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How To Remove Stains from Clothes

Coffee Stains

A good cup of coffee is one of the best parts of the morning, but spills can happen to even the most careful coffee drinker. Fortunately, coffee stains are relatively easy to remove if you act fast. Here are a couple of tips on how to remove coffee stains.

For a fresh stain:

  • Blot the area with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove as much of the coffee as possible. To prevent the coffee from seeping into the fabric, run cold water from a faucet along the garment's reverse side. Continue this for 10 to 15 minutes, until all of the water flowing out is clear.
  • Then, mix one-quart water with one tablespoon of white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent and apply it to the stain. This helps to break down the coffee's proteins which will make it easier to remove.
  • Allow 15 minutes for the liquid to seep in, then wipe away any excess with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Rinse the fabric with warm water again and allow it to dry, then wash as usual.

For a fresh stain:

  • Soak the stained area in a mixture of one part water and one part vinegar for 30 minutes;
  • Following this, apply a prewash stain remover and let it sit for 5 minutes;
  • Then, wash the item in your regular laundry cycle with warm water.

With a bit of time and effort, those coffee stains will be gone in no time.



Grass Stains 

A day spent playing in the park is a great way to spend some time outdoors, but it can also lead to grass stains. While they may seem daunting initially, grass stains are reasonably easy to remove.

For fresh stains:

  • Apply stain remover as soon as possible and work it in with a soft brush. Let it sit for 15 minutes;
  • Then, toss it into the washer.

For older stains:

  • Combine warm water and an all-fabric bleach and place your garment in the mixture. Let it soak for 30 minutes to an hour, longer if necessary.
  • Check the stain to see if it has lifted; if not, repeat the process.
  • Once the stain is gone, launder the item as usual.



Grease Stains

Grease stains can be a pain to remove, but with the right method, you can get rid of them for good.

To remove a fresh grease stain:

  • Blott the area with a clean paper towel to absorb as much as possible;
  • Apply a liberal amount of talcum powder, cornstarch, or baking soda to the stain and let it sit for 24 hours;
  • After, brush off the powder and vacuum up any remaining residue;
  • Then, spray the affected area with a vinegar and water solution and let it sit for 10 minutes;
  • Scrub, then rinse; 
  • Repeat the process if necessary.

If you're working with an old stain:

  • Soak the garment in a mixture of one part dish soap, pretreatment, or enzyme detergent and two parts water for 30 minutes;
  • After, soak it in warm or hot water for 30 minutes or longer;
  • Wash as recommended by the care tag;
  • Line dry or tumble dry on low heat.

Grease stains are no match for these simple, effective methods.



Ketchup Stains

A delicious burger is not complete without ketchup, but that red sauce can be annoying to get out of clothing.

For fresh stains:

  • Scrape off as much ketchup as possible with a blunt knife or a spoon. You want to remove as much excess as possible, so you don't end up with a bigger mess;
  • Flip your garment inside out and flush out the stain. This helps to loosen and remove the ketchup from the fabric fibers;
  • Add a small amount of dish soap or laundry detergent to the stain and rub it in a circular motion;
  • Rinse the garment with cold water;
  • Use a stain remover if necessary, sit for 5 minutes, then wash regularly.

For old stains, scrape off any crusty residue, then follow the steps for fresh stains. With these tips, that ketchup stain will be gone before you know it.



Mustard Stains

Like its counterpart, ketchup, mustard is delicious but can be a pesky stain. Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to clean a mustard stain.

For fresh stains:

  • Scrape off any remaining mustard with a blunt knife or spoon;
  • Flip your garment inside out and flush out the stain with cold water;
  • Spot treat with laundry detergent, rubbing in a circular motion.

For old stains:

  • Remove any dried mustard residue;
  • Use a prewash spot treatment or stain remover and let it sit for 5 minutes;
  • Gently scrub with a toothbrush or other small bristled brush. Blot up the remaining remnants with a paper towel;
  • Wash as usual.

For carpeting and upholstery, follow the same process as old clothing stains and rinse with water. With some elbow grease, that mustard stain will disappear.



Red Wine Stains

A glass of red wine is the perfect way to relax after a long day, but that doesn't mean you want your clothing to suffer.

For fresh stains, gently blot the stain with a clean white cloth or paper towel. You want to remove as much liquid as possible, so it doesn't spread and set. There are also various ways you can treat a red wine stain:

  • Pour white wine over the top of the red wine stain and blot again. The acidity in the white wine will help to neutralize the colour in the red wine;
  • Make a paste with equal parts salt and water and rub it into the stain. Let it absorb and dry, then brush off. Rinse with cold water;
  • Pour club soda over the stain and let sit up to 24 hours;
  • Cover the stain with baking soda and let it sit for 30 minutes before wiping off or vacuuming.

For old stains, you'll want to first loosen up the dried wine. Next, rub detergent or soap into the stain, and soak in cold water for 30 minutes. Then, apply a stain remover and wash normally.



Blood Stains

Blood stains — both fresh and dried — can be a pain to remove. But with a little perseverance, you can get rid of them for good.

To remove a fresh blood stain:

  • Begin blotting the area with a clean cloth or sponge to absorb as much of the blood as possible;
  • Then, soak the stained area in cold water for 30 minutes;
  • After 30 minutes, apply a prewash stain remover to the area and let it sit for 5 minutes;
  • Wash the item in your regular laundry cycle with warm water and refrain from drying until the stain is gone.

If the blood stain has already dried, you'll need to:

  • Pre-soak your time in a mix of cold water and detergent or a stain-removing product, letting it soak for 30 minutes or longer;
  • Lightly rub the stain with a damp cloth or sponge;
  • Then, launder your garment, as usual, using warm water that is safe for the fabric.

If the stain is still present after washing, you can try treating it with hydrogen peroxide, a mixture of ammonia, or another enzyme-based detergent. Hydrogen peroxide can bleach fabric, so test it on an inconspicuous area of the garment first.



Sweat Stains

Sweat stains are common, especially if you exercise frequently. They can be tricky to remove, but with the proper method, they'll be gone in no time.

Follow these tips for how to remove sweat stains:

  • Mix 1 part water and 1 part vinegar. Apply the mixture to the stained area and let it sit for 10 to 30 minutes;
  • If you can still see the stain, mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 1 part water. Apply to the area and let sit for another 10 to 30 minutes;
  • Once the stain has been treated, wash with warm water.

With these tips, you'll be able to get rid of those sweat stains and keep your clothes looking fresh.



Removing Stains from Delicate Materials

While some clothing or fabrics can handle a little tough love when removing stains, others require a more delicate touch. Clothing like Italian wool blend clothing, twill fabric clothing, or forest cord fabric clothing may require specific instructions for best results.

While the following guidelines help remove stains from these materials, it's always best to check the care label first:

  • Silk: First, check colorfastness by dabbing the affected area with a clean white cloth. If there is no colour transfer, proceed to spot treat the stain with a mild detergent and cool water. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the stain, as this could damage the fabric. Rinse well and pat dry.
  • Wool: Blot up excess liquid or residue. Soak a cloth in white vinegar and dab at the stain. Then, soak the wool in cold water and with detergent. Rub gently and rinse.
  • Twill: First, check the care label. Pre-treat with a prewash stain remover and let sit for 5 minutes. Wash as usual.

Following these tips, you can remove stains from delicate materials without damaging them.



Tips for Preventing Future Stains

Now that you know how to remove everyday stains, it's time to focus on preventing them from occurring in the first place. Here are a few tips for prevention:

  • Wash new clothing items before wearing them;
  • Be careful with makeup and hairspray. Apply these products before getting dressed to avoid stains;
  • Treat stains immediately;
  • Choose the right detergent;
  • Store your seasonal wardrobe properly.

With this new knowledge and a little forethought, you can avoid stains and keep your belongings looking their best.

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