From the archives of Katie Campbell, Moonlighting Mayor of Domesticity, I share with you yet another chapter of "why do I know this stuff" as a public service
There is no single technique or product that takes care of every spot and spill. If a garment isn't washable, the safest thing is to take it to a dry cleaner; Show them the stain and tell them what it is (if you know). If you wanna make really sure that these treatments don't do more harm than good, test the technique in a hidden area (such as the inseam) before you attempt to slay the dragon.
One last note about chlorine bleach: Bleach is bleach is bleach regardless of branding. Fragrance is the only difference between bleaches on the shelf at the supermarket.
Okay, now that you have your arsenal of stain removing tools
FABRIC FIRST AID
|Stain:||For Washables:||For "Dry Clean Only":|
(butter, oil, mayo)
|Start with a combination solvent. Follow up with mineral spirits or oil solvent if necessary.||Use an oil solvent, then dab with cool water; dry flat.|
(blood, egg, grass)
|Soak blood stains in cold saltwater first (about 4 tablespoons of salt to one gallon of water.) Use digestant. If necessary to remove color, flush with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide solutions, using an eyedropper to apply it.||Use dishwashing detergent, dab with cool water, and blot out excess moisture; dry flat.|
fruits & vegetables
(including juices & jams)
|Start with denatured alcohol. Using an eyedropper, slush with vinegar to remove remaining color, then dishwashing detergent to remove residue.||
Treat the same as for washables, using water sparingly. Even if you can't see the stain, point out the area
to your friendly dry cleaner, since any sugar that remains can caramelize when dry-cleaned.
Note: If you haven't already, build a rapport with a particular dry cleaner owner/staff member -- you can't imagine how many more stains will come out of your clothes when you are nice to your dry cleaner. <wink>
|lipstick||Use a combination solvent to remove grease. Using an eyedropper, flush with vinegar or a mild bleach to remove remaining color.||Use an oil solvent to remove grease. Dab with vinegar to remove remaining color. Dab with cold water. Dry flat.|
|red wine||Use denatured alcohol, then with an eyedropper, flush with vinegar for remaining color. For sturdy fabric, coat area with salt, hold over a bowl or the sink, and pour very hot water through the fabric from above.||Use denatured alcohol. Dab with vinegar to remove any remaining color. Dab with cold water. Dry flat.|
|white wine||Flush with cold water, and wash as you normally would.||Dab with cold water. Dry flat. Even if you can't see the stain after it is dry, point out the area to your friendly dry cleaner, since any sugar that may remain will caramelize when dry-cleaned.|
|tea||Using an eyedropper, flush with lemon juice to remove color, then a stronger bleach if necessary. For sugar, flush with water. For milk, follow up with a combination solvent.||Dab with lemon juice to remove color. For sugar, dab with water. For milk, follow up with an oil solvent.|
|coffee||Using an eyedropper, flush with vinegar to remove color. For sugar or syrups, flush with water. For milk and/or cream, follow up with a combination solvent.||Dab with vinegar to remove color. For sugar or syrups, flush with water. For milk and/or cream, follow up with oil solvent.|
|wax or gum||Use ice to freeze wax or gum, or better yet, place the item in your freezer. Scrape or crack off as much as you can, then use oil solvent or mineral spirits to remove residue.||Same as for washables|
|chocolate||Start with a combination solvent for grease, then follow up with a digestant for protein, if necessary.||Start with an oil solvent for grease. Dab with vinegar to remove color if necessary. Dab with cold water. Dry flat.|
(tomato, ketchup, barbecue, etc)
|Scoop off excess. Use a combination solvent for grease. Then, using an eyedropper, flush with vinegar to remove color if necessary.||Scrape off excess if necessary. Use an oil solvent for grease, then dab with vinegar for color removal if necessary. Dab with cold water. Dry flat.|
|mustards||Flush with ammonia solution, then wash with dishwashing detergent.||Try dabbing with vinegar. You may need the dry cleaner for this one.|
(liquidy salad dressing)
|Use a combination solvent for grease, then, using an eyedropper, flush with vinegar for color.||Use an oil solvent for grease, then dab with vinegar for color. Dab with cold water. Dry flat.|
|soy sauce or tamari sauce||Start with cold water and dishwashing detergent. Using an eye dropper, flush with hydrogen peroxide to remove any remaining color.||Use cold water and dishwashing detergent sparingly, then dab with vinegar to remove any remaining color. Dab with cold water. Dry flat.|
|mud||Shake or scrape off residue. For large areas, presoak in a solution of warm water and laundry detergent. For small areas, use combination solvent. Follow up with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide if necessary.||Carefully shake or scrape off residue. use dishwashing detergent and water sparingly. Dab with vinegar to remove any remaining color if necessary.|
|ballpoint ink||Rub glycerine into area. Let stand 15-20 minutes. Wash with dishwashing detergent or else spray with an inexpensive hair spray. Flush with water.||Rub glycerine into area. Let stand 15-20 minutes. Use detergent and water sparingly. Dab with cold water. Dry flat.|
|felt-tip ink||Flush with denatured alcohol using an eyedropper. Wash with dishwashing detergent.||Rub glycerin into area. Let stand 15-20 minutes. Then, using an eyedropper, apply denatured alcohol. Dab with cold water. Dry flat.|
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Now that you're not seeing spots like you were before, you might want to click on over to Amazon to check out Linda C. Cobb (another diva) 's ideas about laundry stain removal in her bible, Talking Dirty Laundry with the Queen of Clean . This little book is a wonderful guidebook to keep in your laundry room for quick and easy reference without a computer. The Queen of Clean also has some different formulas that may work well as alternates to my Tried N True ones here. Remember: Keep those Amazon orders coming through this portal, and DomestiCity will live on forever!
Many thanks to Martha Stewart (and her 'Living' army), Herb Barndt, Janet Brady, Heloise, Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, SWHS Home Economics Dept, my mother for ideas and formulas, and Nick who made me realize that people really do wanna know this stuff.
© 2001 Katie Campbell
DomestiCity on Laundry® is for informational purposes only. It should not replace the advice of garment or item care labels. DomestiCity® will not be held responsible for your choice to use or not use the information presented on this site.
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