Whether you’ve stained a shirt with coffee or are removing crayon from a little one’s clothes, getting rid of any stain can be a breeze with these handy tips.
Treating Fresh Stains
Remember, before treating a stain, always read the manufacturer’s care label and always test any method on a hidden part of the fabric first. If the fabric can be bleached, add the appropriate bleach to the laundry.
- Alcoholic beverages: Sponge the stain promptly with cold water for 30 minutes or longer. Rub detergent into any remaining stain while still wet. Launder. For wine, use the same treatment. Wait 15 minutes and rinse. Repeat if necessary.
- Blood: Soak stained fabric in cold water 30 minutes or longer. Rub detergent into any remaining stain. Rinse. If stain persists, put a few drops of ammonia on the stain and repeat detergent treatment. Rinse. Launder in hot water, using appropriate bleach.
- Crayon: Rub soap into dampened stain, working until outline of the stain is removed. Launder as usual. Repeat if necessary. For stains throughout load of clothes, wash in hot water using laundry soap and 250 grams (one cup) of baking soda. If coloured stain remains, launder with a detergent and appropriate bleach.
- Felt-tip marker: Rub household cleaner into stain. Rinse. Repeat as necessary. Launder. Some marks may be impossible to remove.
- Grass: Rub detergent into dampened stain or soak in enzyme presoak. Launder. If stain remains, sponge with rubbing alcohol. Rinse thoroughly.
- Gravy or meat juice: If dried, scrape off as much as possible with a dull knife. Soak in cold water. Rub in detergent while wet. Launder as usual.
- Grease/oil: Rub detergent into dampened stain. Launder using plenty of detergent. If stain persists, sponge thoroughly with cleaning fluid. Rinse.
- Ink (from a ballpoint pen): Sponge stain with rubbing alcohol or spray stain with hair spray until saturated. Rub detergent into stained area. Launder. Repeat if necessary.
- Mayonnaise/Salad Dressing: Rub detergent into dampened stain. Rinse and let dry. If greasy stain remains, sponge with cleaning fluid. Rinse. Launder.
- Milk: Soak in cold water. Launder in hot water using chlorine bleach. If grease stain remains, sponge with cleaning fluid. Rinse.
- Paint/Varnish: Treat stain quickly before paint dries. If a solvent (turpentine or trichloroethane) is recommended as a thinner, sponge it onto stain. While stain is still wet with solvent, work in detergent and soak in hot water. Launder. Repeat if stain remains. Stain may be impossible to remove.
- Perfume: Same treatment as for alcoholic beverage stains.
- Scorch: For mild scorch stains, gently rub in detergent and launder. If severe scorching has damaged it, fabric cannot be restored.
- Tar/Asphalt: Act quickly before stain is dry. Gently scrape off as much as possible with a dull knife. Pour trichloroethane through cloth. Repeat. Rinse and launder. Stain may be impossible to remove.
Treating Dried Stains
To remove a dried stain, use the dull edge of a knife or a spatula to lift off as much of a dried-on stain as possible without damaging the fabric. If it won’t budge, soak it first with water or a small amount of solvent to help loosen the soil. If the process is slow, moisten two cloths with the solvent and position the stain between them. Patting the stain with a soft toothbrush also may loosen it.