The holidays are here – and unfortunately stains are inevitable! Whether it is on your tablecloth, carpet or clothing there are ways to get those stains out!
Follow these simple tips to fight stains with common household.
- Check laundry for stains before washing. Many stains need pretreatment.
- Take care of stains promptly. Fresh stains are much easier to remove than those over 24 hours old.
- Blot up any excess liquid with a clean white cloth or paper towel.
- Avoid rubbing. Blot gently to avoid damaging the fabric, taking the color out, spreading the stain.
- Check colorfastness. Test stain treatment in an inconspicuous spot to ensure it won’t remove the color.
- Inspect wet laundry before drying to be sure a stain has been removed. If a stain is still evident, do not dryer dry. The heat of drying sets the stain making it more permanent.
- Be patient! Give any product or procedure used time to work. Further, some stains may require multiple treatments to remove.
- Appropriately treat the stain based on its type. Different stains require different treatment to remove and prevent setting.
- Protein Stains. This includes blood, milk, mud, baby formula, vomit, feces.
Use COLD water! Never use hot water first since it will make the stain more difficult to remove or may set the stain. Fresh stains can be removed by soaking or agitating in cold water. After soaking in cold water, the item can then be washed in warm water with detergent. If the stain is not removed try soaking again
2. Oil Based Stains. This includes butter, bacon fat, mayonnaise, automotive oil, collar stains.
Pretreat the stain with a commercial stain removal product, liquid laundry detergent or liquid dish soap. Wash in water as hot as the item will tolerate, with detergent.
3. Tannin Stains. This includes berries, coffee, tea, fruit juice, alcoholic beverages.
Do not use natural soap (usually found in bar and flake form or detergents containing natural soap). Natural soaps make tannin stains more difficult to remove. Fresh stain can be washed with detergent in hot water, if safe for the fabric.
4. Dye Stains. This includes Kool-Aid, mustard, dye transfer (from bleeding in the washer), grass, felt tip pens.
These can be difficult to remove. First pretreat the stain with detergent and then rinse thoroughly. Try soaking in a dilute solution of all-fabric powdered color safe bleach. Try fresh bleach if the garment is white. If using bleach on a white item the stain should come out within 15 minutes if the bleach is fresh. Bleaching for a longer time may weaken the fabric. Then wash in water as hot as the item will tolerate with detergent.
5. Combination Stains. This includes gravy, ketchup, makeup, candle wax, ballpoint ink.
Remove the oily/waxy portion first by treating with a dry cleaning solvent or stain stick and rinsing the spot in hot water in your sink. Then rub in liquid laundry detergent on the spot before washing.
If you don’t know what the stain is, treat with cold water first. Then follow up with a commercial stain remover and wash as directed on the fabric label. Always follow the label directions on any commercial stain remover used. Give the product time to work ; if directions say to leave on no longer than 10 minutes, be ready to rinse or wash it within that time frame.
Don’t be discouraged if you have a spill over the holidays. Use the above tips to help you remove unwanted stains. For additional stain removal help, use our Quick and Easy Stain Removal Guide or Stain Solutions from the University of Illinois Extension which were both used to provide these great stain removal tips.
And as always, if you need additional help, give us a call at AnswerLine! We are here to help!