Clothing stains are an inevitable part of life. Whether it’s a splatter of coffee on your white shirt or a smudge of spaghetti sauce on your favorite dress, stains can be frustrating and seem nearly impossible to remove. However, fear not! There are several tried-and-true methods to get rid of clothing stains, which are discussed below from fabrics and stain removal experts.
One of the most crucial factors in successfully removing clothing stains is to act quickly. The longer a stain sits on fabric, the harder it can be to eliminate. As soon as you notice a stain, blot it gently with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove as much of the substance as possible without rubbing, which can push the stain deeper into the fabric.
Identify the Stain
Different stains require different treatment methods, so it’s essential to identify the type of stain you’re dealing with before attempting to remove it. Common stain categories include oil-based stains (like grease or makeup), protein-based stains (such as blood or egg), and tannin-based stains (like coffee or wine). Each type of stain may require a specific approach.
Once you’ve identified the stain, it’s time to pre-treat it. Here are some pre-treatment methods for various types of stains:
- For oil-based stains: Sprinkle cornstarch or talcum powder onto the stain to absorb excess oil. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then brush or shake off the powder. Apply a small amount of dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent to the stain, gently rub it in, and let it sit for a few minutes before washing as usual.
- For protein-based stains: Rinse the stain with cold water, then apply a mixture of salt and cold water to the area. Let it sit for 30 minutes before washing with cold water and detergent.
- For tannin-based stains: Blot the stain with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. Rinse with cold water and then wash as usual.
The Power of Hydrogen Peroxide
George Moore of Sew Fine Cabinets says that, “hydrogen peroxide is a versatile and effective stain remover that works well on various stains, including blood, wine, and grass.”
Here’s how to use it:
- For blood stains: Dab the stain with hydrogen peroxide, then rinse with cold water and wash as usual.
- For wine stains: Blot the wine stain with a paper towel, then soak the stained area with hydrogen peroxide. After a few minutes, rinse with cold water and launder.
- For grass stains: Mix hydrogen peroxide with a small amount of dish soap and apply it to the stain. Gently rub the fabric together, then wash as usual.
“Just be careful with hydrogen peroxide as when placed onto more synthetic materials such as polyester, it can leave a yellow tinge or outline. Do a small test patch on an area of the fabric that isn’t very visible before applying all over a stain.”
Lemon juice and baking soda:
Josh Bluman of JJ Suspenders says that lemon juice and baking soda can also work.
“If all you have in your home is baking soda and lemon juice, then you have a powerful stain remover. For certain stains, this combination can work wonders, and won’t cost you any extra money.”
Here’s how to use it:
- For fruit juice or ink stains: Squeeze lemon juice onto the stain and sprinkle it with a layer of baking soda. Gently rub the fabric together and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing.
- For underarm stains: Mix lemon juice and water, then apply the mixture to the stain. Let it sit for 30 minutes before washing.
“Clothing stains may be a nuisance, but they don’t have to be a permanent problem. By following these five effective methods – acting quickly, identifying the stain, pre-treating stains, using hydrogen peroxide, and harnessing the power of lemon juice and baking soda – you can significantly increase your chances of successfully removing even the most stubborn stains from your clothing.”