I have a set of seven Days-of-the-Week dish towels, white with brightly
My husband made the mistake of drying a stainless steel pan with one of
them. The bottoms of these pans are always black - I think it's tarnish or
soot of some sort. I use a paper towel when I wipe them.
Anyway, so now Tuesday's towel is horribly stained with black streaks. I
used Spray'n'Wash and it got it to an acceptable gray level. Bleaching and
sunshine didn't do anything, although the white part of the towel is now
Does anyone know of a better product or technique for the next time he does
I would pre-soak the towel in a detergent with a booster such as
Clorox II. Since trhe stain came from metal, diluted CLR or powered
Zud cleanser may work. I have over 100 light-colored kitchen towels
-- most of them are stained, scorched, and frayed, but all are very
clean. The towels were a gift from my sister who made them from a
roll of commercial toweling. They outlast anything store bought. (I
don't recall stainless steel staining fabric.)
If it's tarnish, it's a metal compound. Soaking in vinegar and water
might help, but I don't know.
If it's some sort of soot, the color comes from carbon. For centuries,
people cooked and heated with wood and coal. If only we knew now what
they knew then about washing soot out of laundry! I'll bet Dawn and
DrClean know. I'll bet they're laughing at us!
In general, they washed with strong alkalines and boiling water in the
days when they were dealing with lots of soot.
Alkaline bar soaps like Fels Naptha and Octagon might be good for
scrubbing the stains with a brush.
For boiling or machine washing, I think powdered detergents tend to be
more alkaline than liquids. (I like Tide but don't know if it's the
best.) Dorothy say OxiClean worked. I think that's because OxiClean
contains washing sodaa, and washing soda is cheaper. Trisodium
phosphate (TSP) is stronger. It's sold in paint and hardware stores.
If you boil your towel, don't use an aluminum pan. Alkalines corrode
I never laugh at anyone here (unless they're trying to be too serious).
I was thinking alkaline too as it's likely to be something burnt or
something metal, so I think both your suggestions are great. IN the UK I
would use household ammonia, which is readily available in any supermarket
or hardware store.
If I see good suggestions I rarely come in and add something - the person
has the help they need.
Other than what's been suggested I'd try with something like methylated
spirits and white spirit just to see if it's a solvent style stain such as
dirty grease. However, I would just try a spot of solvent to see if the
stain starts to shift - otherwise the cloth will retain the odour for a
while. Also, how much time does one want to spend on a dish cloth??
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I wonder where in the UK you are?
I tried to buy ammonia a while back and had a hell of a job, none of
the big stores stocked it or any of my small locals but I eventually
got some in a small chemist down town. It was very strong and I found
the fumes unbearable.
Jeyes household ammonia is available from all the hardware stores I visit
and most of the supermarkets. It will be in the general cleaning section not
the detergent section. I'm north London - just north of Harrow but before
The Best Fabric Cleaning Resource on the Web
I've been to Harefield a few times and that's not too far away by the
looks of it on the map
I know the Jeyes name from the disinfectant, perhaps I'm missing it, I
will look again next time I'm shopping.
I have a white dishwashing cloth that gets gray and smelly. I put it in
a jar of water to which I have added a tsp of 6% hypochlorite (American
bleach) and a tsp of baking soda (bicarbonate). Bright again in minutes.
Among common household chemicals, it's ammonia and acids that can cause
trouble. (They may be ingredients in cleaning products.)
Concentrated chlorine bleach has a pH around 13. It doesn't bleach very
well but is caustic to fabrics and skin. It bleaches better if you
reduce the pH to 11-12 by diluting it to 1,000 ppm, which would be 4
tablespoons of household bleach per gallon.
To make hypochlorite work a lot faster, pools used acidic compounds to
reduce the pH to about 7.5. At a lower pH, the bleach would be harsh
Food processors use bleach at 6.5 to 7.5 for disinfecting. At pH 6.0,
hypochlorite kills germs 9 times faster than at 11.5. It's effective,
but combining acid with bleach is hazardous in home cleaning.
If you dilute bleach to 25 ppm (1/2 teaspoon per U.S. gallon), that
drops the pH to 8-9, where it disinfects 3 times faster than at 4
tablespoons per gallon.
Another benefit of diluting it to 25 ppm is that even if the chlorine
were liberated, it would remain dissolved in the water instead of
getting into your eyes and lungs. A disadvantage of such a weak
solution is that it wouldn't take much organic matter in the water to
tie up the chlorine so it would no longer disinfect.
Baking soda allows you to to use stronger hypochlorite concentrations
without causing an undesirable pH. If you add equal volumes of
household bleach and baking soda, such as a teaspoon of each per quart
of water, the pH should stay around 8, where the bleach works fast, it's
not harshly alkaline, and it doesn't produce chlorine gas.
You're the one who complained of being out of ideas when Tide HE, Borax,
and bleach wouldn't get your washcloths white. Why did I feel at the
time that you were just looking for a date with Lloyd?
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. You really should have read our
Charter before posting. As Marcey said, AHC is NOT a dating bar!
If you're seeking a cyber paramour, try news.admin.net-abuse.email or
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