SOLUTION: Fake-tanned sheets: a been a battle I’ve been fighting for about 10 years now. Similar to my war on fake-tanned hands, this ongoing battle has turned into fights with my Mum and disgusted remarks from my boyfriend. I am quite the fake tan enthusiast – I have pale skin and really worry about sun damage and I’m also terribly vain and just really like being a tanned babe. Although I reach my goal of being golden brown, I continually miss my goal of having crisp white sheets, lovely bathroom towels and white t-shirts that stay white under the arms. I never understood how annoying this fake-tanned sheets problem was, until I moved to Sydney 2 years ago and started doing my own washing. All those years, I just thought my Mum was being a painful complaining nag but in reality, she was the BEST fake-tan removing legend. I called her and said ‘I have no idea how you have put up with me and my fake-tanned sheets’ and she wished me luck in finding anyone else that would. So because I refuse to get darker sheets or stop wearing tan, I asked all her tips and have worked out how to become the Martha Stewart of fake-tanned sheets.
1. THE SOAK AND WASH
This is for those sheets that are insanely tanned and you worry you may have to buy new ones. It’s also for those of you that are not water-conservationists, because it’s basically double washing. After stripping your bed, you run a shallow bath of warm water. You put a small amount of washing powder or Napisan in there and make sure it’s all distributed evenly. Put your sheets in and mix them around a bit. Walk away and pretend you have a life. You can leave them in there overnight (if you forget about it, which I often do) or you can leave it there for at least 2 hours – when you return, you’ll see a difference in the sheets already. Sometimes all the tan is gone, sometimes it will have just faded. Then, you drain the bath/sink, squeeze those sheets out a bit and put them into the washing machine. Go about your regular sheet-washing routine, yet just for safety you can use a lid of Vanish Oxi Action Crystal White Powder to your regular load and watch the magic happen.
2. THE SPOT ATTACK AND WASH
This is for the sheets are more or less OK, but there are a few spots that the sneaky tan managed to rub off. This is also for the time poor and for those that think a double wash is excessive. I find it easiest to spray or rub the spots that need some TLC directly while they are still on my bed (just making sure you don’t go nuts and go through the sheet). Sard Wonder Soap never seems to fail – this little multi-purpose stain remover was a staple in my Nan’s laundry who with six children of her own and 11 grandchildren using her house as just an epic playground, she knows a thing or two about removing stains. It comes in a handy little stick that you can rub on like a deodorant directly on the fake-tan stain and leave for 5 or 10 minutes before putting your sheets through the wash. A spray like Napisan Preen Oxi Action Trigger will make short work of that tan stain, if you leave it for about 5 to 10 minutes before putting through the wash.
3. THE QUICK COVER
The quick cover is for when you have slept out of home and have woken to ruining the sheets of your gracious host’s bed. I’m surprised I haven’t died of that panic or embarrassment yet. There have been mornings that I have woken before my boyfriend, noticed tan on his crisp white sheets and pretended to still be asleep while he gets up and goes to the bathroom so I can clean and cover before he sees the tan – that’s how psycho he goes when he sees it. I have noticed him hugging me and thinking it was lovely, until I realized that he was just ensuring that less of my fake-tanned body was touching the sheets. Firstly, some quick tips on making this ‘out of home’ problem less difficult – ensure that you have showered off the original coat of tan, ensure that you haven’t put oily moisturizer over your tan before jumping into bed and ensure that you’re not too hot – sweat and tan are the sworn enemies of white sheets. IF after all this effort you’re still getting tan everywhere, carry White King Stain Lift Wipes. They are meant to be for ‘on-the-go’ stains or for people with OCD. Or, you could quickly scan their cupboard for the sprays you’d use for the ‘Spot Attach and Wash’ step and spray the spot, then grab damp (clean, obviously) Chux and give the spot a little scrub. There is another amazing product called the Chux Magic Eraser, which is supposed to be for household surfaces and for out-of-control children who draw on the walls. I use it for shoes and I also use it for quick tan removers, because this little baby removes EVERYTHING. It looks like a little cube of soft polystyrene that when combined with a bit of water, becomes your best friend that will get you out of a sticky fake-tan situation.
I know that I am making life more difficult for myself by committing to my tan. I even go to the extreme of timing an application to when I have time to wash the following day – it’s honestly the behaviour of an addict. In a slight effort to give myself a break, I don’t use white towels, because the minute I hang them up in my bathroom after being used, I feel I am opening myself up to being publicly judged. I’m also sure that any hotel I’ve ever stayed in would hate me, because I get SO excited about using towels I don’t have to remove tan from, that I really overuse their kind hospitality. The moral of the story? Never fear, you don’t have to live with fake-tanned sheets. And as I have said for 10 years to Mum and continue to say to my boyfriend: “would you rather me be pale and unhappy?” “No” they tell me, but on the inside, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind.