Prompt, correct action is the key to dealing with most stains. While it seems like a lot of work, cleaning stains properly is the best way to keep your fabrics looking fresh and new for as long as possible.
Always prep your clothes before washing
Always start with the gentlest cleaning tactics first and test any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area before treating the stain. Remember that heat will almost always “set” a stain, so get something really clean before you tumble dry or iron. For non-washable items, remove as much stain as possible, then take to the dry cleaners.
Removing food stains
Food is one of the most common causes of stains in clothing, furniture, and carpet. Here are a few steps to removing food stains on various surfaces:
Fresh stains on washable fabrics:
- Soak in cold water for 30 minutes.
- Put the stained area under running cold water and rub fabric gently against itself.
- Machine wash in warm water.
Dried-on stains on washable fabrics:
- Soak for 30 minutes in a solution of five millilitres (one teaspoon) of liquid biological detergent in two litres (eight cups) of cold water.
- Machine wash in warm water.
Dried-on stains on upholstery:
- Lightly apply a solution of 2.5 millilitres (1/2 teaspoon) mild washing-up liquid in one litre (four cups) cold water, blotting the stain with this using a cloth.
- Blot again with a paper towel then rinse with a cold water spray.
- Put a pad of paper towels over the spot, weight it down and allow to dry.
- If stain persists after washing, don’t dry.
- Soak for a further 30 minutes.
- For persistent stains try using oxygen bleach in the next wash cycle.
Getting rid of grease stains
After working in the garage or the kitchen, grease stains are inevitable. Whether it’s on your apron or your favourite jeans, here are a few handy tricks for getting rid of grease stains.
- Pre-treat with liquid laundry detergent or a pre-wash stain-removing spray applied directly onto the stain.
- Machine wash immediately in hot water.
- Dust with flour, leave for an hour then brush with a soft-bristled brush.
- Silk satin can be handwashed in ice-cold water with mild soap.
- Blot up as much as possible with paper towels before treating.
- Try ironing a fresh stain over blotting paper.
Blood stains on clothes
Accidents happen, and sometimes you need to get blood out of clothes. Once again, the cleaning method depends on the fabric.
- Blot with a clean rag wetted with cold water, or mix a few drops of washing-up liquid with cold water in a bowl and dab onto the stain.
- Leave for 30 minutes, or try an oxygen-based cleaner.
- Wash as usual.
- Spray with cold water and blot with clean white towel.
- Repeat until clean.
- Rub in shampoo until fully absorbed.
- Lather with a stiff brush then rinse with cold water.
- Leave to dry naturally.
- Always use cold water to prevent blood stains from “setting.”
- Be gentle.
- Work from the outside in to avoid spreading the stain.
- Take non-washable items to be dry cleaned.
Removing wine stains
Pesky wine stains are a good way to ruin your night out, as well as your favourite dress or suit. These simple tips will have your clothes looking as good as new.
- Soak for half an hour in a solution of five millilitres (one teaspoon) biological detergent in two litres (eight cups) warm water.
- Machine wash in hottest possible water.
- For stubborn stains try an oxygen-based cleaner.
Get rid of those grass stains
Kids are always covering their new clothes in grass stains. To get those jeans looking new again, here are a few helpful hints.
- Pre-treat with pre-wash stain remover or apply liquid laundry detergent and rinse well.
- Soak in oxygen bleach solution, following the package instructions, then launder as appropriate for the fabric.
- Hairspray is a great tool for removing ink stains.
- Simply spray the stained area, making sure the spray penetrates the fabric, and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Put the item into the wash straight away.
- If stain persists try soaking in chlorine bleach and water, but remember that this may cause irreparable damage to the fabric.
There you go — a bunch of different solutions for dealing with stains on all kinds of fabrics and surfaces. Keep these in mind the next time you spill wine on the rug or have to clean the grass stains from your kid’s school clothes.