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Stain, Stain, Go Away

February 01, 2019 | Filed in: Your Closet

MM team member Katie, in addition to being our fearless Director of Sales Operations & Experience, has a secret superpower: she’s an expert stain remover and a fierce advocate for hand-washing who hardly ever drops her clothes (or money!) off at the dry cleaner. We recently sat down with her to learn her tricks for removing stains from dry clean only clothes (though her advice applies to just about anything). Read on to hear the products she swears by and her method for breathing new life into garments that seem like hopeless cases.

A few summers ago, I had a problem: I stank (or, to be more precise, my clothes stank). I noticed that the dresses I sent to the dry cleaner came back smelling just as bad as they had before I brought them in. The combination of chemicals and B.O. made for a scent that was so unappealing my husband finally told me I had to do something. I Googled ‘Why does my dry cleaning reek?’ and read an article explaining that dry cleaners use chemicals that can create harsh odors. It recommended forgoing dry cleaning in favor of hand washing, and endorsed a brand of eco-friendly cleaning products called The Laundress. And so began my stain removal education.

I started hand-washing nearly all my clothes using The Laundress’s delicate wash product. The soap smells really nice, and once you get into the habit, hand washing actually isn’t that difficult (and it saves a ton of money spent at the dry cleaners). Once I was hooked on hand washing, I decided to invest in a few of The Laundress’s stain-removal products. I swear by their Wash & Stain Bar, a little $6 bar of soap that has taken out more stains than you’d ever imagine.

Here’s my tried and true method when it comes to actually getting out stains:

Step One

Wet the garment thoroughly—soaking the stain will only help your cause.

Step Two

Get a good lather going with the soap, and rub it (gently!) into the fabric to remove as much of the blotch as you can.

Step Three

The key is to then wash the garment as you normally would (whether in the washing machine or by hand)—that’s what lifts any final remnants away from the fabric. Don’t skip that step, or you may find that the garment dries with the stain faded, but not gone completely.

The most memorable stain removal episode I can remember was the time I was at home wearing a white T-shirt, took a sip of red wine, and proceeded to spill the entire glass down the front. I immediately took off the shirt and threw it in the sink, lathered up the Wash & Stain bar, and worked it into the fabric. The entire wine stain vanished. I’ve also used the bar to remove dry erase marker, hair dye, blood, and grease. It’s a true miracle worker.

Discovering these products has completely changed the way I go about caring for my wardrobe. Investing a small amount of time (and way, way less money) treating stains myself has proven to be more effective—not to mention less smelly—than outsourcing it to a dry cleaner. So next time you accidentally write on your shirt with a pen, or have a dressing-laden leaf of lettuce plop onto your skirt during lunch, don’t panic—you’ve got this.  

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Alexandra Johnson is the brand manager at MM.LaFleur, where she started out as a summer intern. Her happy place is the room housing Monet's Water Lilies at MoMA. Read more of Alexandra's posts.

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