Shiny, Happy Bubbles: Cleaning Fun With Peter
Peter Tatara - January 18, 2007
I, for some inexplicable reason, watch soccer and, as such, watch the World Cup. I, for an additional inexplicable reason, cheer for Germany. This past summer, feeling the need to broadcast my support for a foreign nation in a sport no one cares about to folks I pass on the street, I purchased two German jerseys from Mr. Chin Huat Lau on eBay. Chin Huat Lau (whose e-mail address is email@example.com) took my $60 and ran. I proceeded, then, to buy a T-Shirt modeled after the 2006 German jersey from a shop in Manhattan. Very happy with this purchase, I wore it immediately. And it just so happened that I was immediately going to a Pillows concert at famed Manhattan club The Knitting Factory.
The Pillows, a Japanese punk / pop / rock group, put on a fantastic show, and, at its close, I was drenched with sweat -- both mine and that of 400 of my closest friends who all pressed into The Knitting Factory's broom-closet-esque expanse.
After waking the following morning and looking at my German shirt, I couldn't help but sigh, unable to not notice the thing had turned a shade of lemon. The thing, all over, was sweat stained. I washed the shirt -- again and again -- but the sour color refused to budge. Months have now passed, and while I still wear the shirt, it's never in public.
But I want to. I want to tell people I was rooting for Germany in the 2006 World Cup. I want to tell people I was rooting for Germany in the 2006 World Cup, and I want them to roll their eyes and walk away. So, I decided to find some alchemy that would cleanse the shirt of its fossilized perspiration. Scouring the internet, I was informed, vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and powdered sugar would all do the trick. Some time ago, when trying to clean a caramelized rainbow off the bottom of an aluminum pan, the internet advised me to go with vinegar, and I did, and it worked, so I figured I'd give it another shot with my shirt. The problem was, when searching for my bottle of it, I came back empty handed. I hadn't used the whole thing, but it was nowhere to be found, and I was less than enthusiastic about splashing my small jar of rice vinegar on my shirt, so I went shopping.
But before picking up a new jug of vinegar, I encountered a tub of Clorox Oxi Magic, a product which claimed "magical, oxygen-powered stain-fighting action." While the internet told me only suckers buy commercial bleaches and detergents and I should mix my own, I honestly wasn't too keen on sinking my shirt into a sugar water.
So, I bought the stuff, followed the directions, and mixed up a batch. I rubbed a fizzy, bubbly white foam into my shirt and waited 30 minutes. Then a rinse. Then, holy shit, it was clean. I stared at the shirt, whiter than I'd ever remembered it to be, made new. Immediately, I grabbed a pair of pants with several spots of soaked in olive oil, combined the Oxi Magic's crystals with water, and scrubbed the foam into the stains. After a half hour, the stains weren't gone but were substantially smaller. I tried a shirt, now, with splotches of oil across the front. (I'm a messy cook, you see, and I recently bought an apron to prevent me from ruining any more clothes with oil and tomato sauce.)
Again, after 30 minutes, the stains weren't completely gone but had faded. This was more than washing either the shirt or pants for six months had done. And, fact is, all those washing only served to sink the stains in. But, being bold, and seeing what one treatment of Oxi Magic had done, I prepared another batch and scrubbed the stains again. And this time, once washed clean, the stains vanished entirely.
My best guess is the Oxi Magic's fizziness allows it to penetrate the very core of fabrics and loosen stains, but this isn't too hard to deduce. Looking more closely, trying to find what exactly's in Oxi Magic, I've gotten little more than that its crystals are a "proprietary formula of sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate."
Now, while I've clearly painted the picture that Oxi Magic is a silver bullet that can remove any stain, cure any affliction, and -- word on the street is -- raise the dead, I must now proffer that it may be too powerful. Oh? You see, I cleaned my oil and sweat-stained clothes atop a carpet. (I didn't want to get the Oxi Magic on my hardwood floors, and I was too stupid to do it in the bathroom.) Afterwards, I was immediately inthralled by Oxi Magic's mystical properties and didn't really look at the carpet underneath, but two days later, walking by the carpet, I noticed three large white spots. Well, the spots weren't white exactly -- rather they were just lighter than the carpet all around them. I quickly realized that Oxi Magic had gone to work on my carpet's shag, cleansing it of whatever particulates had settled in it over the past two years its lived in my apartment. So, now, every time I pass by my carpet, I can't help but be reminded of just how grimy it is. Before, I had no clue, and I was living dumb and happy. Now, I'm going to have to coat the entire carpet in Oxi Magic foam so the whole thing returns to its original puce.
Wait, that story's not so bad. It doesn't speak ill of Oxi Magic at all. Instead, it only shows the author's a slob.
But there's more. For you see, the lightening of my carpet was only the first of two unintentional effects of my use of Oxi Magic. For, you see, not only did its fizzy bubbles make my carpet bright, but Oxi Magic's effervescent action also found its way deep inside my skin. As I've said, Oxi Magic's power is its ability to get into small spaces. Take a look at your hand. Take a look at your fingers. See those fingerprints? See all those small spaces? After scrubbing Oxi Magic into my clothes, the bubbles also found their way into every single line, wrinkle, and crease in my skin. Was it painful? Not exactly, but the Oxi Magic eliminated all the oils in my hands, causing them to turn dry and rough for the better part of an evening. It wasn't until morning that my hands stopped feeling like sand paper.
In summation, Oxi Magic is an astonishing product that I am wholly in awe of, but as 2002's Spider-Man reminds us, with great power comes great responsibility. Use Oxi Magic wisely.
Sadly, I did not receive any cash nor a free tub of Oxi Magic for this soliloquy. If the good people at Clorox do feel they wish to reimburse me for my above words, I'd greatly appreciate a copy of Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Bomberman Land Touch, Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja, or a German World Cup 2006 jersey.