Bruschetta + trousers = :(
May 20, 2010 12:44 AM   Subscribe

Stainfilter: I spilled a tasty-but-volatile cocktail of bruschetta topping (raw tomato, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, salt, ground pepper) on a pair of gray 97% cotton/3% spandex trousers. I threw them in the wash immediately (cold water, Woolite Black and vinegar) but the stain is now even worse. Can you save my favorite pants?

PS: I live in Poland, land of neither Shout nor OxiClean, though local alternatives may exist. Home remedies like baking soda or giving me active ingredients ("try a cleaner with dihydrogen monoxide") to ask about or look up is probably easier. Thanks.
posted by mdonley to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
For grease stains I use talc powder (like baby powder). Sprinkle it on, and rub it through the fabric and then wash. I've used it on silk and cotton/elastic and it works perfectly.
posted by bwonder2 at 12:59 AM on May 20, 2010

I've had luck getting olive oil stains out by spot-washing with dish detergent (and look, I have back-up references).
posted by ruby.aftermath at 1:03 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you can't get the stain out, and your only option left is to live with the stain or toss the pants, you can consider winning by admitting defeat: Put the pants into a basin and pour a bottle of vegetable oil on them, then wash and wear your once-again monochrome pants.
posted by holterbarbour at 1:35 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've had mixed success with dish detergent. It does take grease-based stains out of clothing, but sometimes it seems to remove a little bit of dye from the area I apply it to to as well, leaving light spots. Spot test (on an inconspicuous area) first, if you go that route.
posted by mellifluous at 1:59 AM on May 20, 2010

Dawn dishwashing detergent and hydrogen peroxide are the home-grown version of Oxyclean. I've always diluted that with water but you might just try a 50/50 solution and letting it sit in a plastic bag or something (so it doesn't dry out).

Try on the inside of a bottom hem or something so you can make sure it doesn't discolor (I've never heard of that happening, but I don't want to be the person who ruins your clothes!)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:23 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

is it oily or red? Oily as above, red, wet trousers and hang in sun.
posted by tilde at 3:23 AM on May 20, 2010

I think woolite doesn't contain enzymes. Why don't you try normal clothes detergent for coloured clothes at a low temperature like 40C? Maybe pre-soak in the stuff beforehand to be sure.
Enzymes are awesome at this stuff.
posted by joost de vries at 3:53 AM on May 20, 2010

For the oiliness, pretreat with some laundry detergent placed straight on the stain, full strength. If there is a color to the stain, make sure the detergent has enzymes. Try this a couple of times in a row, making sure not to dry the pants in a machine. Once the stain seems gone, let them air dry and see if it's gone.

You could also try boiling them in water with baking soda and salt if that doesn't work.
posted by gjc at 4:41 AM on May 20, 2010

it probably doesn't need to be said, but while you're working on the stain, don't dry the pants with heat. I don't know if I'd try the boiling thing either because for me - heat = stain forever. I have had a lot of success with the shout stain remover gel, with the scrubby brush on the lid. You can put it on and leave it for a week. I've done this - wash something, stain doesn't come out, I treat it and wash again, and the stain is still there. So I air dry the item and treat it again with the stain stick, and next time I do laundry, toss them in. And repeat, and repeat as necesssary. It isn't the fastest method but I can' t think of a stain that didn't come out this way, other than paint.
posted by lemniskate at 4:53 AM on May 20, 2010

talc powder (like baby powder)

Along the same lines, plain white chalk (like what used to be used on chalkboards) seems to also work on oily stains.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:52 AM on May 20, 2010

Lestoil! Although I should tell you that your clothes will smell like industrial floor cleaner for a while and will need to be aired out. Here is the product material safety data sheet (pdf). The main ingredients seem to be stoddard solvent (white spirit) and pine oil.
posted by prenominal at 8:04 AM on May 20, 2010

Poland may not be the land of Shout or OxiClean, but how about dry-cleaning? (I don't know where you are in Poland; dry-cleaning definitely exists in Krakow.) If they truly are your favorite pants, get them to a professional. Grease stains are tricky.
posted by purpleclover at 8:09 AM on May 20, 2010

I came in to suggest Dawn, but got beat to it. Dawn, or your local version, has degreasers in it. I keep it around only for oily stains, as it dries my skin too much to use in the kitchen.
posted by theora55 at 1:54 PM on May 20, 2010

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