Boro cleaners remove stains from Phagwah

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After the fun of spraying colorful liquids, powders and dyes on other celebrants during Phagwah, the Hindu celebration of spring, comes the hard part: removing those stubborn stains.

At Smokey Oval Park in Richmond Hill, hundreds of revelers doused each other in the colors, leaving behind clothes and faces covered in purple, blue, pink, yellow and white dyes. The dyes are mainly extracted from blooming flowers.

Charlie Moore, assistant manager of NNJ Dry Cleaners & Laundry at 110-19 Jamaica Ave. in Richmond Hill, said the business has no problems getting rid of the Phagwah stains from garments.

“Of course, we’re a dry cleaners. We do this for a living,” he said.

Moore said NNJ received anywhere from 10 to 25 pieces from customers who participated in Phagwah, which cost about $100 to dry clean in total.

Removing the stains by hand is a chore. Dyes on the face cannot be removed by soap and water alone.

Moore suggested bringing stained clothing to a dry cleaners.

“That’s not one of the tough stains for us to get out,” he said, noting that removing the dyes from a down jacket cost $18.

Moore’s prices are reasonable. Sweaters cost $3.50 to clean, jeans $3, pants $3.25 and a collared shirt $1.25.

The most expensive to clean are leather jackets at $35, but the experienced Phagwah participant would know not to wear such a coat to the dye-dominated celebration.

While Phagwah is a Hindu celebration of spring, Sikhs, Indo-Guyanese residents and others who trace their roots to India also take part in the festivities.

The colorful dyes, powders and liquids sprayed at revelers represent the changing of the season and the colors of spring.

The celebration began March 7 with a parade down Liberty Boulevard in Richmond Hill. But the spraying of the dyes, powders and liquids is not allowed during the parade.

After it is winds up, participants flock to Smokey Oval, where some celebrants use Super Soakers and other gadgets to spray the dyes.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 5:53 pm, October 10, 2011
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