Check the Pockets

Who does the laundry in your household? I do it in ours, and I don’t mind. I wash and fold the clothes, and Nick scrubs and sanitizes the toilets. I load the dishwasher, and Nick takes out the trash. It works for us.

Friday is typically laundry day. I round up the clothes that inevitably end up on the floor of our closet, and I drag the basket into our laundry room. I start the first load as I sit down in my home office with my laptop and mug of coffee. (I work from home on Fridays, and it’s amazing what I can accomplish between web updates and content edits.)

I did as I always do this past Friday. I checked email while the washing machine hummed down the hall. And when it fell silent, I moved Nick’s work shirts from the washer to the dryer and added another load.

It was a good morning — I created online promotions for a local television program, I reviewed my notes for an upcoming radio interview, and I scheduled a haircut and car maintenance appointment. And then I unloaded the dryer — of BLUE-stained shirts!

You heard correctly. And it wasn’t as if a random blue sock had ended up in the dryer. No, it was as if a rogue pen had exploded its vibrant blue ink onto all seven of Nick’s shirts — the shirts he wears every day.

Yes, Nick left a pen in his shirt pocket. And then he dropped the shirt on our closet floor. No, I did not check his pockets before loading the washer. And by the time I discovered the culprit, the ink had already dried and set — onto both the shirts and the dryer’s drum.

So what did I do? I googled “blue ink stain on laundry,” and I was overwhelmed by the number of forums devoted to the very topic. Most started with “My husband left a pen in his pocket,” or “My husband ruined our dryer.” I wasn’t about to play the blame game, I just wanted to remedy the situation.

After two trips to the supermarket and one to the dry cleaner, I was armed with hairspray, nail polish remover, Greased Lightning, OxiClean, and Clorox.

By the time Nick got home from work, I had tried three of the above solutions with very limited success. And so I left the shirts in the sink and the door to the dryer open and decided I’d revisit the situation when we returned after the long holiday weekend.

Fast forward three days — after hot dogs and potato salad and horseshoes and a backyard bonfire — and the stains were exactly as we had left them: very blue and very visible.

This time we both decided to put a little elbow grease into removing the ink from the dryer. And you know what finally worked? Nail polish remover + Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, followed by a soapy sponge, and a round of old towels. Hooray!

The shirts, however, will have to wait until tomorrow when I have a bottle of Stain Devil in hand. Hopefully we have similar luck, otherwise please tell me that Macy’s is running a sale on dress shirts this week?

Moral of the story? Pay attention to what you put inside your pocket and onto the floor and into the washing machine.

8 thoughts on “Check the Pockets

  1. I always go through Evs’ pockets… but only because we have a deal where I get to put any cash I find into the Fun Money Jar 🙂 It’s a good thing, too, because otherwise, I’m sure I’d be in this situation on a regular basis… I swear he’s robbing his firm clean out of ball point pens – He somehow makes it home with at least one per day! About once a month, I grab all of the visible stowaways and put them in his lunch sack – my attempt to replenish the supply closet, I guess!

  2. Oh no, that sounds horrible. Acetone will remove almost anything, although often including the dye in your clothing. Gasoline is good to try, in a well-ventilated area. Patch-test first, though. You could also try vodka; it’s a nice volatile solvent, but not quite as aggressive as either gasoline or acetone.

    In my house, we each do our own laundry. Ever since DJ accidentally wore a pair of my knee socks I’ve been very careful to keep things separate. 🙂 I’m always interested in the way other couples divide the labor. DJ takes out the trash most of the time and unloads the dishwasher more often than I do. He also vacuums, which is awesome. I load the dishwasher, clean the refrigerator, dust, and do any handwashing. None of that is hard and fast, we’ve mixed up the responsibilities when it made sense.

  3. Thanks for the support, ladies. @Julia I’ll ask Nick if he minds if his dress shirt smells like vodka 🙂 @Emily iPhone in the pocket? Yikes! I think our husbands need to carry “man purses!”

    1. Unfortunately, I’ve been busy every night this week and haven’t been able to try out the Stain Devil. I figure since it’s already dry, it won’t matter how long I wait, right? I’ll keep you posted!

      1. You may want to try Oxi-Clean. I was skeptical about the Billy Mays commercials, but I got mulberry stains on a pair of khaki shorts and the stains were released very quickly when soaked in warm water solution. It might be worth a try to soak one shirt just to see what happens.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *