Laundry Stain Removal Guide

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How do I remove Stains from my clothes?

First you must determine what created the stain. Fortunately we usually know what we have spilled, dripped or dumped on our clothes. If you can read the label of the product that created the stain, it should assist you in narrowing down your cleaning method.

Below is a list of some common stains and their removal tips.
 

Oil based stains:

  • Automotive oil
  • Hair oil
  • Meat or fat
  • Butter or margarine
  • Face creams
  • Salad dressing
  • Hand lotion
  • Mayonnaise
  • Machine Grease

Always try to treat an oil-based stain as soon as it is noticed. The longer you wait, the longer the oil and stain have to set into the deeper layers and threads of the fabric.

First lay the stain face up on your workspace and sprinkle liberally with baby powder. Let the powder sit on the stain overnight if possible. If you can not leave it sit over night, at least leave it on for several hours. In the morning, shake off the powder, then with your hand brush the fabric to remove the remaining powder. If the stain is still very visible re-apply powder and let set another couple of hours. Again shake off then brush off remaining powder. This will have absorbed the oil from the fabric.

Now place your spot on an absorbent towel or paper towels with the stain facing up. Next apply a grease cutting dishwashing liquid directly to the spot with HOT water. Fingers or an old toothbrush work well on most fabrics to get the suds into the fibers. The suds will lift any remaining oil from the fabric. Blot with a clean sponge, absorbent towel or paper towels until all of the stain is removed.

Then wash as usual. After washing check the stain. If it is still visible repeat scrubbing with the dishwashing detergent. Do not dry in an automatic dryer until the stain is removed to your satisfaction since drying the garment in an automatic dryer will set the stain.

 

Protein stains:

  • Baby Food
  • Milk or Formula
  • Blood
  • Mucous
  • Cheese Sauce
  • Egg
  • Ice Cream
  • Feces
  • Urine
  • Vomit
  • White glue or paste
  • Mud

Protein stains should simply be soaked and then agitated in COLD water. Hot water will cook the stain into the fabric. After rinsing out the stain you can launder normally.

 

Dye stains:

  • Cherry, Blueberry, etc
  • India ink
  • Felt-tip Marker (permanent may not come out)
  • Tempera Paint
  • Mustard
  • Grass
  • Walnut husk
  • Mercurochrome
  • Color bleeding in the wash (dye transfer)

Dye stains are one of the most difficult to remove.

First, soak the stain with a heavy-duty liquid detergent and let set for an hour or more. Then rinse thoroughly. Second soak the stained garment in a dilute solution of all-fabric powdered bleach.

If the above steps do not remove the stain you can try soaking the garment in a dilute solution of liquid chlorine bleach and water if the clothing is white or light colored.
Warning - bleach damage to colored garments is irreversible. Since bleaching can alter the color of the garment, bleach the whole garment and not just a spot. If the stain is not gone in 15 minutes, then it cannot be removed by bleaching. More bleaching may weaken the fabric.

 

Wax / Oil / Dye combination stains:

  • Ballpoint pen
  • Furniture polish
  • Carbon paper
  • Eye make-up
  • Candle wax
  • Crayon
  • Lipstick
  • Shoe polish
  • Floor wax
  • Tar
  • Pine Resin

First, spray or sponge with dry cleaning solvent like perchloroethylene or trichloroethylene, then rub a heavy-duty liquid detergent into the stained fabric area and rinse thoroughly. Second, soak the stained garment in a dilute solution of all-fabric powdered bleach.

If the above steps do not remove the stain you can try soaking the garment in a dilute solution of liquid chlorine bleach and water if the clothing is white or light colored. See the bleach warning above.

 

Other common combination stains:

  • Barbecue sauce
  • Ketchup or catsup
  • Chocolate or cocoa
  • Hairpray
  • Calamine lotion
  • Face make-up (powder, rouge, foundation)
  • Gravy
  • Tomato sauce

First, rub a heavy-duty liquid detergent into the stain then rinse thoroughly. Second, soak the stained garment in a dilute solution of all-fabric powdered bleach.

If the above steps do not remove the stain you can try soaking the garment in a dilute solution of liquid chlorine bleach and water if the clothing is white or light colored. See the bleach warning above.

 

Before any spot removal process you should test the product on a non-visible corner of the garment.

No method is always one hundred percent successful. Success can be thwarted by the length of time the stain has set, the material and dyes that make up the fabric and the chemicals of the stain itself.


Additional stain removal information:
How to remove dry erase marker from clothing   ,   How to wash out Crayons on clothes   ,   How to remove ink from clothes
 



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