The new laundry detergents may be ecofriendly but they’re none too housekeeper-friendly. Though they wash the stale B.O. out, they scarcely touch grease stains. If you use table linens and ecofriendly cloth napkins—or occasionally spill a little food on your clothes or get grease-splatters on you while you’re cooking—you’ll find that Costco’s Kirkland liquid detergent doesn’t get the spots out, even if you soak the spot in undiluted detergent. Nor does the new version of Spray-‘n’-Wash.
After the Christmas feast, my tablecloth came out of the laundry with a big grease spot. Three washings did nothing to remove the stain. As I was about to resign myself to either buying a new tablecloth or just getting used to the spot, I recalled the folk household hint that used to say Windex would work to remove spots from carpets and furniture.
Hmm. In the course of cooking up our own glass cleaner, we discovered that the main ingredients of Windex are varieties of alcohol, a solvent. I still had half a bottle of isopropyl alcohol purchased to make the DIY window and tile cleaner, so…..
I tested it first on a similarly stained napkin. Pouring straight rubbing alcohol on the stain and popping the napkin into the wash took out the grease and did not seem to remove the dye, as straight Kirkland’s laundry detergent has been known to do. So, yesterday evening I slopped some more of the alcohol on the tablecloth’s stain, let it sit for 15 or 20 minutes, and then ran it through the washer.
Hallelujah! The stain is GONE!
Score one for the frugalist: rubbing alcohol works to remove grease stains from fabric.
Remember that the stuff is flammable—don’t wave a cigarette around while you’re using it, and if your washer is right next to a gas water heater (as mine is), you might want to take the item somewhere else for the stand-and-soak step. I don’t think I’d use it on washable silk without first trying it on an old piece that I was about to throw out anyway. But it works fine on cotton.