Not all stains were created equal and some substances can cause a lot more damage than others. For instance, an ink stain is always going to be more of a stain removal nightmare than a little mud. Stains also vary in how they should be dealt with. Treat a grass stain like a red wine stain, and you’ll have little luck, or might even make things worse.
Spillage and stains are inevitable part of life, and short of walking around stark naked, there is little you can do to prevent your best dress or most treasured carpet getting stained at some point in its lifetime. So, to extend the longevity of your favourite fabrics, here are a few of the worst culprits and how to deal with them.
How to remove coffee stains
On the face of it, tea and coffee don’t seem like the worst offenders. They don’t look as bad as grass stains or a splash of ketchup, but they can be persistent. You might be able to get most of the colour out straight away, but the yellowish rings of coffee stains can linger long after you think you’ve eradicated them. Time is the best treatment – as soon as you spot the spill, rinse it in hot water (providing the fabric is heat tolerant and colour fast).
If you only spot the stain later on, a soak in dishwashing liquid or a bit of dabbing with laundry stain remover should do the trick. For the really persistent yellow rings, the oxidizing agent Borax is your best bet – simply mix two tablespoons with water and pour onto the stain, then wash as normal.
How to get rid of grass stains
The bane of parents on washing day the world over – grass stains. If you have kids, your summer is likely to be full of grass-stained garments, so it’s important to know how to deal with them. Your first step should be to apply your best stain remover or detergent directly to the stain and rub the fabric together. Then wash as normal with other clothes, without removing the detergent.
If that green tinge lingers on, you should treat it with diluted white vinegar. Just make sure that you test for colour fastness first by treating a small corner of the fabric in question.
Red wine stain removal
The red wine stain is a classic stain, and one which has been troubling garments for literally centuries. You’ll hear a lot of differing advice when it comes to getting rid of red wine, but here’s what to do. Salt is what you need. Cover the stain in salt and watch as the salt turns pink, absorbing the colour of the stain. After the salt treatment, you’ll need to let the stain soak overnight in cold water with an enzyme detergent.
If you’re on the move, and soaking isn’t an option, consider buying an on the go stain remover.
There are plenty of brands available, so test out a few and pick the best spot remover for you.
How to remove oil stains
Grease and oil can really frustrate an otherwise peaceful laundry day. As soon as you spot a spill, rinse with cold water. Gently rub the stain with dish soap, rinse, and repeat. Using an oil stain remover (there are many brands available) or detergent, saturate the affected area, leave for a bit, then wash on the hottest cycle (if the fabric can handle the heat).
How to remove ink stains
Ink has got to be one of the most problematic stains. Ink is pretty much designed to stick around, so it’s a very hard stain to eradicate. Hairspray is the go to remedy for ink stains. Simply place a paper towel underneath the stain and spray with hairspray. Let the hairspray settle for a while and then dab with a clean cloth. After you’ve done all you can with the hairspray, wash the garment in enzyme detergent.
How to remove blood stains
Blood isn’t the most difficult of stains, but it can be problematic if you don’t know how to deal with it. The best thing to get rid of blood stains is elbow grease and water. Soak the blood-stained garment in cold water and just rub with your fingers. This is the best way to break down cached on blood, but you might need to change the water as it turns pink.
Getting rid of berry stains
Berries are delicious, but fresh fruit and jams can leave nasty stains. The magic remedy in the case of purplish blots is a mix of equal parts vinegar and dish-washing liquid. Simply rub the mixture on, leave for fifteen minutes, remove with warm water and wash the garment as usual.
As you can see, stain treatment varies according to the nature of the stain, so it’s best to be prepared and know the right remedy. However, in all cases time is against you. Ultimately, the best stain remover is prompt action.