Also, Removing Scorch Marks from Dryer Drums and Tackling Tough Iodine Spots

sunscreenI recently had a wash-dry-fold customer bring in several shirts with a distinct rosy stain around the necklines and down the fronts. We’ve determined that the stains were caused by sunscreen. All efforts to remove the stains have failed. Do you have a suggestion for removing them?

Sunscreen stains are basically oil stains. And, once oil stains impregnate a shirt’s molecules and change the color, it’s hard to bring the original color back. But there are a couple of methods to try.

If the shirts are white and cotton, try soaking them in a chlorine bleach solution (10 parts water to 1 part chlorine bleach) for two or three hours. Then run the shirts through a normal wash cycle. If the garments are colored, soak them in non-chlorine bleach and hot water overnight, and then wash the following day.

A second method you can try might work if the stains are still relatively fresh. Add a product called Laundry Wetspo, which is an oil-removing solvent, to your wash cycle. As long as the oily residue remains, it still can be washed off. However, once the oil attaches to the molecule, it becomes a real problem, and your only hope then is to bleach it out.

I have new dryers with stainless steel drums, which my customers love. The only problem I have noticed is that the backs of the drums have developed some burn marks and other blemishes in the stainless steel. How can I clean these off?

There aren’t any “miracle cleaners”on the market. The problem with such scorch marks is that they probably have been caused by a number of different materials, such as vinyl, rubber, polyester, plastic and others. These materials literally have been baked into the stainless steel, making it quite difficult to dissolve.

In addition, many of the chemicals that might prove effective in removing those scorch marks are flammable and dangerous. Unfortunately, others that would be successful in removing the stains might permanently discolor the stainless steel.

Therefore, I would recommend using a cordless drill with a buffer pad attachment. Be sure to use a synthetic pad with an extra-fine coarseness to it. Use this in place of sandpaper. Wet the buffing pad and then buff the stains off the back of your dryer drums. This process should work well at eliminating those marks.

You can buy buffing pads at any hardware store. Be sure to remember to get ones with an extra-fine grain. If you use a pad that’s too coarse, you may end up putting large marks on the stainless steel. However, with an extra-fine or even a fine grain pad, you should leave a clean, smooth surface

By using any type of buffing pad, you are creating a new grain within the stainless steel. Be forewarned that the backs of the dryer drums may lose some of their luster, but the stains should definitely be gone.

I have a customer who brings in garments stained with iodine. How can I best remove these stains?

First of all, I would suggest that you isolate the iodine by soaking the garment for 12 to 18 minutes in warm water (approximately 90 degrees) with an enzyme detergent. After this process, re-wash the item with your regular detergent-and-bleach formula.

If the stain persists, your next step is to wash the item in hot water (150 to 160 degrees) with sodium silico fluoride. This should be an extended wash of about 30 minutes. Then follow up with a normal detergent-and-bleach wash.

Also, there are various enzyme products out there, which are effective at removing iodine stains. With those, soak for two to three hours. In many cases, this process will remove most of the iodine. If a slight stain remains, proceed with an after-wash, because you may have loosened the stain enough to remove it with the wash.

When using enzymes, be sure that your water temperatures aren’t too low or too high. Approximately 70 to 95 degrees is preferable.


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