From accidental spills to messy work environments, clothing stains are difficult to avoid. Try these 7 suggestions for removing different types of stains and keeping your wardrobe looking its best.
Say goodbye to clothing stains
Quick action is key to stain removal. Lightly dab – don’t rub – the stain with cold water (or an appropriate solvent; see below) as soon as possible after the spill. Place the garment face down on absorbent paper and apply the solvent from the back, as this will push the stain out the same way it came in, rather than deeper into the fabric.
Tea, coffee and fruit juice: Dab the stain with a weak solution of white vinegar, then wash according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the stain has set, use an eyedropper to apply pure white vinegar to the back of the fabric and press it through the garment into an absorbent towel with the back of a spoon before laundering.
- Blood: Rinse the stain in cold water and soak it for 15 minutes in a cool solution of detergent. If the blood has dried, soak the garment overnight in a strong salty solution. In either case, wash as normal after treatment.
- Red wine: Blot the stain immediately with a clean cloth soaked in white vinegar or white wine. If this doesn’t work and the garment is white, try a few drops of hydrogen peroxide (available from a pharmacy).
- Sweat: Crush two soluble aspirin tablets into a cup of warm water and rub the solution into the stain. Allow to rest for two hours before laundering. Sponging on a strong solution of table salt can help to remove dried-on sweat stains.
- Grass: Dab the stain with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol before washing.
- Grease and oil: If there’s a lot of grease on the surface, first sprinkle some baby powder or corn flour onto the stain and then scoop up the oily mess gently with a spoon. Blot away any excess oil and then treat the stain with some shampoo or spray it with a water-displacing spray before laundering.
- Lipstick: Use your finger to work a little petroleum jelly into the stain and then launder the item on the hottest wash advised by the manufacturer.
Don’t let a stain ruin your favourite shirt or dress. With quick action and the tips above, you can eliminate stains before they have a chance to set.