Even the Cleaning Products are Superior in France

ecarlate (1)Since first moving to France in 1995, I’ve lived in approximately 14 different apartments and houses, and only one of them wasn’t a rental. So that’s a lot of moving and needing to make sure the place is spotless so I could get back my deposit. If I had known about Eau Ecarlate, I wouldn’t have spent so many hours of my life trying to get (supposedly easy-to-remove) blu-tack off the white walls. A cotton ball dipped in the Eau Ecarlate removes it instantly without any residue. Giddy with my newfound power, I raced around my old apartment looking for any surface with sticky residue that needed removal: a spot on the washing machine where I had removed a decal, the film on the bedroom window where I had a supposedly mosquito-repelling sunflower sticker, the double-stick tape residue on the kitchen shelves that I used to attach the shelf liners that kept slipping…bliss.

I should mention that I’d actually had the bottle in my cleaning closet for years, but it was for a totally different purpose: cleaning my hats. (I have a lot of hats.) When I spent a small fortune for a wool winter hat at Le Bon Marché a few years ago, I lamented the problem of keeping the inside rim clean (where it rubs against the forehead, picking up skin cream, sunblock, and/or make-up). Taking my hats to the dry cleaner is outside my tax bracket. But the helpful sales lady told me to just dab the rim with a dry cotton ball dipped in Eau Ecarlate. Et voila!

Apparently it’s also used for stains on clothing and fabrics — blood, wine, sauce, etc. — as well as to generally brighten your colors in the laundry. In fact, Eau Ecarlate was invented in 1851 to clean the uniforms of Napoléon III’s soldiers, and used ever since for its cleaning power. There are many versions of the product sold in powders, pens, towelettes, or for specific stains, but most French people just have the classic Détacheur Universel among their cleaning supplies.

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