I’m so bad at doing laundry, as long as soap and water get into that contraption in the basement and swirl around for a while I consider it a success. Between my two dogs, husband, one year old, and myself – stains are commonplace in my house. But the Tides are changing (see what I did there). From now on, if the clothes are good enough to wear, then they are good enough to keep stain free. Here are some tricks for removing tough stains:
The Culprit: Red wine
- The Cure: Sprinkle the stain with salt and submerge in cold water. Blot until the stain is gone and wash ASAP. If you’re in public (and thusly unable to remove your clothes) blot with club soda.
The Culprit: Ink
- The Cure: If the material is cotton, blot with alcohol. If the stain is on polyester, use hair spray. Blot and repeat.
The Culprit: Blood
- The Cure: If the blood is fresh, blot with cold water or an ice cube. If the blood is dried, use a 3 percent hydrogen-peroxide solution. If the blood is of Dexter proportions, forget the shirt and go to the ER.
The Culprit: Chewing Gum
- The Cure: Harden the gum with ice, then gently scrape off with a dull butter knife.
The Culprit: Strawberries
- The Cure: Pour boiling water over the stain until it is removed. You may find it helpful to place the garment over a bowl in order to effectively pour the boiling water over the stain.
The Culprit: Fabric Softener
- The Cure: Dampen the garment and rub with bar soap. Rinse and blot. You can substitute a stain remover for the bar soap.
The Culprit: Grass
- The Cure: Soak the garment in a mixture of cold water and laundry soap (or pre-treater) for 30 minutes. Repeat if stain is not removed.
In most of these cases, applying a stain remover like Zout before washing will ensure the stain is gone for good.
Remember these additional tips when removing stains:
- Blot NEVER rub a stain.
- Pre-treat as soon as possible
- Be gentle when removing stains
- Cold water is usually best
- Repeat the stain removal process until the stain is gone
- If possible, do not let the stain set in.
- A Tide to Go pen, or other portable stain remover is great to stash in a diaper bag or purse.
Like the saying goes, “stains happen.” Luckily, with some quick thinking and a few household cleaning products, stains don’t have to stick around.