Wanna see grime? I’ll give you grime!

So, you know I’m a scientist and can’t resist a good experiment. Even while I was finishing up things at work, I was dreaming about taking out all my cleaning products and testing them out in a “crap of all craps” removal test once I got home.

I set up shop, and went to work:

On the plus side, I wasn’t imagining the gunk that was coating my bamboo and wood needles. On the minus side, it’s still not immediately obvious where this gunk is coming from.

Some of the gunk you see here is from needles that have been stained by excess dye from yarn, but some of the gunk is from needles that appear to be unstained by dye. Pretty gross, eh? It’s okay if you think this is gross, I won’t be offended.

I found that in gunk removal, rubbing alcohol seemed to work really well. I wet a paper towel with it, then rubbed off whatever was sticking to the needles. The other cleaners (fantastik, Windex, Sun & Earth) removed the gunk, but left the needles feeling a bit sticky. To restore my needles back to their pre-gunk state, I rubbed them with Murphy Oil Soap, then wiped the excess off with a paper towel. Smooth as butter! Buuuuuteeeeerrrrr… at least for now. And if the smoothness wears off, I know what to do!

So, if you ever run into a knitter who’s stinkin’ like Murphy Oil Soap, it must be me! But I have to tell you, I love it! The smell of that stuff reminds me of my parents’ house and mom and grandma. Now, why I like the smell of microscope oil at work is up to interpretation (it smells like new furniture).

With all the smoothness, I finished up Pretty Comfy Socks! Buuuuuteeeeerrrrr! I mean, coooomfyyyyyy!

16 thoughts on “Wanna see grime? I’ll give you grime!

  1. naomi

    You know, I don’t think I’d ever heard anyone say they liked the smell of microscope oil before. Maybe I’ll ask around in lab tomorrow.

  2. Judy

    You crack me up with the experiment! I’m glad to know you figured out a way to get rid of the gunk, though… I have your trade ready to go out today, and I have a feeling the results of your experiment will come in handy (hint, hint).

  3. Stephanie

    Don’t ya just love a scientist with an experiment? Sounds like you were in heaven. Glad you got it figured out, and I too enjoy the smell of Murphy’s oil soap – it brings back fond memories for me too. You’re gonna have the best lookin’ needles in town.

  4. Tracy

    It takes a scientist to come up with a post like this! Thanks though we all need to know, I bet most people have dirty needles…(sounds like a drug awareness comment doesn’t it?) and now we can knit in smooth tranquility.

  5. Rebekah

    That’s a great idea rubbing them with murphy’s oil soap. yesterday after reading your post, and then walking and knitting with my dpn’s I paid more attention to the needles, and you know I think I see what you mean. I’m gonna give your hints a try this weekend.

  6. Joanne

    Quite frankly, I’m surprised that more people don’t notice gunk on their knitting needles. I’m a clean person, but after using a mouse 8 or more hours a day, every day, I eventually have to clean it. It’s not even all that scary — it’s just oil and skin flakes and bits of fiber, stuff that we’re normally covered in. I suspect that the wood knitting needles have a slightly rougher finish which holds on to the oil, while the metal ones are smoother and the dirt just rubs off them.

    I use rubbing alcohol to clean fingerprints off computer equipment, and it would probably be fine for metal or hard plastic needles, but I don’t know anything about wood finishes so I can’t recommend it for those.

  7. Martha Spizziri

    You are reminding me of my new favorite TV show (well, not really favorite, but I do like watching it), How Clean Is Your House? Two English ladies come and scold people who are the most terrible housekeepers you’ve ever seen in your life. Then they make them clean up. Usually it’s so bad they bring a team of cleaners in to finish up. I don’t know why, but I love watching this process.

  8. elisa

    Seriously – that’s the best experiment ever.

    As a grants administrator, I’m trying to figure out who would give you money so that you could do lots of neat knitsperiments all the time and gets paid.

  9. India

    so did using the Murphy Oil Soap or any of the test chemicals for that matter remove all the yarn dye colors from your bamboo needles, or did it just lessen the color? My got colored green and I don’t know what to do!

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