Singapore Adventure

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Success! Woo Hoo!
by venitha

I write today as Singapore's - if not the world's - foremost expert on armpit stain removal. And you thought I was just frittering away my leave of absence with nothing but frequent flyer miles and whiny blog posts to show for it! No, no, I have been hard at work, and after entire minutes surfing the web a great deal of dedicated study and one crushing laboratory failure after another, I have at last, after two arduous and laundry-filled weeks, succeeded in removing actual stains from the actual armpits of actual clothing.

To appreciate my triumph fully, you must envision my lovely wardrobe of sky blue and cloud white, its happy Western sizes, its complete lack of sequins and beads and fringe. You must feel the heartbreak of this glorious treasure trove, irreplaceable - I'm not kidding - in Singapore, slowly wasting away with the cancer of one tragically yellowed armpit after another. You must imagine the despair when on my recent US shopping sprees I cruelly denied myself my heart's desire and opted instead for un-stainable colors: dark blue (not so bad), black (great with my hair, but sure to lead to spontaneous combustion in Singapore's afternoon sun), and - in a fit of foolish inspiration - sweat-stain colored (just kill me now).

After the unsurprising fact that I look plum awful in sweat-stain-colored clothing, the most important knowledge that I gained on my quest to rescue my wardrobe from the rubbish chute is that I'm an idiot, for that's the only possible explanation for why, when I regularly completely drench entire articles of clothing, especially all those pristine white running shirts, in sweat, I believed that a stain confined to the armpit area was caused by perspiration. The sad truth: it's caused by antiperspirant.

Jim, ever supportive, kicked my self-esteem as it slunk onto the floor.

"Like your antiperspirant has a chance in this climate anyway."

He then performed "My Speed Stick Is Just Deodorant", a snotty little superiority dance which is an armpit-focused cross between traditional Balinese legong and the .

So while I'm not sharing the secret of my success with Jim, and while I'm definitely not scrubbing the armpits of any of his clothing, I'll gladly share my hard-won expertise with you.
  • Mix one tablespoon cream of tartar with three white uncoated aspirin (crushed) and enough warm water to turn it into a paste.
  • Scrub the paste into the stained area with Jim's an old toothbrush, imagining yourself as . Sure, you're scrubbing a filthy cinder-strewn hearth now, but a beautiful blue and white ballgown wardrobe awaits!
  • Let it sit for half an hour.
  • Rinse in warm water.
  • Repeat as necessary.
  • Revel in your success. Woo hoo!

An aluminum compound in antiperspirant causes these stains, so obviously the best way to avoid them is not to use antiperspirant. You can still use deodorant, though. Other stain removal solutions I tried include vinegar (completely ineffective), hydrogen peroxide (it gave me hope for the whites but is obviously unusable on colors), and baking soda (even less effective than vinegar).