Removing More Summer Stains

baseballWe talked in an earlier blog post about the challenge of summer food stains but there are other stains that challenge us in the summer months. I thought we would address some of these as well.

Pollen – Resist the urge to rub the fabric to remove pollen! Instead gently shake the item to remove as much pollen as you can.  Then use the sticky side of a piece of tape to lift off the remaining particles.  Treat with a pre-treater before laundering.  You may also wash with chlorine bleach, if safe for the fabric or a color safe enzyme cleaner like Biz or Clorox 2.

Tree sap – Spray or sponge with a dry-cleaning solvent like an aerosol Shout, Spray’n Wash or K2R Spot Lifter and rub in some liquid laundry detergent. Allow to work for 10-15 minutes then scrub the spot with hot water in your sink.  Treat again before washing in water temperature safe for the fabric.  You could also try using a cleaning solvent like Goo-Gone or Goof-Off and then washing the garment.

Sunscreen – If the stain is oil based treat as an oil stain by applying a pre-treater and washing in the hottest water that is safe for the fabric. If your sunscreen contains avobenzone and you have hard water you may notice an orange stain on your clothing.  This is caused when the avobenzone oxidizes the iron minerals found in the water resulting in the orange color spotting.  If this has happened, soak in a color safe enzyme cleaner and then wash in the hottest water safe for the fabric.  Make sure the stain is gone before putting it in the dryer.  To avoid this from happening again apply your sunscreen and allow it to dry on your skin before you put on your clothing.  There are also avobenzone-free sunscreens available.

Mud or dirt – Let it dry and scrape or brush off as much as you can. Use a pre-treater or liquid laundry detergent and rinse in hot water in your sink.  Then wash in the hottest water safe for the fabric.  Do not dry until the stain has been removed.

Latex based paint – Treat the paint while wet. Soak in cold water or wash in cool water with detergent.  After paint has dried for 6 to 8 hours removal is very difficult.  After soaking treat with a dry cleaning solvent and rub in some liquid laundry detergent.  Allow to work for 10-15 minutes then scrub the spot with hot water.  Treat again before washing in the temperature recommended for the fabric.

Oil based paint – Again treat this spill while wet. Use a thinner that is recommended for paint.  Use a spot treatment method*(directions below) and thinner on spots until paint is softened and can be flushed away in the washing machine.  Usually turpentine, paint thinner or alcohol work as solvents.

By treating stains promptly you can avoid permanent spots. As always if you have a stain you need help getting out call us at AnswerLine and we will give you some suggestions.

*The spot cleaning method sometimes called “sponging,” confines the stain to a small area and keeps it from spreading. You need absorbent material, such as clean rags or white paper towels, and a dry-cleaning solvent, spot remover, or aerosol pretreatment spray.  Follow these steps:

  1. Pad the working surface with clean rags or paper towels that can absorb stains.
  2. Place the stained area or spot on the garment face-down over the padded surface.
  3. Dampen a small white cloth with solvent.
  4. Use the dampened cloth to pat the stain from the wrong side. Feather the edges of the stain working from the outside toward the center to keep the stained area from getting larger.
  5. As the stain transfers to the absorbent material beneath the fabric, move the stain to a clean place on the absorbent material so the stain has a clean place on which to transfer.
  6. Repeat this procedure until all traces of stain are gone. Launder to remove any ring that might be left by the solvent.
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Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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