Help! How Do I Remove Semen Stains From A Glove?

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and advice columnist. She'll be here every other week helping to answer your filthiest questions. Are you dirty? Email me.

I recently moved from one coast to the other, and for two months my things sat in a temperature-controlled storage unit. I've been moving the boxes and bins slowly to my new place—and this morning uncovered a crucial plastic bin: my booze. I unpacked it, carefully wiped each bottle down, and set up my home bar behind the doors of a lovely credenza. Total classy-drunk dream come true.

Then, I went away for the day. I've just returned to find my apartment smelling like the bar mat of a college sports bar. Or a pile of drunk dudes on day two of a heatwave. I busted open the credenza and was hit with a wave of booze-stink (no particular spirit stands out in the stale, aromatic mix).

The box it was packed in has been tossed out, along with the bubble wrap. I've ... um ... *tested* the various spirits and everything's in fine order: nothing's gone bad, nothing's broken or spilled, nothing's old that's not supposed to be old—everything is the way it was before I packed it up. It just ... reeks. On the whole.

Thoughts? In order to keep my bar together am I just going to have to let visitors assume I've perpetually just mopped up from a rager?

Huh! Well I have some thoughts on how to solve the problem, but not as many about how this came about. The only two theories I've scared up are 1.) you inadvertently spilled some booze while unpacking and it puddled into the space below the credenza, and 2.) that something had leaked in the packing box, which then sat somewhere in your home, lurking, bearing housewarming presents.

Given that, the first thing to do is to move the credenza and give the floor underneath a quick wash with a wet, but not sopping, rag and some dish soap. You may also want to do the same to the floor of the credenza, though in this case you'll want to be sure that the rag (or sponge! Sponges are fine. I love a sponge!) is damp (DAMP NOT WET!) so you don't saturate the wood with water.


(A warning: You will hear me holler "DAMP NOT WET!" at you until your ears ring, but I do it because using a waterlogged rag is a thing that people keep on doing wrong when cleaning. Even after I've told them nicely not to. So now I just yell from the get-go and then cry quietly into my pillow at night because everyone is mad at me for being mean.)

Also, I'd suggest running a damp rag across the floor where the packing box used to be, if you can recall that sort of thing. Oh! If the floor underneath is carpeted, don't use water and dish soap. Use a foaming or spray carpet cleaner like Resolve or some such; for whatever this might be worth to you, I'm partial to the foaming variety, because I think it works better. There will be instructions on the packaging of those products. Follow those instructions.

With my crackpot theories and very sound cleaning advice in re same out of the way, let's turn to the real meat and potatoes of solving your problem: odor eliminators.

And I do not mean Febreze. Febreze is crap; don't bring it around me unless you want to witness some Shining-level insanity. Oh man, Febreze makes me SO MAD, you guys.

The reason Febreze and its ilk make me mad is that they just mask odors, and there are so many wonderful products out there that actually take them away, and I want people to use those because doesn't that just make more sense to you? Yes? OK, thank you for that. I feel better now, though I think I might also need a glass bottle magnum of wine to calm my nerves. Goddamned Febreze, bah.

There are a lot of odor eliminators on the market, which is fun. They are also often found in hardware stores, which is even more fun. My love for hardware stores knows no bounds, oh my God.

Two products that work super well and that I really like, just to set you on your merry odor-eliminating way, are The Bad Air Sponge (because the name!) and the Innofresh line, because they made me a discount code and called it JolieCleanperson. You can use that discount code too, by the bye; just enter it at checkout for 10 percent off. GIFTS! I come here bearing GIFTS! (That's to make up for the yelling.)

My boyfriend and I were making out and he cummed in his glove and now it’s stained. How can he remove that stain?

OK, well first of all, this didn't happen. Also I do believe you mean, "he came in his glove." "Cum" is a noun; "come" is a verb. You can sort through the tense issues on your own; do be sure to show your work, though.

Let's pretend, however, that this did happen. (And I mean, I know it didn't because 1. Whaaaaaaa? and 2. I responded to LW to ask "Whaaaaaaa?" and get clarification on what sort of glove it was—never heard back. LIAR LIAR CUM GLOVES ON FIRE.) The reason we're going to pretend is that this is the first of what will assuredly be a textbook-length string of semen questions we'll tackle in the course of our relationship, and I want you to know that I strongly encourage you to come to me (to me. Not on, in, around, etc. me.) with any and all of your sexual-stain inquiries. Mostly because I wrote for a lady blog for two years: Your girlfriends have already told me in great detail about your splooge, and I think it's only fair to hear out your side of it.

Back to our fantasy world where this scenario is one that actually occurred: If the glove in question was leather, the semen can simply be wiped off with a damp cloth. If it's a really sticky stain (groan, sorry, etc.), put a very small amount of a mild detergent on a damp rag or sponge (DAMP NOT WET!) (See?) and gently get after that stain. Dish soap, hand soap, liquid laundry detergent—these are all the sorts of things that fall into the "mild detergent" category. Heck, even a small amount of bar soap will work, but be sure it's the kind intended for daily use on your foxy body and not, you know, Fels Naptha.

If neither of those things works, I want you to go to a doctor to figure out what is going on with your sperms because, seriously, that's so totally not normal. Oh, and on your way home, you can pick up some saddle soap, which can be used to safely clean any leather goods. To use it, put a small amount (pea-sized? Sure.) on a damp cloth or sponge, work up a bit of a lather, and then rub the soap into the leather using a circular motion. Allow it to chillax on the leather for a minute or two, then wipe off thoroughly using a clean, damp rag. If the gloves are wicked fancy—and oh well, you've just learned whence I hail—follow up with some leather conditioner; if they're not real nice, that part can be optional.

If the gloves are wool, cotton, or cashmere (hey, big spender!), you can hand wash them in cold water using a mild detergent like Woolite. Or actually just a really small amount, like a quarter teaspoon, of your regular detergent, powdered or liquid—liquid is better because sometimes powdered detergent doesn't like to dissolve in cold water, and you must (MUST MUST MUST) use cold water on fibers like wool. Unless you would like to end up with a pair of toddler gloves. Which? By all means, you do you. If you've got some OxiClean or other oxygenated bleach hanging around the house, go on and put a small amount of that in the wash water as well. Oxi is aces on protein stains, which is what your gism is made up of. Science! Once you've gotten the stain out, rinse the gloves, then gently press out as much water as you can, being careful not to wring them—that's bad for the fibers. Then roll them between a towel before lying flat to dry.

If the gloves are Freezy Freakies, I'm extraordinarily concerned about what's going on with you. No no, I don't want to know. Wasn't asking. Nope.

Jolie Kerr is the author of the upcoming book My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag … And Other Things You Can't Ask Martha (Plume, Spring 2014); more cleaning-obsessed natterings can be found on Twitter, Kinja, and Tumblr. Her favorite decorative pillow asks, "What Would Martha Do?"

Squalor appears on Jezebel and Deadspin on alternating weeks. You can find her "Ask A Clean Person" archives at The Hairpin.