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Dry Cleaners Explain How to Make a Milkshake Literally Destroy Your Clothes

As dairy beverages are hurled up and down the country, we asked the people who clean your clothes what the absolute worst things are to get out of fabric.

by Jazmine Sleman
21 May 2019, 4:40pm

Illustration by Jack Cummings

If you haven’t already seen pictures of Nigel Farage saturated in an unctuous banana and salted caramel milkshake from premium burger joint Five Guys, I urge you to stop what you’re doing and take a look now. You’re welcome.

In the run up to the European elections, the left-leaning British public have been presented with a new, highly refined, non-violent protest tool: the political milkshaking. It’s a weapon that has launched a thousand memes, with victims from Tommy Robinson (hit twice in two days with the reliable McDonald's milkshake in Bury and Warrington) to UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin, AKA YouTuber Sargon of Akkad, who had four milkshakes thrown at him while campaigning in the South West (the provenance of these milkshakes is, unfortunately, unknown).

As the humble milkshake enjoys its moment in the sun, corporate players have lined up on either side of the #milkyboi debate. An Edinburgh branch of McDonald’s stopped selling milkshakes during a Farage rally, leading Burger King to embrace the chaos and announce it would continue to sell milkshakes to the masses.

But there's a method to all this dairy-based madness. Milkshaking can be seen within a tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience known as "dilemma action". A term coined by Serbian activists in the 1990s, dilemma action creates a lose-lose situation for the opposition. It’s a genius move reserved for some of the absolute worst people in our society, because there’s no good way to respond to a milkshaking: do nothing and you look like a twat, or fight back and look like you're overreacting. Plus, a milkshake will really mess up your suit. Still, that's not to say you should go out and do it, unless you want to risk arrest: the guy who milkshaked Farage has since been charged with assault, after all.

Still, hypothetically speaking, as waves of sweet, creamy fluid course through the body politic, it’s hard to know which milkshake to choose for maximum political impact. Is a fruity-based treat the best way to really stick it to your local fascist? Or is that full-fat chocolate shake a better tool for social change? We asked the only people who’ll truly know – dry cleaners – about the absolute worst stuff to get out of suits. Use this information how you will.*

The Chelsea Laundry, Paul

VICE: Hi Paul, thanks for chatting to me. What is the absolute worst thing to get out of a suit, in your opinion?
Paul: Um... an egg, or ink.

If you really wanted to ruin the suit of someone you didn't like, what would you throw at them?
Ink, any kind of ink. Cartridges from a fountain pen would be good.

What's the gnarliest thing you'd ever throw at someone?
Probably a big bucket of paint.

Would you dry clean a fascist's suit?
Umm, what?

Verdict: Inky delights

American Dry Cleaning Company, Cara

VICE: What is the absolute worst thing to get out of a suit?
Cara: Umm, it might change. Turmeric, dark spices – like yellowish or Indian spices – because they are generally used as a dye.

If you really wanted to ruin the suit of someone you didn't like, what would you throw at them?
Definitely turmeric.

What's the gnarliest thing you'd ever throw at someone?
(Long, confused pause.)

Would you dry clean a fascist's suit?
Okay, bye.

Verdict: Turmeric latte, baby!

Chelsea Green Valet, Susan

VICE: Susan. What is the absolute worst thing to get out of a suit?
Susan: Turmeric or food colouring.

If you really wanted to ruin the suit of someone you didn't like, what would you throw at them?
Oh dear, this sounds very suspicious.

Nothing to worry about, Susan. So, what's the gnarliest thing you'd ever throw at someone?
A curry, I guess.

Would you dry clean a fascist's suit?
Sorry, I have to go now.

Verdict: Curry club.

Lewis & Wayne, Ed

VICE: What is the absolute worst thing to get out of a suit, in your opinion?
Ed: In my own opinion, probably egg. Anything with albumen content [a protein contained in egg whites] – you can get that from cream and things like that. So yeah, definitely an egg, I would say.

If you really wanted to ruin the suit of someone you didn't like, what would you throw at them?
I can’t really advise you on that I'm afraid, sorry.

I’m thinking what you, personally, would throw at your enemy.
[Silence.]

What's the gnarliest thing you'd ever throw at someone?
[Silence.]

Verdict: Eggy.

Keep It Clean, Diana

VICE: Hi there. What is the absolute worst fucking thing to get out of a suit in your opinion?
Diana: Blood, coffee, tea, rust, ink – red wine, maybe, because it turns blue.

If you really wanted to ruin the suit of someone you didn't like, what would you throw at them?
Umm, depending on what sort of thing, if it was ink it would spread badly and make a bigger stain. Maybe blood; I don't really know. Can I ask you if you’re wanting to get anything cleaned?

I'm good, Diana. Thanks.

Verdict: Blood rites.

* VICE UK does not condone throwing milkshakes at people, even for political purposes.