Thursday, March 15, 2012

chronic sweaters

secrets i've learned or stumbled upon [since i am secretly a chemist in an alternate reality a la LOST]:
there are lots of basic chemicals that help you clean more efficiently.

this will reveal a not-so-big secret for those who do know me, but this could be a bit TMI for those of you who don't. one of my personal quirks is that i'm a chronic sweater.

and when i say "chronic sweater" i don't mean this:
my mother's sweater purchased at target in 1988. she wore this when she was pregnant with me. i've always called it the primary color spiderweb sweater. it's tragic. and she threatens to give it to me when i become pregnant...
when i say chronic sweater i mean this:
"hyperhidrosis is the condition characterized by abnormally increased perspiration, in excess of that required for regulation of body temperature"

yeah, it's sad and embarrassing, but i've learned to accept my fate.

part of acceptance is learning how to deal with your issues.

for those of you who also deal with hyperhidrosis or have a husband who deals with it, you know that it permeates the shirts with your smell. it's not pleasant.

but as i mentioned earlier, i am a chemist in an alternate reality...

i came up with a solution to completely obliterate any smell just before tossing your clothes in the wash!

S W E A T  S T A I N  R E M O V A L

1. first, treat the area with ammonia [oddly enough, i actually use a baby nasal aspirator to apply it].
let it sit for a few minutes. this actually gets all the "older" smells out of the shirt.

2. second,
to get the "newer" smells out, then apply baking soda to the area [don't use the nasal aspirator for that!]. let that sit for a few minutes. you'll actually smell the odor lifting from the shirt into the air at that point [< my sister doesn't support this theory, she thinks you're smelling a chemical reaction between the baking soda and ammonia. she's probably right, but i can dream!]. it's pretty gross. but if you're a chemist like me, it's exciting for you.

3. third, the most exciting part - the classic volcano at the science fair moment: add white vinegar!

it should not be like this:

it should be more like this:
and then you can toss it in the wash!

it's most helpful to do groups of shirts at a time, set the ammonia on all of them, then the baking soda, then the vinegar. it's a lot more time [and smell] efficient.

N O T E:
to get the VISUAL stains [discoloration, treatment above was smell] out of your shirt, mix one part dish detergent [preferably dawn] with two parts hydrogen peroxide. WORKS LIKE A CHARM every time!

another tip is BORAX. this is the wonder chemical.

it's a laundry booster as well as regular household cleaner.
...and... this is my favorite: BUG KILLER!
i strongly dislike bugs. that could be the understatement of the year.
last year we had a minor cricket infestation in our apartment [and i didn't want to have to do the pest control bit, not a fan of the chemicals nor covering everything with newspaper]. i read somewhere that if the borax comes in contact with the "skin" of the bug it seeps in and eventually kills them.
hey, it stopped our bug infestation, so apparently it's true.

so you all learned something new today...
- that my mother wore a horrible sweater when she was pregnant with me
- that joanna is a gross chronic sweater
- joanna is also a chemist
- oh, and some tips to help with cleaning and bug killing


  1. Waitasecond. I have this too. How do you get the stains out?

    1. I realized it was a little unclear about the different types of stain removal, I've now added more detail! Thanks, Hannah [sorry, I don't know how to do the umlaut on my keyboard] for the comment!