My Little Sister Visits

One of my two little sisters was visiting this summer, and as I was preparing some food she observed me performing some little kitchen trick or another. “That’s a neat trick,” she said. “Do you have more? Could you teach me?” Those may not have been her exact words—understand that this is a dramatization for purposes of illustration.

“Honey, I have plenty of tricks up my sleeves,” I (perhaps) replied, “and I would love to share them with you. Trouble is, my internal filing system is so persnickety. I only remember these tricks when I need to use them.”

“Perhaps you could write them down as they occur to you, then,” said she (or something to that effect). 

An ideal way to commence would be with the trick I was using at the time: but alas, I cannot remember what it was. (Do you see what I mean about the filing system?) So I’ll offer you one of my favourites, which comes up often, in both mixed and feminine company, having to do as it does with the washing of clothes. Here it is:

Cleaning Grease Spots from Washable Clothing
I have used this trick even with old grease spots in thrift-shop clothing, and it always works. 

First, you need a bar of old-fashioned Sunlight laundry soap. It’s deep yellow and comes in a paper wrapper, usually in a high, hard-to-reach spot in the detergents aisle of your grocery store. This is a fat-based soap, and it works (said my mother, when she taught me this) because grease resists water and needs to bind with another, more soluble grease in order to be carried into the water and away.

1. Spot-dampen the grease stain with a wet rag. This is important because once the fabric is wet you may not be able to see the grease stain anymore. Spot-dampening limits your area so that you don’t miss the stain at the next step.

2. Wet your bar of Sunlight. Rub the bar directly on the stain or over the whole dampened area. This will not harm ordinary, washable clothing: I’ve used this method on some silks as well, with success.

3. Launder the article as usual. With heavy, dirty stains—from a bicycle chain, for example— you may have to treat and launder twice: once by hand, when the stain is fresh, and once again with your regular laundry.

To conclude, a note to the makers of Sunlight Soap: please, please don’t stop making it!

PS. Sunlight is also good for scrubbing up after you’ve refitted that bicycle chain.
PPS. Searching for an image for the original post, I found some alarming comments that indicated this soap was no longer available. A few months later I saw fresh packages at my local grocer’s. Thank you, Unilever!

2 thoughts on “My Little Sister Visits

  1. I was going to phone you today to ask if you knew how to remove vegetable oil from cotton! Are you reading my mind?

    I cannot remember either what that trick was. 🙁

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