Removing semen stains
January 3, 2006 5:30 PM   Subscribe

What's the best method for removing human semen stains from dark cotton bedsheets? Very hot washing machine cycles don't always work. Thank you.
posted by PenguinBukkake to Home & Garden (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
(and, by the way, putting bath towels over the sheet is not an option -- I am too romantic for that, probably)
posted by PenguinBukkake at 5:33 PM on January 3, 2006

In my experience, hot water tends to actually set such, um, organic stains (blood, too) -- it's almost like the hot water "cooks" them into the fabric. A cold water rinse, followed by liberal application of stain remover, then a cool or warm washing seems to do the trick for me. (Once the stain's out, you can wash sheets in hot as usual.) But if the stain's already set, the best you may get from now on is some fading.
posted by scody at 5:36 PM on January 3, 2006

I agree with scody. It's basically the proteins that are the problem, so what works with blood will likely work with semen. There are probably instructions for such stains on your stain remover or detergent. Failing that, there are products designed for it.

As far as bath towels go: don't knock it til you try it?

also, what an apropos name, PB
posted by jedicus at 5:39 PM on January 3, 2006

Meat tenderizer, coarse salt, and COLD washing. Lots of hand scrubbing. You'll need towels for the more fun stuff.
posted by kcm at 5:46 PM on January 3, 2006

Please add the eponysterical tag.

Oh, and seltzer/tonic water should help. With Bukkake, you'll likely need a few bottles.
posted by shoepal at 6:06 PM on January 3, 2006

Nature's Miracle seems to I've heard.
posted by yodelingisfun at 6:12 PM on January 3, 2006

Bed Bath & Beyond and $60.
posted by xmutex at 6:22 PM on January 3, 2006

A product called Kiss-Off works really well for blood stains, (another body fluid with protein), plus the name seems especially appropriate considering your purposes. Test it first to see if it bleaches out the color though.
posted by tula at 6:22 PM on January 3, 2006

Can I point out how pleased I am that you felt the need to specify human semen stains?
posted by signal at 6:26 PM on January 3, 2006

posted by PenguinBukkake - oh no, now its with humans too?

Tide seems to work fine for me. Nothing special, just toss them in with the detergent. I always use either medium or cold water, but that is just because I am cheap and hot water is bad for dark colors anyway. I never knew such stains were a problem to remove.
posted by caddis at 6:28 PM on January 3, 2006

Spot remover and warm water.

And keep your options open.
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:35 PM on January 3, 2006

From the Ohio State Extension Service's stain removal guide: "Fresh protein stains can be removed by soaking and agitating in cold water before washing. These stains contain other ingredients besides protein, but it needs treatment first. If hot water is used first, it cooks the protein, causing coagulation between the fibers in the yarns of the fabric, making the stains more difficult to remove. If protein stains are dried or old, scrape or brush off crusted matter (if any), then soak in cold water using a detergent or an enzyme presoak product."
posted by redheadeb at 6:37 PM on January 3, 2006

Haven't tried it with semen, never noticed the problem, but I find that a slurry of Oxy-Clean and water will get out about any organic stain with just a little effort. Blood, it laughs at.
posted by JamesMessick at 6:59 PM on January 3, 2006

posted by rxrfrx at 7:19 PM on January 3, 2006

Most enzyme stain removers like Shout, Febreeze or some of the pet stain removers should work. However, they require time to break down the proteins and the items must remain moist during that time. These could, however, alter the color, so you might need a test run.
posted by RMALCOLM at 7:58 PM on January 3, 2006

SHOUT! spray (not gel or stick) is good at getting out other protein-based stains and might work.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:03 PM on January 3, 2006

I read somewhere that one should tell the dry cleaner it was an albumen (egg) stain .
posted by brujita at 11:04 PM on January 3, 2006

Hydrogen peroxide. If it's biotic peroxide's got it.
posted by The White Hat at 11:17 PM on January 3, 2006

fascinating, thanks everybody
posted by PenguinBukkake at 1:23 AM on January 4, 2006

Dry Cleaner: Why were you eating egg whites in bed?
posted by A189Nut at 2:16 AM on January 4, 2006

For future reference - always keep a dirty t-shirt or towel next to your bed.
posted by any major dude at 6:40 AM on January 4, 2006

any major dude will tell you.
posted by sourwookie at 9:04 AM on January 4, 2006

Keep a dirty t-shirt or towel? Nasty. Why would you want your girl stuffing a filthy rag against her hooch?

Go purchase a pack of pack towels (you can even find them in your grocery). Buy enough to accomodate your sexual escapades between laundry days.

Your girl will thank you for it. A nice, clean, super-absorbant, soft, and, I repeat, clean towel is eversomuch nicer than some nasty, skanky sock or t-shirt.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:20 AM on January 4, 2006

Dishwasher detergent specializes in dealing with proteins. Might remove the color from the fabric, I don't know.
posted by Carbolic at 7:10 PM on January 4, 2006

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