Painting by Alexander Kobulnicky
When your grandma told you to put peanut butter on the gum that got stuck to your shorts after sitting in some random chair, you probably thought she was crazy. Its likely that she doesn't know exactly why it works, which lends to the mystic reputation of old world cleaning methods and wives tales. Still, wouldn't it be awesome to know why these things work and how to possibly apply them to new situations? Okay well even if you don't think that is cool, with this bit of info, you could probably teach your grandma a thing or two, and that's gotta be worth something!
The link that I'm going to give is pretty good, but even if you don't have time to read it, I will attempt to sum things up for you in a short bulleted list for your reading convenience!
How Do Stain Removers Work?
- Dissolving stains in a solvent: "like dissolves like" pick a solvent that is similar to your stain. - the reason why you would use peanut butter to dissolve gum.
- Dissolving stains using a surfactant: soap is a common surfactant, most popular way to cut stains, what most cleaning products include to cut grease etc.
- Eating away the stain: bleach, peroxide, and borax work by eating away at the molecular structure of the stain substance, leaving behind water soluble elements that wash away.
- Hiding the stain: detergents that include whiteners don't actually break down molecules or help to wash them away, they merely mask them by covering them with an ingredient that absorbs ultra violet light and re-emits it as visible light. Clothes washed with whiteners will glow in a black light.
Now that you know just a little bit about the way cleaning works, here is a cute link that will help you tackle different types of clothing stains. You can use your new knowledge to make connections between methods, ingredients, and application. Or maybe we'll just put that aside as a future goal! Happy Cleaning!!