Where's Danny Baker when you need him?
August 21, 2007 1:45 AM   Subscribe

Dear Metafilter, Please help me save my favourite pearly white Lacoste shirt, which now looks as if I've been wearing it whilst rolling around in nuclear waste.

So, whilst living in Brazil, I had a maid who would wash and iron all my clothes. Despite her adorable nature, on more than one occasion my clothes came back to me somewhat "different" to how they'd gone out. One shirt, for example, came back with a huge hole in the collar; she claimed a wild animal had broken into the house, some kind of bird, she hypothesised, with a penchant for designer clothes. Luckily for me, she told me, she'd heard a commotion and interrupted the beast in the midst of his wild frenzy, taking a broom to it and chasing it from the apartment.

It was an old shirt and I didn't care much for it, but this one I do care about. One morning, she came to the breakfast table clutching my favourite white Lacoste shirt. "Mr. Zé Pequeno," she enquired, innocently, "The what have you been making in this shirt? Looks like you did to spill something on it." I looked, and to my horror, saw a faint yellow stain which had taken form across the front and the short sleeves. I wondered what I had been eating and, rather more puzzlingly, HOW I'd been eating, to get such stains in such strange places.

It's a very thin, almost transparent, white cotton shirt. I realised it had been burnt when I looked at the iron settings and nothing I have done, none of the old tricks such as vinegar etc., have worked.

What can I do, Metafilter, to get my favourite shirt back?
posted by Zé Pequeno to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: rub it with a raw onion. hard.
then you wash it to get the stink out.
good luck lovie.
posted by taff at 2:29 AM on August 21, 2007 [2 favorites]

Also, try hand washing it in warm water with 4-5 aspirins dissolved in it.
posted by seanyboy at 4:31 AM on August 21, 2007 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions, guys. Can't wait to try them when I get home from work. Keep 'em coming!!
posted by Zé Pequeno at 5:06 AM on August 21, 2007

Best answer: Back in the dark ages, I used to work for the U.S. Army Natick Labs formulating laundry detergents.

Hydrogen peroxide will get that scorch mark out, but if your shirt is thin or flimsy, be careful. I'd start with a half-and-half hydrogen peroxide/water solution, spray it on, and let it sit for awhile. Then, rinse and see if that works. If it doesn't, then wet a cotton cloth with the above solution (or use full strength H2O2), cover it with a dry cloth, and then iron with the iron on "high". Then rinse and wash.

Good luck.
posted by Flakypastry at 6:10 AM on August 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Could it be sweat? It can be hard to remove. Just a suggestion.
posted by londongeezer at 6:26 AM on August 21, 2007

Response by poster: londongeezer! I’ll have you know tha…

It wouldn’t surprise me if it were; God knows I sweated enough when I was there. But I don’t think it is. There’s nothing in the normally incriminating places, such as the collar or under the armpits. It just looks ever so slightly burnt. It’s not really that visible, but under certain lights it looks, as I’ve already mentioned, like nuclear waste – or as if a dog has come along and cocked his leg up and mistaken me for his favourite tree. Luminous and forboding.
posted by Zé Pequeno at 6:41 AM on August 21, 2007

Best answer: Try soaking it in hot water with some oxyclean powder dissolved in it. I've also had pretty good luck making a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and using it to treat yellow perspiration stains. After you've washed it, let it dry outside on a bright sunny day.
posted by pluckysparrow at 7:35 AM on August 21, 2007

If the stain is faint, and all other tricks fail you, and you are willing to try one last thing to salvage the shirt: you could try 'bluing' the shirt. It's a very grandma-esque treatment for white laundry, a little blue dye brings out the white in cotton clothes; it might be enough to cover the stain.

I would also second setting it out on sunny days.
posted by wg at 10:56 AM on August 21, 2007

Best answer: Dye remover!

I use the stuff on absolutely anything that needs a thorough whitening, even delicate linen shirts. It involves a quarter-hour simmer in a stockpot, which has never damaged anything I've put in, and it comes out gleaming. I've rescued a lot of nice white clothes from the 'only around the house' pile with dye remover; nothing resists it.
posted by kmennie at 2:26 PM on August 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

I had an iron burn on my favorite Lacoste. It never would come out. I kept it and have considered bleaching it or a combo of bleaching/dyeing. Some professional services do that.

But I ended up just buying a new one.
posted by melissam at 4:45 PM on August 21, 2007

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