- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Q: I saw your column this morning in The Washington Times and have a question for you.

My young daughter attends a Sunday school class each week, and the teacher puts a self-adhesive name tag on each child in the class. Inevitably, once the class is done, my daughter gets a drink from the water fountain and the name tag gets wet. When I try to remove it from her shirt, it rips, and the adhesive and shredded paper remain on the shirt. I never can get them off and have ruined numerous shirts. How can I remove the residue?

A: First, before using any product on garments, test a small, unexposed area for colorfastness. An old wives’ tale is to heat the glue with a hair dryer, then place a bandage over the area and remove it quickly. The softened glue and paper stick to the adhesive on the bandage, and are removed from the fabric.

If this does not work, some common home stain-removal products may help: Spray-N-Wash, Shout gel, Carbona Stain Devils No. 1, Goo Gone, De-Solv or Rit Dye Super Stain remover can be purchased in grocery stores, fabric and craft stores or other retail outlets that sell home care products. Additionally, Avon’s Skin So Soft, mineral oil, peanut butter and WD-40 all will loosen the adhesive and paper from the fabric, but they can produce an additional stain that then must be removed.

As a last resort, you can use a nail polish remover (make sure the fabric does not contain acetate), isopropyl alcohol, or a solvent-based cleaning agent such as Thoro or Energize, or take the garment to a professional cleaner.

Q: I recently took up gardening, and I’m having trouble getting the pollen stains out of my clothes. Should I treat them the same as a grass stain or do something different?

A: Most important, make sure not to brush the pollen from your clothes. This will only rub in the stain. Instead, shake the garment to remove as much of the pollen as possible. Use a piece of tape or a small, hand-held vacuum to lift off the rest of the residue. If a stain remains, spray a spot remover over the affected area. If the fabric is washable, launder using a detergent that contains either regular or oxygen bleach.

Q: My 12-year-old son is going on a camping trip with his best friend’s family. His sleeping bag has been stored in the attic for a few years, and it’s filthy. I wasn’t sure if it was safe to put a sleeping bag in the washing machine. If not, how I would go about cleaning it?

A: Sleeping bags usually can be washed, but because many contain down or fiber filling, you always should check the care instructions first.

Sleeping bags should be washed separately in a gentle cycle. Add detergent to the washer and partially fill it with warm water. Submerge the sleeping bag in the water to force out the air, and then allow the washer to complete filling. Periodically stop the washer, open the lid and press the air from the sleeping bag to ensure a good cleaning. Tumble dry at regular temperature. You also can try adding a clean tennis ball to the dryer to help fluff up the filling.

If the sleeping bag seems too large for your home washer, it may be a better idea to take it to a professional cleaner.

Q: My daughter really enjoyed the party we threw for my son last weekend, especially the food. Unfortunately, most of her hot dog ended up on her brand-new sundress. I was too busy to treat it right away. What can I do about the ketchup stain?

A: If the dress is made of a washable fabric, scrape off any residue and soak it in cold water for 30 minutes. Then, pre-treat it by rubbing either white bar soap or liquid laundry detergent into the stain. Wash it in warm water and detergent. If the dress is 100 percent cotton, a cotton blend or a wrinkle-resistant fabric, sponge undiluted vinegar on the stain, then launder it as recommended on the care label.

Chris Allsbrooks is an affiliate board member and spokeswoman for the FabriCare Foundation. She has 13 years’ experience as a textile analyst in the International Textile Analysis Laboratory of the International Fabricare Institute in Laurel. Send questions to info@yourclothingcare.com.

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