Do You Ever Wonder What Would Happen if You Put Your Palette through the Washing Machine? Three Times?

March 10, 2012

See the post for details.


Above: One of my small kid's palettes that I carry all the time. This one had Daniel Smith Watercolors in it. Read below for more details.

In January I was at a gas station filling my tank and the nozzle malfunctioned spewing gasoline all over my boots, pants, and the bottom part of my winter coat. 

Safety Tip: Dry out completely before you get in the car and start it, because even static electric sparks from opening and closing the door or touching the fabric of your car seat (if you don't have leather and I don't because I think fabric is warmer in the winter) can turn you into a fireball at this point.

Well, the short part of the story is that my lovely Gortex boots were totally saturated and are toast. (Happily, not burnt toast, but they are non-boots now as they still smell after 6 weeks, so strongly that I can't wear them—and of course no one carries this style any longer.)

When I got home I stripped off everything and it all went into the wash, over and over and over. (Dick rinsed it all out first in the laundry tub before putting it through the 3 cycles. And I should also point out that we have an extra rinse as the default on our washer, so that's six dousings as it were.)

Both of us thought we'd emptied all the pockets, but I'd just gone to Como Zoo a couple days before this incident and had put all my supplies in my pockets so I wouldn't need to take a bag. The above palette didn't get removed and so it went through the wash all those times.

The watercolors of this closed palette (and it didn't open during the wash, or at least we don't think so as it was solidly closed) almost completely washed out in the process, and my Bounty paper towel sort of disintegrated and then felted back together (during the spin cycle) into something else entirely wonderful attached all around the palette. This was an older palette and the pans were about half full.

We use Tide Free and none of the other clothes (dark/cold) washed with the coat were stained by the paint.

OK, now you know. Isn't that cool?

  1. Reply

    very cool……..

    • Roxanne
    • March 10, 2012

    Your post was wonderful. I laughed really hard at this one. But I’m glad your clothes washed out.

    • Audrey
    • March 10, 2012

    I’m sorry! Did you try anything like this:

    Also, I’m a fabric dye person and there is a soap called Synthrapol that is good at washing accidents out of clothing. It doesn’t take much at all, maybe a tablespoon per load. Internet available from Dharma if you want to keep some on hand. I’ve never tried it on gasoline or watercolor but the alcohol in it is a decent solvent.

    Who knew Bounty would felt? Fun discovery!

    • Lisa
    • March 10, 2012

    Bummer about your boots. 🙁

    • Miss T
    • March 10, 2012

    Very sad about the boots. But that’s a cool little sculpture.

  2. Reply

    Lisa and Miss T, yep, I’m still missing the boots. They were the best boots I ever had. They fit lik gloves. I could hike in them all day, and I could even run in them (if there were spies of course).

  3. Reply

    Roxanne, sometimes the best “experiments” and data we gather happen by accident!

  4. Reply

    Audrey, Thanks you for the link on cleaning gasoline leather shoes I’ll check that out. And for the tip on the soap. I’ll get some of that to have on hand. You never know. Actually, around here you do know—everything I own has, or eventually has, paint on it! Especially some of my favorite polo shirts. I go out to sketch and come home looking, well you get the idea.


  5. Reply

    Thanks Donna, not something I’d ever think to do on purpose but a fun little discovery.

    • Leslie Schramm
    • March 10, 2012

    Fill the boots with cat litter, the clay or wood chip one, it’ll absorb some of the petrol, Then try a dusting of Fuller’s Earth. worst comes to the worst, try them tied into a canvas bag and through a wash cycle in the washing machine. If all else fails, drill holes and plant them up

    • Nancy Patterson
    • March 10, 2012

    Sorry this happened to you!!…those great boots..and your palette of beautiful colors!!!

  6. Reply

    OH NO….petrol all over you is a scary thought. I’m glad you are safe but it’s such a shame about your favourite boots. I do hope the advice you’ve been given can rescue them for you, Roz. The accidental ‘experiment’ proves that paint palettes are not waterproof. It just wasn’t your day…

  7. Reply

    Leslie, I forgot about the cat litter trick!!! A bookbinder friend had me use that when someone with perfumed lotion left massive residual on one of my journals after leafing through it. I’ll give that a try. As you say, I have nothing to lose at this point.

  8. Reply

    Serena, the concept of turning into a fireball isn’t one I like to ponder that’s for sure. But I can be philosophical about the boots and entertained by the palette.

    Though I do hope those boots can come back via Leslie’s trick and Audrey’s

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