Red & Whites

Try as I may, I'll never be a glamorous eater.  Ask my mother who has been fighting with my ruined clothing from a young age.  This scene will comes as no surprise to my nearest and dearest:

Imagine me, a fourteen-year-old in the middle of May wearing an all-white dress and cardigan to meet my high school boyfriend's grandmother at her country home.  In the company of his entire family.  She served a formal luncheon in her dining room, the last course of which was a fruit tart.  And in my eagerness to swallow it all in one bite I flipped the fruit tart off my plate and right onto my lap.  Before my eyes welled up with tears, my beau's grandmother whisked me into the kitchen and taught me a trick she'd learned from her own grandmother.  She told me she'd learned it helping out at church when the sacremental wine soiled a church robe.  As long as the fabric can get wet (don't try this with silk), red wine (or fruit!) stains will come out in seconds.

1. Place the soiled article of clothing on top of a mixing bowl and secure with a rubber band.

2. Heat up a tea kettle of water.  Pour the piping hot water directly onto the stain.

3. Cover the entire stain completely and keep pouring until the stain disappears (very quickly).

4. In less than a minute, the stain will be virtually gone.  You'll see a pale grey outline of where the stain originally was.  If its a garment you're very nervous about, take the garment off the bowl and scrub the stain with a bit of laundry detergent under warm running water.  If not, the grey outline will come out the next time you wash it.


If you dont have a mixing bowl, rubberband or tea kettle on hand, just hold the garment under running tap water (at its hottest temperature).  It's a little messier to deal with because the whole garment gets wet, but it works just fine.  It's also easy to spot clean a white sofa or comforter with a teakettle, a kitchen rag and if necessary, a drop of detergent.  The steaming hot water helps alleviate most stains from whites.