The best way to keep your chef coat free of stains is to, well, not get stains on it. You should get a high-quality apron that is large enough to adequately protect your chef coat. I know that kitchens are scorching hot, and a lot of chefs forgo the apron for this very reason. But honestly, does an apron really make you feel significantly warmer? And is that little, tiny bit of extra warmth enough for you to sacrifice your beautiful, expensive chef coat? I would hope not. The Chef Works apron on the right offers a good amount of coverage and a sharp look.
Address the mess
So you tried to prevent stains with a good apron, but alas, stains made their way to the exposed parts of your chef coat. Now what? Well, before I tell you what to do, it's worth mentioning what NOT to do.
- Don't use hot water, no matter what anyone says! Hot water will do nothing but cook you up a hot mess and set in stains nice and deep. Use warm or cold water.
- Don't use bleach except as a last resort. Bleach will weaken fibers, and it will eventually turn fabric yellow or gray. It will also fade any embroidery that you have on your coat, which will not make your employer happy at all.
- Don't ever put a stained chef coat in the dryer. This will only set the stains. If you haven't gotten the stains out, hang the chef coat to dry.
- Don't keep rubbing a stain if it seems like you're just rubbing it deeper into the fabric. You probably are. Use a different approach.
Now that you know the no-nos, I'll give you the good tips.
- Carry a detergent pen or stain remover wipes with you (not ones with bleach). This will allow you to get to work on a stain sooner, which may save your chef coat.
- Vinegar and club soda are also great stain removers that you probably have access to in the kitchen. White vinegar is good for tomato, coffee, grease, and wine stains. Club soda is also good for wine stains. Saturate the stain as much as possible, and dab the stain with a clean cloth.
- When you get home, soak your chef coat in warm water with oxygen-based detergent like OxiClean. Try and soak it for an hour or more.
- Once you've soaked your chef coat, take a look and see what stains remain.
- If there are grease stains, try using a dishwashing detergent like Cascade. These types of detergents are made to break up grease and oil. Rub a little detergent into the stain and let sit for a few minutes. If you have a severe grease stain, try a product called Lestoil, which you can find at hardware stores. Lestoil has a strong smell and it's pretty harsh, so you should really only use it as a last resort. If you do decide to use Lestoil, wash the coat first in cold water to get rid of the residues from the other detergents you tried. Lestoil doesn't react well with other chemicals.
- If you have coffee, red wine, or tomato stains, try soaking them in white vinegar. Even if you already tried dabbing them with vinegar at the kitchen, soaking them may make a difference. Saturate the stain completely with white vinegar and let it sit for ten minutes. If the stain remains, try using Shout gel or another stain remover. Follow the directions on the label. If you're really desperate and nothing has worked so far, try a carpet spot cleaner. Again, this should be a last resort. Harsher products are more damaging to fabrics. As I stated before, bleach should only be used as a last resort. If you do decide to use bleach, only use it with warm water. The combination of hot water and bleach cause serious yellowing.
- Once you've done what you can to deal with the stains by hand, wash the chef coat in warm or cold water using bleach-free detergent. You can also add oxygen-based detergent to the wash, following the instructions on label. Add a cup of white vinegar to the final rinse to get the chef coat sparkling white.
Chef coats for the accident-prone
Some people are simply stain magnets. If you're one of those people, perhaps you should consider one of these chef coats.
|This ladies' executive chef coat by Dickies comes in white as well as stain-hiding black, celery, and cobalt. The coat is made from a 65% polyester and 35% cotton micro-stretch twill, and features a soil-release finish. And gosh darn it, it looks sharp!|
|The Aruba chef coat by Uncommon Threads has short sleeves, so there's less of a chance of you staining it. It also has a moisture-wicking mesh back, keeping you cool enough that you won't mind wearing an apron. This chef coat comes in black and white.|
|This basic 3/4 sleeve chef coat by Chef Works comes in five colors, so you're sure to find one that matches your favorite stains. And again, the 3/4 sleeves mean less fabric to stain.|