I received a phone call from a friend who recently became a a grandmother, asking for my help with a really good homemade stain remover or a non chlorine bleach that would remove a terrible set in stain. Her new baby granddaughter had soiled a very special family heirloom gown, and by mistake the stain had been set in.
It was a family tradition for the baby girls to wear the antique Blessing / Christening gown on their special day and to also have a portrait taken. Her daughter called and immediately dissolved into tears as she tried to explain to her mother that her heirloom dress was ruined.
The story went something like this, her daughter dressed her sweet little baby in the treasured heirloom to try it on and suddenly had an explosive diaper mishap. Hence the mustard yellow stain was everywhere. The little outfit went into the wash without any stain remover, soaking or pretreatment to remove this stain. The outfit was thrown into the dryer, setting in the stain. It was now beyond anything that she had tried.
When she called, Dena and I weren’t sure that we could help, we also had great concerns working on their family treasured heirloom dress. Wanting to help we decided to do what we could. She brought over the antique dress for us to experiment with our homemade stain remover recipes. It looked really bleak. We went to work with our cleaning arsenal for stain removers. First we thought we could remove any spot or stain with an oxygen bleach,so we first used straight hydrogen peroxide. We didn’t get the results we were hoping for with the hydrogen peroxide. Next we tried a combination of hydrogen peroxide, washing soda, and Borax. This homemade stain remover concoction also left the stain visible. We don’t use chlorine bleach and besides, chlorine bleach was too risky, it could damage the fabric and lace trim.
The stain was organic so we turned to nature to solve our stain. Why not use ammonia. Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen which occurs naturally and is found in water, soil, and air. It is also produced by human activity such as the bacteria found in the intestines. Most ammonia in the environment comes from the natural breakdown of manure, dead plants, and animals. While we were at it we decided to add hydrogen peroxide to the ammonia to boost the stain fighter with additional oxygen. After all hydrogen peroxide is simply water with an extra oxygen molecule.
We soaked the little outfit in the hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. We used caution when working with ammonia to be in a well ventilated area. We also wore gloves while working with this mixture of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide.
We were happy to present to the grateful grandmother a perfectly clean, stain free, spotless, family heirloom and the homemade stain remover recipe for future use.
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