6 Common Stains and How to Remove Them

The Belgian chocolate was excellent! However, you got careless and left a streak on your crisp, white linen shirt dress. What should you do?

The safest course is to call your dry cleaners and have them pick up your dress. Do this as soon as you can, so your mistake cannot leave an indelible mark. Of course, if your choice of dry cleaners is as good as it claims, it should be able to get the chocolate out even if it’s way past the “fresh stain” mark.

6 Common Stains and How to Remove Them

That said, wouldn’t it be nice if you could treat common stains at home? This would let you maintain a regular laundry pickup schedule instead of needing to call the dry cleaners for every stain emergency.

If you agree, read on for six common stains and how to remove them.

1.    Chocolate

Are you a mom of sweet-toothed toddlers and children? Perhaps you have a fondness for sweets yourself. You’ll love this tip.

First, get as much of the chocolate out as you can from the fabric. Scrape off the excess chocolate with a spoon or a blunt knife, but be careful not to spread it. If you don’t have a knife or spoon, use your fingernails or the edge of a rigid piece of plastic (e.g., door card, identification card).

Tip: Put your clothing in the freezer to harden the chocolate and make it easier to scrape off.

Next, wash as much of the chocolate stain off with cool water.

If you’re outside and cannot take your stained clothing off, run cold water on the stain for a few minutes; run the water from the inside so it comes out the stained side. If this is not an option, get a paper towel or a handkerchief, dampen it with cool water and use that to dab (not rub) at the stain.

If you’re at home, remove the stained garment and soak it in cool water. Use a stain remover for spot treatment, let it sit for the prescribed period, then rinse thoroughly with cool water.

2.    Coffee

Do you believe coffee makes the world go ‘round? Then you must have had your share of coffee spills. Here’s how to treat coffee stains so you don’t have to give up your favorite brew.

Using a wet cloth or paper towel, blot out the coffee stain. Alternatively, take the stained garment off and run cold water through the stained area for approximately five minutes.

Next, use a stain remover or a liquid laundry detergent for spot cleaning. If you don’t have liquid detergent, make a paste out of powder detergent and water and treat the stain with that. If it’s convenient, leave the pretreated garment to soak in cool water.

After stain treatment, rinse off the stain remover or detergent thoroughly. If the stain remains, rub a paste of detergent and vinegar water (one part vinegar, one part water) on the stained area. After treatment, rinse thoroughly.

3.    Wine

A glass of Syrah is lovely on the palate but horrid on fabric. All those delightful tannins can leave ghastly streaks on your clothes. Therefore, in a wine spill, act fast to get the stain out.

First, run cool water through the stained area. Better yet, soak it in cool water immediately. You can then pretreat the stain with a stain remover.

Alternatively, you can use a wet cloth or paper towel to blot the wine stain. Next, mix one-part liquid dish soap and one-part hydrogen peroxide and dab onto the stained area. Let the solution remain for a couple of minutes, then blot it off with another wet cloth or paper towel. You can also rinse it off with running water.

You can also remove the stained garment, spread a layer of salt on the stain, pour club soda on top, and leave it to rest for an hour. When the time’s up, remove the salt and blot with a towel.

4.    Grease

What should you do with the greasy marks that a pizza, steak, or burger left on your otherwise pristine ensemble?

Run to the kitchen sink, get that colorless liquid dish soap, and squirt it onto the stained spot. Add water and use your fingers or a toothbrush to bring it to a lather. Rinse and follow up with white vinegar if needed.

5.    Lipstick

That red lipstick is gorgeous, but not on clothes.

If you get lipstick on your shirt or dress, put the stained garment (stained side facing down) on paper towels. Next, dampen some more paper towels with 70% or 90% rubbing alcohol and continuously dab it onto the back of the stained area. This will push the lipstick out of the fabric and onto the paper towels underneath.

Note: Test if rubbing alcohol will damage the fabric before you use this method.

6.    Ink

Did your pen vomit ink all over your shirt? Try this method to get the ink out.

Using a cotton ball or pad, apply rubbing alcohol to the area immediately surrounding the stain. This will help prevent the ink from creeping and spreading.

Next, place the fabric, stained side down, onto a layer of paper towels. Pour some rubbing alcohol onto the back of the stained area to make the ink flow onto the paper towels underneath. Replace the paper towels as necessary.

Alternatively, you can put the stained fabric, stain side down, over the mouth of a jar, and pull the garment taut. Next, let rubbing alcohol drip onto the back of the stained area. This should wash the ink off the fabric and into the jar.

Last-Minute Reminders

Remember to take a little bit of your stain remover or treatment formula and apply it to an inconspicuous area of your clothing before you use it for pretreatment. You test it on the inside of the garment or perhaps the back hem (if it’s a shirt you always wear tucked in anyway). Doing this will help protect your clothes (say, your favorite boho dress) from fabric and color damage.

As a rule, it’s best to treat stains as soon as possible so they won’t become permanent. After stain removal and treatment, you can still send your clothes to your local laundry service for a more thorough cleaning.

Image source: Depositphotos

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