A recent fiasco: My boyfriend was doing the laundry. As he pulled everything out of the dryer, he noticed smears of bright red appearing all over everything. Bright red as in the exact color of Laura Mercier’s Velour Extreme Matte Lipstick in Fire. It had been left in my jacket pocket. And everything was ruined.
But was it?! I grew up with an encyclopedia of laundry tricks of a mother. Blood stain? Spit on it. (If it’s your own blood, the enzymes in your saliva will break it down.) Berry stain? Pour boiling water on it. Dairy stain? Ice. Wine stain? Seltzer water. Chocolate stain? Cool water and dish soap. But dryer-set red lipstick stain? Pretty hopeless! So I threw a few things out. And I set a few things aside for bleaching. I replaced my silk Slip pillowcases. And I turned to my colleagues for help. They had some good tricks—what are yours? Please help me—bless you in advance.
Mamie Pesant, Associate Manager, Talent Acquisition
"One thing I have in common with most children under five is that I spill food on me every time I eat. Dish soap—no water—as a spot treatment before throwing in the washing machine has saved almost every article of clothing I own."
Reed Redman, Executive Assistant
"Let me start by saying that I'm apparently incapable of getting dressed without smearing deodorant across whatever top I happen to be putting on. Will I ever grow out of this?! Someone please let me know, my mother and I are curious. But I've discovered a fail-proof trick to erase the leftover white streaks. All you need to do is rub the stain with a different kind of fabric. It doesn't matter what it is—you can use a sock, a towel, a stuffed bullfrog named Luther. As long as it's a different material than that of the clothing item, your deodorant will come right off! Peace and stain-free blessings."
Emily Ferber, Editorial Director
"Hydrogen peroxide! It's the best for whites—I just pour a little in the cap and maybe dilute with some water. I figured it out when I, of course, stained new white jeans on the first wear but didn't have any bleach around. This lifted the stain right out with my dedicated stain toothbrush that I obviously keep on hand for these occasions."
Kendall Latham, Senior Experiential Designer
"I discovered this trick when my ex-boyfriend spilled a glass of red wine on a white fur rug. Obviously I held myself accountable for the ruined rug by association, so I grabbed the kitchen paper towel roll and asked everyone what to do (anxiety at critical mass). Turns out, the owner of the rug went to fashion school and told me that if she learned one thing at FIT, it was that dish soap and cold water removes just about any stain. So I put very, very cold water on it, then rubbed Dawn Soap around with my hands, rinsed with cold water again, and BOOM—it was as if nothing happened."
Trish Gillis, Global Supply Chain Manager
"My mom used to joke she could always tell what I had eaten at school each day, as traces of any lunch, juice, or cheese-dusted corn snack would invariably still be on my uniform, hands, or face. I have yet to outgrow my penchant for stain-making, but luckily honed my laundry skills by the time I subbed out fruit juice for red wine. I’ve learned to act fast when spills happen. The type of stain and type of fabric matter. For example, oil-based stains don’t play nice with water. Use dish soap instead. For general food/wine stains, I subscribe to: sop, salt, soda. Always blot, never rub. Remember you’re trying to drown out the stain, so don’t be cheap with free-stuff. Ice hardens up gum or wax to scrape most of it away. Hand sanitizer can help with ink. Hydrogen peroxide gets after blood. A Magic Eraser does wonders on shoe scuff marks. Goo Gone is a godsend for anything gooey or sticky. In general, take time to pre-treat. (OxiClean Laundry Stain Removal is my HG.) For some stubborn stains try wrapping the fabric around a strainer and running very hot water through it. If your stain-type/fabric pairing doesn’t party with hot water, try soaking overnight with non-chlorine bleach. After washing, let your item air-dry. This lets you keep fighting during a round-two. Most importantly, Nana showed me how a little bit of elbow grease goes a long way. If I’ve learned anything, though, it’s to know yourself. My napkin is always in my lap. I’m not too proud to wear a bib. And I never order red wine at weddings."