The Basics of Stain Removal
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Published by TOP4 Team
Milk, fruit, coffee and other typical stains may seem disastrous, but with a bit of know-how they can often be remedied quickly and easily. Here are some simple steps to remove several types of stains.
Basic Stain Removal Rules
Not all stains should be treated in the same way. As a general rule, the fresher and damper the spot, the easier it will be to remove.
- Every stain remover, whether shopped or homemade, should be tested on an inconspicuous part of the fabric first. If it has no adverse effects on the fabrics or colour, use it directly on the stain. Dab it on undiluted and wash the garment afterwards.
- Try the gentlest treatment first before resorting to stronger remedies (especially those that use ammonia). Take special care of delicate fabrics.
- When removing stain, work from the outside towards the middle. Avoid using hot water as you risk setting the stain (especially if you don’t know what it is). Blow-dry the wet area to avoid leaving an outline.
- Tap water is all you need to remove water-soluble stains, at least when they’re fresh. Treat protein-based stains (blood, mayonnaise or egg) with cold water.
- Treat older stains with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of water and 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Leave the mixture to dry and then rinse.
- If possible, scrape a dried stain with a spoon or soften it with glycerin before treating it.
The ABC of Stain Removal
- Beer stains: Remove with a dilute soap solution containing a little ammonia and then rinse well with water.
- Bloodstains: Wash bloodstains on clothing immediately in cold water – hot water will cause the protein in the blood to congeal and attach firmly to the fibres. Soak dry bloodstains in cold water, then treat with salt water or a solution of bicarbonate of soda.
- Burn marks: Gently rinse burn marks on washable fabrics with cold water, sprinkle them with salt and then dry in the sun. Treat burn marks on delicate fabrics carefully with diluted vinegar.
- Chewing gum: Put the affected clothing into a plastic bag in the freezer so the gum will be easier to chip off.
- Clear glue spills: Try cologne or oil-free nail polish remover.
- Coffee and cocoa stains: Soak while fresh in cold salt water and then wash with a detergent containing enzymes. Dab older stains with glycerin and wash them out.
- Fruit stains: While fresh, hold the soiled item over a bowl and pour a little very hot water onto it. Alternatively, soak it in buttermilk and wash as usual. For dried stains, sprinkle with lemon juice and rinse after 30 minutes. If the stains still doesn’t come out, try treating it with an ammonia solution (2 tablespoons ammonia in 1 litre water) or glycerin solution (equal parts glycerin and water).
- Grass stains: Treat fresh stains with ammonia, but first test the sensitivity of the fabric on an inconspicuous spot. Alternatively, apply a halved potato to allow the starch to dissolve the stain, then wash as usual. Soak older stains on white fabrics in a mixture of one part egg white and one part glycerin before washing.
- Grease stains: Promptly sprinkle with cornflour to absorb the grease and then brush away the saturated starch. You can also try rubbing off the stains using hot water mixed with a little dishwashing liquid to dissolve the grease.
- Lipstick stains: Dab with eucalyptus oil, leaving it soak in before washing. Boil white table napkins, handkerchiefs or face washer marked by lipsticks stains.
- Milk spots: Rinse with cold water before washing. Dab non-washable fabrics with cold water then ammonia and finally with warm water.
- Red wine stains: Apply lemon juice, vinegar or carbonated water, or pre-soak the stained item in a biological detergent for 30 minutes before washing.
- Red dye stains from ice blocks or maraschino cherries: Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and cool water in a spray bottle, spray onto the stain and leave for 30 minutes. Rinse with equal parts vinegar and water. Repeat the treatment if it doesn’t work the first time.
- Sweat stains: Mix 2 tablespoons vinegar with 3 tablespoons water or use ammonia solution.
- Tar stains: Rub with lard before washing the item. For an extra boost, add 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda to the laundry detergent.
- Wax spot: Scratch it off and then place a paper towel under and over it, and iron until all excess wax is absorbed. If necessary, replace the paper towel. Dab any remaining stain from coloured wax with surgical spirit, always rubbing from the outside inwards.
If you need help in cleaning any room in your home, don’t hesitate to call in the cleaning experts in Australia.