted into a travel-size container, in my bag. Just in case someone comes by with a tray of sliders.

Do you have any clever tips for stains? Let us know in the comments.

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