Summer is off to a sultry start with many of us enjoying a stretch of sunny days. Grandma always said too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing, and she was right. We could certainly use some rain, but I digress.
The other day, I was mowing my lawn when I had a flashback to our front lawn on the farm in Bainsville, Ont. It was always very green but a least a few times each summer it was dotted in white. No, not by dandelions gone to seed but my dad’s undershirts and mom’s tablecloths.
Grandma believed the sun could remove stains. Imagine that! The thinking is that the UV component of sunlight, especially midday summer sun, acts as bleach. It’s not that far-fetched; the sun certainly fades coloured clothes.
Chemical bleaches are harmful to the environment, can be bad for your skin, and can ruin your clothes if you aren’t careful. Fortunately, this is a much safer, natural and cost-effective way of removing stains:
- Wet your clothes: Grandma always laid out the whites on a clear night. She believed the morning dew was part of the process.
- Lay the pieces out as flat as possible: It's important to make sure every part of the fabric is receiving direct sunshine and not overlapping. It is the sun’s rays that are doing the bleaching so if the sun’s rays can’t get through, the item won’t get bleached.
- If the stain was stubborn, Grandma would put about ¼ c of lemon juice with two cups of water in a spray bottle and spray directly onto the stains. The lemon juice reacts with the sun to whiten even more effectively.
- Finally, don’t leave clothing in the sun for too long. Usually, two to three hours will do the job. If you want the item even whiter, try a few hours again another day.
Grandma was usually quite pleased with the results unless she woke up to find our dog Chip on her whites.
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network