Sweating the Sweater Stains

Last week I committed a Cardinal Sin of fashion.  No, I did not wear a fanny pack… I was tired, not dead!!!  I attempted to cook red sauce while wearing my brand new Ted Baker pristine white sweater.
Okay, let me take you back a few steps so you will at least have empathy for my horrible fashion faux pas.  It was Monday, March 17th… Saint Patrick’s Day.  I guess you can say my first misstep was to grab a white sweater instead of a green one.  In my defense I had a long day ahead.  After the usual morning tasks… return emails, go for a run, throw in some laundry, write a blog post… I had to get ready for my real job… drive from Manhattan Beach to North Hollywood for an audition, drive to West Hollywood to perform in my Upright Citizen’s Brigade Improv 201 graduation show and then straight to the Pacific Palisades for the playwright’s workshop I am acting in.  And yes, the day involved multiple wardrobe changes made in my car and the restroom at my favorite Burbank café, Olive & Thyme.
I arrived home after 10:30 pm, hungry and exhausted.  If you aren’t familiar with Los Angeles geography I had literally spent about 4 hours in my car which didn’t include an additional 6 hours spent at all of my stops.  I was ready for a glass of red wine and some dinner!  I pulled out my trusted Tolerant Pasta (gluten and grain free pasta made only from organic red lentils) and my favorite new imported Italian sauce from Rao’s.  And then paying absolutely no attention whatsoever, proceeded to splash it all over my new white sweater.
I decided to write this post to save any of my readers from the agony of my next 48 hours as I awaited the fate of my sweater.  The first thing I did (after panicking of course) was to Google “how to get sauce out of a white sweater”.  I found countless “how to” articles for machine washable fabrics, but none for dry clean only.  I had somehow remembered my dry cleaner warning me not to use detergent or stain remover on spots before I took the fabric to her.  I could not remember if this included rinsing the spot with water.
I decided to take my chances on the water and attempted to rinse it front and back.  The next morning I rushed it to my trusted dry cleaner, Rosie.  Her face looked grim.  She told me it was good that I didn’t use any spot removers but I shouldn’t have used water either… that actually turns a dark sauce into a dye.  She said she would do her best, but it didn’t look pretty.
Two days later I returned and lo and behold the stain was completely gone.  Or so I thought.  She didn’t seem complete satisfied but I was, as I couldn’t see even a trace of the stain.  When I took the sweater home, I realized that in some bright light you couldn’t see the spot at all, and in other lighting you could see a trace of the outline that once was the stain.  Either way, I am grateful to Rosie and my fabric lessons learned.
How to remove sauce from a dry clean only fabric:
1) Don’t wear white while cooking.  The end.
2) If you dare to commit the sin of spilling on your clothes (do to your own fault, or the fault of others) do not panic and do not use water.  Simply scrape off the excess food with a spoon asap and set the item aside till morning.
3) Get a good nights sleep!  There is nothing you can do at this point to save the fabric beyond what your dry cleaner can do in the morning.  No sense in having bags under your eyes to go with your splattered garment.
4) Take the garment to your favorite dry cleaner ASAP.
5) Say a prayer.
6) Thank your dry cleaner profusely for his/her help and vow to be much more careful in the future.
Special thanks to Rosie at Patterson Cleaners in Manhattan Beach!

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