Dear Constant Reader,
Happy Friday! Here’s your tip! Traditionally Monday is wash day, but this week we’re talking about laundry on Friday…
Color remover will save your ass.
Or at least your white wash. So, let’s say you’re doing laundry and a stray red sock gets in with your whites… Let’s be real, we’re burlesque performers — it’s a stray red feather. Now there are pink streaks all over your pristine white lovelies. Don’t panic! It’s time for a color remover.
It’s a powder that you add to water, either in a basin or a washing machine, and let your stained items soak. Then rinse well or run them through the wash cycle. When the stains are gone, wash as normal. It’s like magic! It’s also much less damaging than chlorine bleach.
The stuff is rather caustic, so wear gloves and maybe even a dust mask when adding the powder to the water. My favorite version, Dylon Run-Away, is apparently no longer available in the US (I’m glad I stocked up), but Rit makes a color remover with a similar formula.
This stuff is only for white fabric — do not use it on colors! There are also color removers that work with colored clothing, but I haven’t tried them yet. Also, I’ve never tested it on rhinestones. My instinct is don’t. (But you wouldn’t be tossing your rhinestone-crusted costumes in the washing machine, right?)
Remember, heat sets stains, so don’t throw your dye-stained garments in the dryer. If you can’t get to to it right away when the clothes are still wet, let them air-dry, but it’s best to tackle the problem while things are still damp.
Another favorite laundry aid is color catchers. It looks like a dryer sheet, but you throw it in the wash and it’ll soak up loose dye in the water before it transfers to your other garments. I always use them when washing something I suspect might run.
But my best advice (which I don’t always follow) is to carefully check your laundry basket for stray items that could mess up your wash.
Want to learn more about garment care? I’ll be teaching at BurlyCon in November!
Like this costuming tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Burlesque Costuming.