Sunday, October 9, 2011

laundry mishaps

Today was another beautiful autumn day - sunny, 70's, bright colors - and perfect for hanging laundry out to dry. Aaaah. One last chance to wear my summer sundresses and white ballet flats. Yes, I wear white after Labor Day. I never said I was a fashion queen.

I gathered everything up to bring in as the sun was setting, and noticed a golf-ball sized black stain on my tan fitted sheet: black walnut. Unfortunately, in someone's great wisdom, they not only managed to hang the laundry line under a tree (read: many bugs and spiders, possibility of bird poop), but they chose the only black walnut tree on the property. I am so glad we only rent this place. It's a fine place. It's a pretty location, and convenient to school. I'm just glad it's not mine.

Don't get me wrong. I love toasted walnuts and pretty furniture made of walnut wood. The squirrels outside constantly entertain my cats with their antics to get at the meat of the nuts, even carrying the whole, un-peeled and un-hulled nut in their mouths. The walnuts are bigger than their heads, mind you. This is pretty comic.

The problem is this: when walnuts are ripe, they have a bright green, spongy, wrinkly skin that cracks and bleeds a terribly black/brown dye, which is quite useful for things like

A. Staining the back patio and roof in a very random polka-dot pattern
B. Dyeing cloth the old fashioned way
C. Inadvertently staining one's clothing
D. All of the above.

I'm pretty upset, but this gives me a bit of hope: Cornell University has done a study on stain removal. Hallelujah! There's even a special section on page 11 of the PDF that explains how to remove black walnut stains. Cornell does a lot of great things, and I trust their research. Let's see how it turns out together, eh?

For black walnut, they say to use a solution of hand dishwashing detergent and warm water with a few drops of white vinegar to break up the stain. I've done that, and I'm waiting for the nasty blackness to seep into my beat-up cotton dishtowel. I might have to throw this one away when I'm done.

I'll keep you posted...

...update: the stain is almost completely gone! I treated the stain for 24 hours, blotting and re-wetting and blotting and re-wetting... and then I washed it again. The stain is now almost imperceptible. Hooray! Thanks, Cornell.

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