A-Z Guide to Stain Removal-part 1
Stain removal is the bane of every natural mother’s life! Whether they are grass stains, blood stains or grease stains, here are some home solutions to make those stains vanish without a trace!
- Berry stains-Place fabric under running water to remove any excess berry juice, then launder as usual. Hang the item in full sunlight all day and let the ultra violet rays work their magic! If the stain remains, repeat the drying process after rubbing with lemon juice, then wash as usual.
- Biro stain-rub with a dab of toothpaste before laundering. Wash Biro ink marks off leather, by rubbing gently with milk. This isn’t foolproof, but should do the trick.
- Blood stain-sprinkle the stain with salt, dampening slightly. Allow to work for 15 minutes before rinsing with cold water. It may help to work the paste in, with an old toothbrush.
- Candle wax stain-lift blobs of candle wax from your fine furniture by softening the wax slightly with a hairdryer, before using a rubber spatula or an old credit card to carefully lift it off. To remove candle wax from fabric, take off as much softened wax as you can using the method just mentioned, and then cover the stain with several layers of clean white tissue, heating with a warm ( not hot) iron. Replace with fresh tissues until no more wax can be absorbed.
- Chewing gum stain-this tiresome stuff will lift off washable fabrics if you harden it first with an ice-cube placed in a small plastic bag. Pick off as much as possible and then use grease spot remover to remove last bits.!!!!11
- Chocolate stain- sponge with cold water. the rub gently with a solution of 1 tbsp of borax to 250 ml/ 1 cup of warm water. Rinse well and wash as usual.
- Coffee stain-sponge fresh stains with the same borax/water solution as the one above, then wash as usual. If the stain has set, try rubbing glycerin into it before laundering.
- Collar stain- banish rings around the collar by brushing liquid shampoo on the stain. An old toothbrush is ideal for this job, before laundering as usual. Dry in full sun and allow the UV rays to work their magic!
- Fingerprints- gently erase fingerprints form good quality white paper by kneading a slice of soft white bread in your hand until it becomes doughy. Use the bread as a soft eraser.
- Food dye stains- Get the item under running cold water as quickly as possible. When the water runs clear, place the fabric in an overnight solution of water and detergent, I wouldn’t recommend doing this if the fabric is silk or other delicate fabric. Launder as usual.
- Fruit stain-to remove fruit, wine or blood stains form polished wood, sand finely and apply hydrogen peroxide sparingly tot eh marks. Clean and wax.
- Grass stain- soak overnight in cold water to which just a little vinegar has been added, or try working a little washing up liquid directly onto the stain before washing as usual.
- Grease stain-work a little lard- yes, lard- onto the stain allowing it to stand for 30 minutes before laundering. This method takes courage, try it on an old rag first and see for yourself!
- Grease stain on suede leather- first dust the area with finely ground oatmeal, rubbing gently with a clean, dry cloth. Repeat as needed, brushing when finished.
- Grease stain on wooden furniture-remove soaked-in grease from finished wood furniture by dusting a generous layer of cornflower over the spot and then applying clean white tissue paper over the powder. Place an iron ( low setting) over this, shifting the paper as you work to absorb the grease. Careful not to let the iron touch the surface of the wood!
- Hem marks- remove the mark of an old hem by sponging with a warm vinegar and water solution, rinsing with cold water before ironing.
- Indian ink stain- this is a little more hard core as you will need to dab the area lightly with petrol before washing on its own in the washing machine.
- Ink stain- most ink stains will lift off fabrics that have been soaked in milk as soon as possible after the accident occurs.
- Ink stain on furniture-lift ink stains from a wooden desk with ordinary household bleach. Sand the finish off the wood, then apply the bleach to the stain and allow to dry. Repeat until the stain disappears. Oxalic acid in crystal form ( found in chemists/pharmacies) is also effective. Add the crystals to hot water until no more can be dissolved, brushing the solution over the stain and allowing to dry until the crystals can be swept away. You will have to treat the entire surface of the wood to get an even colour, then stain and refinish for perfect results.
- Iodine stain-rub with lemon juice before washing in warm water and hanging out in the sun to dry.
- Lipstick stain-take a clean, white tissue and carefully dab the lipstick stain until no more lifts off the fabric onto the tissue. Next, place the fabric on a hard surface and put a tbsp of baking soda onto the lipstick stain and, using an old toothbrush, gently brush the stain until the soda turns pink. When you’re sure most of the stain has lifted, empty the soda into the rubbish bin. On the remaining, now rather faint stain, you now add a little more fresh soda, along with a few drops of white vinegar and it’ll start to bubble up! When this chemical reaction has finished add a little washing up liquid and scrub again vigorously, before rinsing in cold water and laundering as usual. Hang in the sun to dry.
Stain removal check-list
- The faster you’re able to work with the offending stain, the higher, your chance of success.
- Prevent stains as much as possible from occurring on precious items by designating messy clothes for messing with!
- Pre-treat the stain and try not to leave it until it has set in.
- If it’s a greasy stain, then cool water is always best for stain removal, so it doesn’t set in and make it more difficult to remove afterwards.
- When using a solution of any kind, always test on a hidden piece of the fabric first , to make sure it won’t harm the material.
- Ensure that you always rinse out the first cleaning solution before trying a different one, as certain chemicals should not be mixed together.
- Read the fabric care instructions on clothing items before attempting serious stain removal. Some fabrics are too delicate for stain removal and should be taken directly to the dry-cleaners.
- Don’t put stained clothing into the dryer-ever!
Mothership Magazine’s relevant articles
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