My garments are precious and I'm always looking for ways to remove stubborn stains from clothing so I can keep them looking fresh for as long as possible. Removing stains can be tricky but there are several basic categories of stains, which means they require different treatments. There are many hints and tips I have picked up along the way and these ways to remove stubborn stains are sure to help you enjoy your clothes for years to come.
1. Protein Pests
Stains which are protein based can be a real pain to remove but there are some simple ways to remove them. Protein stains include meats, eggs, milk, blood, perspiration, urine, faeces and grass. Don't fret if you have a garment which has had a protein hit. If for example, your little cherub has soiled themselves and the urine stain is still wet, absorb the liquid by covering it in salt and then rinse. If this doesn't do the trick, use that all-purpose miracle cleaner, white vinegar, or try hydrogen peroxide. There are many biological pre-soak products on the market so soak your garment in one of these before washing. If you're trying to remove blood stains, wash the garment in cold water. These are just a few ways to remove stubborn stains with a protein base.
2. Terrifying Tannin
Tannin stains are mostly caused by tea, ketchup, juice, chocolate, wine and coffee. You may have heard of the red wine removing trick, which involves covering it with salt and then soaking in cold water. As for chocolate stains, these can be removed with an enzyme treatment before washing.
3. Grim Grease
Oil, butter, cosmetics, mayonnaise and motor oil can be removed using a number of methods. There are many products on the market today which are specifically designed to remove these challenging stains. If you can, apply a pre-wash stain remover as soon as possible. Stick or gel products can be left on for as long as a week to remove the stain. Spray and liquid treatments should be applied and then the garment should be laundered as soon as possible after the treatment.
4. Challenging Chewing Gum
Hands up if you have ever had the misfortune of sitting on freshly masticated chewing gum? Yeah, me too. It's disgusting and whilst Singapore banned the sale of chewing gum in 2004 and fines offenders $500 for spitting chewing gum on the street, unfortunately, most of us still have to contend with the possibility of encountering the grimy and gruesome gum every day. If the nasty substance has made its way onto your clothing, rub it with ice to harden it then scrape it off with a blunt knife. There may be a stain left behind so treat with a stain remover and wash.
5. Irritating Ink
We've all been there: a pen has leaked in our pocket or we've had to remove an ink stain from the shirt of our beau. Methylated spirits works a treat on ink stains and can be a applied using a clean cotton bud. Simply wash the fabric as normal after you have applied it.
6. Naughty Nail Polish
It may be no surprise to learn that you can use nail polish remover to remove nail polish from clothes. However, semi-synthetic fibers such as acetate and triacetate (velvet, flannel and suede for example) should be treated with glycerine and then taken to a dry cleaners.
7. Wonderful Washing up Liquid
One tip my grandmother taught me was to use regular washing up liquid on a stain and rub it in before putting it in the wash with the other garments. So far, this has worked for me and thanks to my dear nonna, I have been able to salvage many garments I thought were beyond repair!
If you're in any doubt about the stain, take your garment to a dry-cleaner who will be able to use their stain identifying powers to ascertain the problem and find the perfect stain removing solution. Do you have any hints and tips for removing stubborn stains from clothing?