This is a short piece written back in 2011 when I was living and working in Honduras.
So I swear I don’t sweat a abnormal amount or anything, but one way or another I have amassed a collection of white shirts whose armpits are looking less than brand new. I’ve tried all sorts of fancy stain removers, detergents, hot water, cold water, with no luck, and had all but given up on the offending shirts. But today, feeling unusually motivated, I decided to finally take action, and after great consideration decided to attack the stains by soaking the shirts in a bucket of bleach/water.
Four hours later, my grandmother witnessed me disappointedly taking the shirts out of the bucket, observing that not one stain had even lightened. I felt defeated, and was ready to leave all the shirts here in Honduras to be turned into armpit-stained rags. “Hold up just one minute,” she told me in Spanish. “Let me have at that.”
30 seconds with some powder detergent, a washboard, and most importantly a healthy fixing of elbow grease, and Alba Gloria had thrown down that Honduran grandma magic and the armpits of that shirt were whiter than the member populace of my small private Connecticut lake club!
I washed the rest of the shirts just like she showed me, to equally miraculous results (and also to raw, bleach-stung knuckles, but that’s okay) and will now be joining the rest of the non-grimy-white-shirt-wearing population.
- I’m buying a washboard for my apartment this year, and together we will never fear another stain ever again.
[NOTE: Despite enthusiastic optimism, washboard was unfortunately never purchased]