Last fall I got a salad dressing stain on an almost-new Ralph Lauren cotton sweater. It was a cream-colored crew neck with a couple of buttons on the shoulders, and I loved it. It was perfect with my favorite khaki pants.
I was sure the stain would come out with Shout or whatever pre-laundry treatment I had, but alas, it didn’t. In retrospect, I should have taken it to the cleaners from the get-go, but I didn’t and the sweater ended up in the Good Will Bag. I still miss it.
More recently, in a casual conversation with a woman of my generation on our trip to India, I was regretting wearing my white slacks. They looked like they would never be white again. “Just rub a little Fels Naptha on the spots before you wash them,” she suggested.
Now that’s a name I hadn’t heard in about sixty years. “Does Fels Naptha still exist?” I asked. “Of course”, she replied. “I wouldn’t use anything else for stains.”
She was right. I found Fels Naptha in the laundry aisle at my grocery store. The wrapper looked exactly as it had when I was a child. More important, it is a miracle bar. Stains on my white placemats. Gone. Ring around the collar on one of Peter’s shirts. Gone. My white pants. White.
The label calls it a heavy-duty laundry bar soap. I call it a miracle.
Just too late for my cream-colored Ralph Lauren sweater.