For many stains, it’s imperative to treat them immediately. Failure to do so could make the stain set in and be especially difficult to remove, whether it’s on clothing, furniture or fixtures.
Being familiar with how to treat common stains may make a big difference in whether or not an item can be saved. Here’s a list of the 8 most common stains and how to treat them:
A combination of cold water, soap, pretreatment stain remover, and a small amount of diluted ammonia will remove blood stains from clothes. Adding a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to blood on lighter fabric can also break up blood particles, but this liquid can have bleaching properties, so it isn’t recommended for treating darker products. A final step is to put your item in the washer. The process can be repeated over and over until most of the blood is removed, but don’t put the item in the dryer until the blood is completely gone. The high heat from the dryer can make the bloodstains set in and become even more difficult to remove.
2. Ink Stains
The secret ingredient for removing ink from clothes is hairspray. Start by placing a paper towel under the stained spot and then spraying the ink spot with hairspray. After you’ve saturated the stained spot, blot it with a clean cloth.
3. Lipstick Stains
Start by removing any excess lipstick with a knife, tamping the existing lipstick with a soft brush, and then adding isopropyl alcohol to remove it. Finally, spray on diluted dishwasher solution.
4. Chocolate Stains
Due to its popularity among little kids (and big kids!), chocolate is a fairly common clothes stain. It’s also especially difficult to remove; fortunately, there are several stain removing methods for chocolate. One includes pre-treating the chocolate stain with something acidic like vinegar or lemon juice to begin breaking up the particles. After about five minutes, rinse the stained spot with water then scrub lightly with a detergent-based soap and warm water.
A small amount of hydrogen peroxide can break up older chocolate stains but may also bleach surrounding areas. Treatment with peroxide or vinegar isn’t recommended for some natural fibers like wool. As an alternative, some people recommend making a paste out of cornmeal and applying it to the chocolate stain after the soap process in order to absorb moisture and grease.
5. Sweat Stains
Whether they are caused by heat, nervousness, or physical exertion, perspiration stains can be damaging to clothes and even unsightly. They’re especially common in the armpits where heavy sweating tends to occur throughout the day. Every fabric has a different best method for removing sweat stains. For instance, crushed aspirin is suggested, as is peroxide. Some suggest sponging the stains with a mixture of salt and water or a mix of lemon juice and water.
6. Rust Stains
The chemical make-up of rust is similar to blood, so some of the same methods can be tried. However, different stain removal methods may be needed for different types of fabric. In general, a good way to remove these stains is to lightly remove stray rust pieces, then apply lemon juice followed by salt onto the stained area.
7. Mustard Stains
The yellow dyes in many commercial mustards can be especially tricky to remove the longer they sit. A blend of dish soap, hot water, and a little white vinegar can begin to break up and remove mustard stains, but the process may need to be repeated several times. Try not to scrub hard; light blotting does less damage.
8. Red Wine Stains
The tannins found in red wine are difficult to remove. Light dabbing and blotting (rather than heavy scrubbing) is recommended to absorb wine that hasn’t set in. Detergent is recommended, and some say that salt sprinkled on the stain can help absorb the wine and prevent further staining.