Inglewood Craftsman Home

Restoring our 1906 home in Inglewood CA on a budget

The Beach Tar Portiere Disaster

Leave a comment

Some of our actual faux-linen portieres

Some of our actual faux-linen portieres

We had a nice little beach day at Dockweiler State Beach a few weeks ago. It was a bit cold, but I decided to do some beach running to keep warm. I came back and spent a bit of time relaxing before heading home.

The dogs had gotten two of the faux-linen portieres  (curtains between doors)  a bit dirty, so I decided to wash them along with my beach towel when I got home. After the wash, the clean curtains seemed nearly dry, and I strongly considered just putting them back up on their cast-iron holders…   but made the fateful decision not to.

I’m planning to stencil some beautiful craftsman designs on them, as would have been traditional, and I’m so happy I hadn’t before this terrible disaster. I pulled the curtains and beach towel out of the dryer, and…. Everything was covered in tar. Spots everywhere! The towel had contained a large glob that, when heated, got all over the inside of the dryer and my curtains.

First, I brought the curtains to the dry cleaner across the street, but was told nothing would help (including evidence of one spot not changing after they’d attacked it with their chemicals. At this point, I truly considered discarding the two curtains and getting new ones, but that would be wasteful- not to mention that the other two portieres wouldn’t match! I’d only spent about $10 each on them at Ross, but they really did look nice, so I figured I should try a few more avenues.

I called my mom, thinking she’d have a mom-like solution for it, but she just referred me to Google.

I tried Goo Gone first. It worked, naturally, but smelled terrible and used quite a bit of the substance, which is pricey. Next, I used this article for reference, and employed the power of the orange hand cleaner we already had near the laundry sink. I rubbed it on EVERY. SINGLE. SPOT. I used the edges of my nail to rub off the stains onto rags after allowing the cleaner to sit for awhile. One issue to note: rubbing too hard separated the fibers, and I also had to make sure to do it from both sides when the tar stain had gone through.

I got ALMOST ALL of the tar stains out of the curtains! The faux linen is rather forgiving for such things as tiny brown spots, and as only the tiny ones were unaddressed, the approach was successful! After rubbing all the stains out and covering rags in tar, I washed the curtains. This time, I hung them dry 🙂

Note: I did have to make sure to REALLY clean the dryer after this so no further loads of laundry were ruined. Goo Gone and kitchen cleaning wipes did the trick here. I made sure to air dry the dryer with the door open since Goo Gone is such a strong chemical.

Well, what a waste of time. I spent several evenings just cleaning up this tar mess, rather than working on real projects. Oh well- at least I can pass on my tar-stain-removal knowledge!

Our portieres may end up looking like this soon!

Our portieres may end up stenciled like this soon!


Author: Morgan | Culture | Meredith

Morgan Meredith writes about mental health, travel, and tech, based on her own experiences. Morgan left her job at a tech startup in 2017 to travel the world, and hasn’t stopped! She’s passionate about making travel as accessible for people with mental health challenges as it is for those who are nerotypical. She is also an outspoken advocate for destigmatizing mental health. Morgan received an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, and a BFA and BA at Bradley University. Hire Morgan for your project or speaking engagement at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s