How do I remove this stain--or what do I do if I can't?
May 25, 2014 6:50 PM   Subscribe

I picked up my laundry from the laundromat yesterday--I did wash-and-fold this time because I didn't feel like dealing with the laundromat on a holiday weekend--and my favorite purple shirt has a bunch of dark splotches on the front. It looks like it just got water dripped on it or something, except that the spots don't dry, and they also don't go away with mere water. What should I do?

It's an ordinary cotton 3/4 sleeve t-shirt. The clothes were washed with free-and-clear detergent and fabric softener, but I don't know what brand the place uses. Quite sure there wasn't anything spilled on the shirt when it went into the laundry, and I don't know how I could have gotten anything on it between here and the laundromat. The other shirts look to be okay, although I didn't want to unfold absolutely everything to find out. I'm intending to call them, but I don't honestly know what I can ask for--what's standard procedure if the cleaner damages an item, if this won't come clean again? Am I just out a shirt?
posted by Sequence to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Could it be from a lip-balm that was in one of your (or someone else's) pockets? Do the spots have a smell like Burt's Bees or something similar? That said, I'm not sure how you could get that out if that was the case--I'd think you might be able to melt the wax out onto paper towels or something, but then there might be oil leftover...
posted by blueberry at 6:59 PM on May 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just had this happen to me and blue dawn dishsoap and a little bit of finger-scrubbing then soaking it in cold water made it 90% better. It was probably some kind of oil. Apparently there's something you can do with chalk too, but yep, basic grease-cutting dishsoap did the trick for me.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 7:08 PM on May 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have had some luck getting oil stains (which it sounds like this is, whether it's from lip balm in a pocket or grease from the machine or something) out with a recipe like this. It has not always worked, but it has sometimes, so before you consider the shirt a total loss you might try it.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:10 PM on May 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Definitely not my lip balm (which is still safely in my purse) but I guess anything is possible with someone else's machines. Will try the dish soap first.
posted by Sequence at 7:41 PM on May 25, 2014

Response by poster: Has been suggested that it may be fabric softener, which would explain why they definitely don't smell like anything, since I specifically asked for unscented fabric softener. I don't ordinarily use the liquid stuff. Evidently the dish soap is also a fix for that, but in that case, the other part of the question--if I have to spend my own time fixing fabric softener drips from the service I paid them for, is it reasonable to ask for a discount next time?
posted by Sequence at 11:04 PM on May 25, 2014

I think you should take it back to them and ask them to fix it, instead of you trying to remedy it yourself, especially if you feel they are responsible for this, and you would like them to recompense you in some way.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 11:44 PM on May 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Depending on what the stain is, your efforts to remove it could just set it more firmly. I second just nicely taking it back to the laundromat, pointing out the stain, and asking them to relaunder it for free.
posted by Bardolph at 4:16 AM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

I get spots like that on dark clothes from cooking oil/ grease splattering form a pan. I keep a sprayer of blue Dawn/ water for treating the grease stains. In your case, I'd take it in and talk to them, but you can't hold them responsible for stains. However, they're laundry experts,so they're the ones most likely to be able to resolve it.
posted by theora55 at 1:43 PM on May 26, 2014

Response by poster: Dish soap appears to have taken care of it entirely, aside from the fact that it took so long to dry. I kind of poked through the others and it looks like it's also on two other shirts, but since it worked out to be more minimal than I thought it might be (after looking at the WD-40 instructions!) I think it's worth letting it go. For future reference, what I was using was Dawn Platinum, not the regular stuff, but it seems to have worked fine.
posted by Sequence at 5:46 PM on May 26, 2014

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