While the best way to remove a stain depends on the nature of the substance that has caused it, there are certain rules that apply to the removal of almost all types of stains.
Regardless of the type of stain you encounter, you should take immediate action. If you attend to a stain quickly, it will be easier to remove. Never rub a stain – blot it instead. Repeatedly press a clean cloth against the stain to soak up the stain, rather than rub it into the fabric. If a stain is voluminous, use a plastic spoon to scoop up any mess before you start to blot it. Where possible, turn the stained fabric inside out and soak the stain from underneath with cold running water. The pressure of the water will direct the mess away from the fabric, as opposed to pressing it deeper into it.
Stain-removal sprays can be a useful aid. However, you may need to use these treatments repeatedly before a stain is completely removed. If you are prone to spilling food and drink, keep a stock of stain-removal sprays in your cupboard so that you are not tempted to reach for the bleach. Bleach can harm fabric and can turn white fabrics yellow in colour.
Common Household Stains
The following common household stains require specific stain removal treatment:
Yellow sweat marks – Sweat marks should be soaked in water before being treated with a paste comprising white vinegar and baking soda.
Grease marks – Grease marks can be removed using a PH-neutral dish soap mixed with water. This mixture should be applied to stain by scooping it up with your finger and making circular motions with your finger across the stained area. You can also try this stain removal technique on oil and salad dressing stains.
Red wine stains – Red wine stains should be flushed with water and the area blotted with an absorbent cloth. Salt should then be poured onto the area to absorb any remaining wine.
Blood stains – Blood stains should be soaked in cold salty water and zapped with a stain removal spray.
Ink stains – Ink stains can be removed by dipping a cotton bud in alcohol and applying the cotton bud to the stain.