If you are concerned about ice cream dripped down your sundress, barbecue sauce on your favorite t-shirt or grass stains over your skinny jeans, worry not. There is salvation so don’t throw your clothes to the rag pile just yet! Here is a guide that will help you get rid of spots, splotches, and spatters out of any fabric!
- Catch a stain the earliest possible – This is because the longer it remains, the tougher it gets to remove.
- Pre-treat a stain before laundering – This could mean you treat the affected area with a product like a Tide Pen, Shout Wipes or Stain Stick (Spray-n-Wash). That is, of course, if the item is not dry-clean only. Or you could wet the spot with an ice cube (if you can’t address the issue right away) and then wash when you get home.
- Never blot with hot water or rub – Just blot gently.
- Don’t add clothing with stains that have not been removed to the dryer – If a stain is still noticeable after washing, then pre-treat again and re-wash. Otherwise, the heat from the dryer will set the stain for good.
- Don’t use darker colored cloths or towels to remove stains from whites – Instead, if a spill is liquid, blot it up from the outside in and apply liquid dishwashing soap directly to it. Rub gently and soak the clothing in cold water for 15 mins before washing. For persistent or old stains, you can use corn starch or baking soda. Create a paste and scrub into the stain. You can also use white vinegar, too. It should be noted that whites should be pre-soaked in cold water and ½ cup bleach and wash separately.
- Don’t use bar soaps to remove stains from darks – Soak the fabric in cold water and ½ cup white vinegar before washing.
Types of Stains
- Dairy stains – Soak fresh stains in cold water and agitate prior washing. If the stain is dry, get rid of any crusted matter and soak in a solution of cold water and an enzyme pre-soak or a detergent for several hours. For more enhanced results, use both a presoak product to help break down the stains so that the detergent can penetrate the fabric easier and remove the stain before you launder in warm water. For stubborn stains, soak again for half an hour and wash again. For colored stains, make sure the bleach you use is safe for the particular fabric.
- Dye stains (including tea, coffee, and ink stains) – Dye stains are very difficult to get out if they had the time to set in. So, it’s best to run the stain under cold water the moment it happens and then wash it. Use the hottest setting the fabric allows. If you can’t get it out yourself, then it’s a task for the dry cleaner around the corner.
- Fruit stains (including fruit juice) – Launder with a detergent that doesn’t contain natural soap as it will allow the stain to set in for good. For persistent stains, soak them in a solution of warm water (one quart) and an enzyme pre-soak product (i.e. Biz Bleach and Axion) for half an hour. You may have to wash set or old stains with fabric-safe bleach.
- Protein stains (i.e. blood, sweat and vomit) – You need a solution that will break down the proteins and dissolve the fats. In this case, an enzyme pre-soak product or an alkaline-based solution will work just fine. Usually, you can use your detergent to clean protein stains, given that most detergents contain enzymes. The same procedure is effective on mud stains, too. However, you could use white vinegar to remove them, as well.
- Sauce stains (i.e. ketchup, barbecue sauce, etc.) – Soak in cold water to remove any excess from the stain and rub with ½ teaspoon liquid detergent (always gently) and a tablespoon vinegar for about half an hour. Then rinse out and apply launder and a stain stick. For persistent stains, soak in enzyme product (i.e. Shout Advanced Ultra Gel Brush) for more than 1 hour (ideally, overnight). Do not hot air dry, iron or use hot water until the stain is completely gone. The same process applies to makeup stains and stains from crayons. The only difference is that you will have to rub the detergent together with cold water every 5-10 mins before washing the garment on the hottest possible setting. Older stains can be treated with vinegar mixed with water applied directly to them. You could also use baking soda, which has many wondrous uses besides cooking, anyway!
- Grass stains – Soak in a solution of cool water and enzyme-containing product for half an hour and launder in warm water. If you see that the stain is not completely removed, soak for another half an hour and then rewash.
Remove stains from delicate clothing:
Use a solution of lemon and salt. Use your finger (or soft cloth) and gently rub. Rinse with hot water and air dry in the sun. For stubborn stains, soak the garment in warm water (2 parts), detergent (1 part), and oxygen bleaching agent (1 part). Wash according to manufacturer’s instructions. Or you could hand-wash the item using borax, regular detergent, and baking soda. Scrub and rinse with cool water before air drying.
Remove stains from jeans
Soak the stain in hydrogen peroxide for half an hour and then wash on a regular cycle. For grass stains, you will need to apply petroleum jelly to the stain. Let it sit for 5 mins and then wash.
Remove stains from cotton and wool garment:
Ink – Apply rubbing alcohol to the stain (use a cotton swab) and then wash.
Oil – Cover with baby powder and let it sit for an hour or more. Brush it off and use Spray n’ Wash or any other stain remover before washing in the hottest possible water.
Lipstick – Blot the stain with a washcloth dabbed with rubbing alcohol.
Red wine – Pour salt on the stain and soak in cold water. Blot and then wash. Or soak with club soda and then wash (if you are out of the home when it happens).
Blood – Blot with club soda, an ice cube or cold water (for fresh stains). Or, use hydrogen-peroxide solution (3%) if the stain is dried.
Remove stains from leather items:
Generally, leather garment is cleaned with a mixture of white vinegar (1 part) and neat’s-foot oil (2 parts). You can also try:
- Aerosol hairspray (works well on persistent stains)
- Non-acetone nail polish remover wipes (they do a great job removing ink stains).
- Toothpaste (scrub in and then wipe it off).
- Lemon juice (1 part) and cream of tartar (1 part). Make a paste and apply onto the stain. Wipe with a clean cloth and repeat for stubborn stains.
Now you know, stain removing is not as difficult as you have imagined, right?
Do you use any other trick to get rid of stains from clothing? We’d love to know!