Removing stains
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Household stains

Removing common household stains

By: Editor

A stain doesnít have to ruin a garment. With the right steps, even the toughest stains can be removed. The best defense in removing stains is to treat them immediately. Make sure you blot up liquid spills or scrape of solid buildup with the edge of a dull knife. Work from the outer edge to the center if the stain, and donít rub. Always check the care label first, and pretest stain-removal products. If the item is dry-clean only, blot the excess and take the item to the cleaners with in 24 to 48 hours of the stain.

Most stains fall in one of the following categories. With all stains, rinse and inspect the washed garment before drying.


Baby food or formula, baby soil, feces, urine, vomit, blood, dairy, dirt, clay, mud, egg, gelatin dessert.

The solution

Soak fresh stains in cold water. Rub fabric against itself gently to dislodge stains. If stains are old, scrape off the crusted material and soak in cold water with a good liquid detergent. Launder in warm water. Do not use hot water to soak or wash items with proteins stains; hot water may set these types of stains.


Grease or all oil from cars, makeup and food including butter and mayonnaise, collar, cuff soil, deodorant/perspiration, gasoline. The solution: Pretreat with a good liquid detergent. Make sure to work detergent into the stain and let set for 10 to 15 minutes, then wash in the hottest water safe for he fabric.


Beer, coffee, tea, soft drinks, fruit and juice including red berries, perfume, wine.

The solution

First rinse in cool water, then wash fresh stains in the hottest water safe for fabric, with a blood laundry detergent. Use a detergent with bleach or bleach alternative for old stains. Do not use bar soap on tannin stains, it makes them harder to remove.


Dye transfer, fruit blueberry and cherry, grass, Kool Aid. Mustard.

The solution

Pretreat with a good liquid detergent with bleach or bleach alternative, then wash in the hottest water safe for the fabric.


Ballpoint ink, candle wax, chewing gum, crayon, lipstick, shoe polish, chocolate, gravy, ketchup, tomato-based sauces.

The solution

These stains generally involves two components: oil/wax and dye pigment. Remove the only portion first and then the dye portion.

For most other combination stains, rub a good liquid detergent into the stain, then wash in the hottest water possible for the fabric with a detergent with bleach or bleach alternative.

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