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Cool Science: Stain Magic

Portable stain-removal pens come to the rescue when a fancy dinner gets messy.

Going out on the town for a fancy dinner is always an exciting way to celebrate. But if you’re anything like me, sometimes disaster can strike. 

Thankfully portable stain-removal pens can make stains disappear like magic.

The vanishing act starts with hydrogen peroxide, the same ingredient that’s in hair bleach.  

This chemical produces free radicals, which crash into some of the coloured molecules, turning them from coloured to clear.

A second chemical, called sodium laureth sulfate, attaches to any grease in the stain like soap so that the water can wash it off in your next laundry load.

The final act is foam! Lauryl dimethylamine oxide works to foam up the mixture, while helping to surround the stain molecules, keeping them from your clothing!

If you find yourself in a mess without a magic wand, make your own. Start with one cup of three per cent hydrogen peroxide.  

Then add a half-a-cup of dish soap and one tablespoon of baking soda and mix. Store it in a dark coloured spray bottle for no more than one month.  

But test it on a bit of fabric before you use it as some dyes can’t handle the magic and might fade.

Now that’s cool science!