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Getting stains out of whites?

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  • Getting stains out of whites?

    As title suggests, cruise ship deck officer and trying to keep my whites clean is exhausting especially with doing stations etc. Tea, fruit, pen and pencil marks always end up on my shirts and never seem to come out even with stain remover sprays and such, anyone got any advice? Good brand for it? Thanks!

  • #2
    They are all different kinds of can require different methods. You might find using a rubber removes pencil marks. White wine Vinegar ( or lemon juice) and bicarbonate of soda made into a paste and left to soak for a bit can remove some kinds. Sunlight can bleach out stains.
    Hair shampoo rubbed in and left to soak is great on some things like oily hair stains, usually quite gentle but it’s effective on other things as well. Bread too can be used roll into a ball and rub. ( works on walls too). Bartenders friend also good for antiperspirant and sometimes sun tan lotion, but it’s abrasive so caution! Then the usual things like vanish, bio detergents.
    But with all of these things it depends what it is you are removing it from. Cotton, cotton mix is different from say Viscose which is made from a plant based fabric and can do some very odd things it’s loses it strength when wet and can shrink! Test on an area first before the solution makes the problem worse.
    Its trial and error for many.
    Also alcohol removes some. Use gin, vodka white spirit types. Alchol wipes. Nail varnish remover too.. one of the oddest but also works is WD40. Though google them with what made the stain and what the fabric, and what temperature you need to wash any of these things out with first! These are all things I’ve used in the past.


    • #3
      I am useless at this, not because I am a bloke, but because when I was at sea I used to drop my whites onto the deck in my cabin and go into the shower and when I came out they had magically morphed into clean casual clothes neatly folded on my bunk.... Same with the bunk and the bathroom, used to walk out the cabin and when I walked back in it was spotless........... Double bed and even a bath!

      We used to have our own stewards back then, did everything for you, kept watches, came to the bridge to ask what film you wanted to put on after your watch (16mm reels) and what snack and drink you wanted and then cleaned your cabin whilst you watched your film.... The only problem was when they did your dhobi. We used to have 3 sets of tropical whites, 3 sets of Red Sea Rig etc. So when you took off a set of whites they used to put them in a weak bleach solution for 24 hours to remove all stains, then wash them. Never had a stain that could not be got out by my steward but the downside was all the stitching used to rot and uniform never lasted a year because of all the bleach. Eventually it all turned yellow anyway!

      But then we used to take a run ashore in Hong Kong to the "Company" tailors called Sam's, who used to measure you up, send you away for an hour, come back for a fitting and then send you away for 2 hours. When you came back there was a brown parcel with everything in it, all made to measure, except the socks! Suits took a day!

      It even got to the point that certain Captain's would announce they were sending a telex to the agent to send over to Sam's Tailor Store with orders in for anyone that had a fitting card at the shop and had been measured within the last year! (It is probably long gone now, but from memory it was closely packed narrow isles with high tall shelves of fabric and had photos of the old man who owned it with all his famous clients on the walls like Nixon, Kissinger, Bowie etc.)

      But it has to be worth a try? A capful of bleach in half a bucket of hot water and leave it to soak for 24 hours...... Nothing to lose but a day!

      "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
      "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

      "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.


      • #4
        I used to just drown my shirts in Vanish powder and wash on a decently high heat


        • #5
          Do any of you claim your inform tax allowances?


          • #6
            Doesn't the ships laundry remove the stains? If not - go bitch at them they'll have the proper chemicals...

            Alternatively, Hand Sanitiser gel is your friend on cruise ships - the stuff removes marks from anything - also excellent for cleaning white shoes - just make sure it's the gel stuff

            Eventually, you learn to not touch or lean on anything - especially on stations
            “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

            – Mark Twain
            myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.


            • #7
              Hand sanitiser probably removes anything because it’s main ingredient is likely alcohol I would think. it evaporates in the same way, many stain removers are alcohol based. Thanks for that, I’ll add that one to my arsenal of ‘cleaning tools’ certainly cheaper than the specific stain removers you can buy.