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How To Remove Fabric Stains


The longer you waits, the harder to remove the stain, so act now - identify the stain and pick the solvent. No matter how hard you try to prevent it, somehow stains of all sorts - from candle wax to ink or crayon stains - manage to find their way onto your sofas, cushions and worst, the designer dress!. It's a big job to tackle, but the longer you leave it, the more hardy the stain will be.

Key Steps

  1. Identify the type of stain.
  2. Determine how long it has been there.
  3. Next prepare solvent resistant gloves to protect your hands from strong chemicals.
  4. Decide on the type of brush to use for the fabric affected.
  5. For washables, turn them inside out for cleaning and laying a clean, absorbent cloth underneath.
  6. Apply the right solvent or stain remover to stain. Always read for further instructions. For spray-ons, it's best to wear googles to protect eyes.
  7. Leave the stain alone for the solvent to be absorbed before washing thoroughly.

Common Stains

Candle Wax

Allow the wax to harden and break off as much as possible. Put the affected part of the fabric between two sheets of paper. Apply a warm iron gently over the area and the remaining wax should come off onto the paper. Repeat until wax is gone. Wash with hot water.

Red Wine

Pour a little white wine over stain and mop excess liquid with a cloth. Put in cold water and solvent. Soak for 30 minutes, then wash.

Vomit

Sponge with warm water containing a little ammonia and soak in a diaper wash or sanitiser containing sodium percarbonate. Wash in hot water and detergent.

Tea And Coffee

Rinse out washables with boiling water. Use a drop of diluted lemon juice on the stained area. Dab the stain and work it between hands before washing.

Lipsticks And Other Cosmetics

Apply laundry pre-soak on the mascara, eyeshadow or pressed powder stain. Rub liquid soap on the stained area. Rinse and wash in warm water.

Stickers

Allow sticker lifter to penetrate. Use a soft-edged tool to lift the sticker (or chewing gum). Allow the stain to sit after application. Blot with white cloth and rinse with washing detergent.

Water-Based Inks

Place a paper napkin under the stain to absorb excess ink and blot the area. Repeat until most of the stain is gone, then use ink remover solvent before wash. 

Crayons

Rub WD-40 onto the stain and leave it for a few minutes. Turn the cloth over and apply WD-40 to the other side; again, let it sit for a few minutes. Work dishwashing detergent into the stain on both sides. Wash in hot water with a detergent containing color-safe bleach.

Deodorants And Anti-Perspirants

Apply a laundry pre-soak (spot stain remover) and warm water on the dry stain. Rinse off. If some stain remains, use a bleach containing chlorine.

Mystery Marks

Treat it with cool water and sponge on a liquid laundry solution before rinsing. If stain remains, create a mix of part methylated spirits and ammonia. If colour runs, remove ammonia. As a last resort, use mild bleach that contains sodium percarbonate.

Know Your Solvents

Absorbent

Powder, cornstarch or salt soaks up excess grease and oil stains before solvents are applied. Make sure you check fabric label for dry-clean only and washables.

Bleaches

Remember to check fabric for colorfastness. Use a drop of lemon juice diluted with one part water or a bleach pen for whites before applying detergent on stain. Don't use bleach for colored fabrics.

Detergents Or Soap

Mix with water to dilute the strength of the solvent. Adjust the intensity of the mixture according to the type of fabric. Softer fabrics such as silks and satins require less intense mixtures.

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