Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When the Laundry Met Up with Gasoline

Sometimes you think something goes without saying. But it doesn't. Thus Maggie ended up with gasoline all over her best pair of jeans, because I failed to tell her that you can't be squeezing the gas pump when you take the nozzle out of the gas can.

If I knew then what I know now, I think the jeans would have gone straight into the trash. It probably would have been cheaper to replace them than to try the variety of remedies I attempted. So here's my conclusion based on all sorts of failures:

Don't immediately bring them home and soak them or pre-wash them in the wash machine. Remember? Oil and water do not mix. Even soaking them in very soapy water won't do much. Besides, if you try to wash the jeans first thing, you'll just contaminate your washer with gasoline. Then not only do you have to clean the clothes, but you have to clean the washer too.

Coco-cola is effective. One bucket with the jeans jammed into it. A 2L bottle of real Coke poured over it. A good long soak. That sucked a lot of the odor out of the jeans. A second 2L bottle for a few more hours helped even more.

Hanging outdoors! The gas will evaporate into the air. I'd already tried various cleaning methods when Jenny advised me to air the jeans. It happened to be a rainy day. Y'know how rain does a better job of washing your car's windshield than does the windshield washer fluid? Well, between the fresh air and 24 hours of drizzly rain, the stint on the clothesline pretty well eliminated the rest of the gas-stink.

Dawn! I can't use Dawn in the kitchen: it eats up my hands and leaves itchiness and raw skin and sores. But in the laundry room! Oh, Dawn in the laundry room is my new BFF. Dawn doesn't just cut chicken grease off your dinner plate. It gets grease stains out of clothes. It cleans mozzarella and marinara off Mr Pizza-Pants' work clothes. Undiluated Dawn in copious quantities cuts right through gasoline in your daughter's blue jeans.

Next time I'll know what to do.
But there'd better not be a next time....


  1. I have a jar of dawn just for those non-dish needs. Do you pre-wash rub dawn in for stains like Shout, or what?

  2. Yes, I squirt the Dawn onto the stains, and then rub the cloth together a bit. For Mr Pizza-pants' jeans, I throw them in a pre-wash cycle, using the Dawn as the soap. For the gassy jeans, I did the same thing. For regular little grease stains (like on my jumper) I just put a few drops on the stained spot, let it sit for a minute or two, and then rinse most of the Dawn out under running water ... then launder as usual.