As somebody who isn’t too particular about garment care, I have seldom paid attention to my choice of laundry products, let alone products for stain removal. I’ll stick with a conventional detergent as long as it gets the job done, but sometimes there’s the odd stain that requires a little something extra. A few years ago, an old colleague of mine recommended the Utamaro laundry soap bar - a classic soap used in Japan since the 50s, known for removing stubborn stains from clothing and footwear. I came across the soap during my last trip to Japan and decided to give it a try.
Using the Utamaro soap is very straightforward and not unlike other stain removers. Simply dampen the stained area, rub the soap into the area and let it sit for a few minutes before washing. For more difficult stains, it is recommended to let the soap sit for a few hours.
Unsure of what to expect, I wanted to see if the soap was up to the task of cleaning my dirty Chuck Taylors. After only a few minutes of cleaning, the shoes looked almost brand new.
Affordability and reliability are key when it comes to garment care, and Utamaro soap certainly checks these boxes. Although it may be harder to track down outside of Japan, be sure to seek out its signature mint green hue the next time you find yourself in a Japanese convenience store.