A while back, I discussed how to get Vitamin E stains out of clothing. Recently, a reader ran across that post and sent me the following email. I found it so interesting that I asked her permission to share. Here it is:
I just read your tip on removing vitamin e stains. There is surprisingly little information about this problem. I recently ruined about five new undershirts, and three nice sheets because I was using Vitamin E oil for a scar on my chest for a few days. I found that high-concentration Oxiclean saved about half of the stained clothes, but the rest never came out and I had to throw them away.
This happened to me again a few days ago – this time the E came from some sunscreen, and it stained the collar of a new $200 shirt. I tried the oxiclean, and it didn’t work. Then I saw your tip, and the hair spray suggestion gave me an idea. Hair spray contains a strong solvent. The strongest solvent I had at home at the time was Acetone. This is commonly available at hardware stores, and is used to thin fiberglass resin and remove paint. It’s pretty strong stuff, but surprisingly, its also the main ingredient in nail polish remover.
So, I rolled up the collar of my shirt, stuffed it in a cup, and filled the cup with acetone. I left it in there for about three hours, and when I pulled the collar out, the stain was completely gone. This was a cotton shirt with brightly colored stripes, and the acetone didn’t seem to affect the color at all, but its probably a good idea to spot-test for other fabrics.
One other interesting bit of trivia that I discovered about Vitamin E stains: The yellow stain often will not become visible until the item of clothing is bleached (ironically). In fact, bleach seems to “develop” Vitamin E stains in much the same way that a photographer use chemicals to develop an image on film. Before I discovered this, I was convinced that the stains were coming from the washing machine, because the shirts would go into the wash white, and come out with yellow stains. I finally did an experiment where I took a white wash cloth, and using a Q-tip, traced the word “test” on it in big letters using Vit E oil. The letters were invisible. I then poured straight bleach on the wash cloth, and within about 30 seconds, the letters were sharp and clear, as though I had written them in yellow food coloring!
So there it is - a solution to what must be a very common problem, considering how many skin-care products contain Vitamin E. If you can’t get Acetone from the hardware store, I’m guessing that plain nail polish remover should work just as well. Just make sure that acetone is listed in the ingredients.Thanks for the inspiration!
Thank you, Robert, for the fascinating info. I know my readers will find it helpful!