Life can be messy. From sipping some wine to lying on the grass and everything in between, your clothes can get stained from a lot of things, and each one seems more difficult to remove than the last. But don’t be discouraged! Different as they are, all stains can be removed by trying a few variations of the same method. Here are the ones we recommend!
Before you begin
These stain removal hacks work better when the stain is fresh. Before trying any of them, make sure to keep the affected area damp to prevent the stain from drying, and try not to apply too much pressure on the fabric so that you don’t help it bond with the fabric.
Oh, the horror of spilling wine all over your clothes! Thankfully there are ways to take it out before it becomes permanent. Do as we said above, then cover the stain in salt to absorb the red color (you’ll notice that the salt turns pink when you apply it), then let it soak overnight in cold water with an enzymatic detergent—these are detergents made with enzymes and good bacteria that are great for breaking down organic materials; good options are Mister Max’s and Rocco and Roxie Supply Co. Don’t despair if you can still faintly see the stain the next morning, simply let it soak again, then wash it as normal.
Few things in life are as distressing as spilling some candle wax on your clothes, because you immediately think that it will ruin them forever. Don’t lose hope just yet! First, scrape off as much as you can using a dull knife – remember not to press down too much on the fabric. When you’re done, place the stained area between two paper towels and press gently on them with a warm (not hot) iron, replacing the towels frequently after they absorb the wax. Finally, put the stain face down over clean paper towels and dab a sponge damp with stain remover, then let it dry.
Coffee or tea
This is another drink that’s guilty of ruining countless items of clothing. Luckily, it’s not as hard a stain to remove as others are. First, soak the stain in cool water, then apply stain remover or laundry detergent and water with a sponge. Next, depending on what’s best for the fabric, wash using sodium hypochlorite bleach or oxygen bleach. This method is good even for coffee stains that are a little older if you weren’t able to treat it in time; just add some detergent with enzymes to the water where you soak your clothes.
Perhaps the most infamous of all stains, grease can really make a number on any article of clothing. Thankfully, now we know how to defeat it! Rinse the affected area immediately with cold water, then rub the stain gently using a liberal amount of dish soap to help loosen it, and rinse again. Repeat this step a couple of time if necessary. The next step is to apply stain remover directly over the area and rub it gently, saturating it completely before letting it rest for a few minutes. Finally, throw the item into the washer without rinsing off the remover, and wash using the hottest temperature indicated on the label.
Annoying as they are, these ugly stains are surprisingly simple to remove. All you have to do is soak the item in warm water with an enzyme detergent, then gently rub the fabric against itself to remove the stains. Rinse and wash normally in the machine. If the stain is too stubborn, wash it again using sodium hypochlorite or oxygen bleach, depending on what is safe for the fabric.
There are two ways to follow depending on the type of paint on your clothes. For water-based paint, simply rinse the affected clothes in warm water before the stain dries. Let it soak for a few minutes, and launder as normal.
If the paint is oil-based, use a the thinner or solvent recommended on the paint can label – or, if unavailable, use turpentine. Rinse it off and apply stain remover or regular detergent over the stain, letting it sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing again then washing as normal. It’s very important that you don’t let the paint dry at all, or it will be impossible to remove.
There you have them! Be sure to follow the steps we mention at the beginning to stop the offending substance from bonding with your clothes. There are many other substances, but we think these are the most common one that people face once in a while. This is only for clothes, though. If you need some professional stain removal in a housekeeping context, let us help you!