How to Remove Stains: Stain Removal Guide

It can be very frustrating when a stain ruins a beloved sheet,
blanket, or item of clothing. Here are some quick tips to help
you minimize the damage when a spill does occur.

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How to Remove Stains

Here are some tips to help you with stain removal:

  • Move quickly! The faster you treat it, the better your chances of successful removal.
  • Never use hot water when removing stains from cotton. Stains typically set further, so you should always use cold or slightly lukewarm water.
  • Dab, don’t rub a stain.
  • Always review washing instructions on the label and heed any special care information.
  • Test your stain removal technique on an inconspicuous area first, like the corner of the fitted sheet.
  • Do not attempt to pre-treat dry clean only items – take them directly to the dry cleaners.

Some stains are harder to remove than others. We all know the likely culprits, such as coffee, tea, and red wine. Fortunately, there are a number of common household products that can be used to fight these tough stains. Remember, acting quickly is the key!


Ink

Hairspray is a great way to remove ink stains from cotton. Apply a little at a time and always wash the area well with detergent and water before it dries to prevent residue from forming. If you don’t have hairspray on hand, try nail polish remover.


Blood

The most important first step when removing a blood stain is soaking the stained area in cold water mixed with salt (1 teaspoon per cup) for at least an hour until the stain turns a faded brown color. Salt can potentially cause some colors to fade, so, feel free to just use cold water if that is a concern. After soaking, apply a pre-wash stain remover to the affected area and rinse. If the stain remains, soak it in a solution of ammonia and cold water. Another effective remedy is applying a paste made out of meat tenderizer. Work the paste in gently and rinse. The meat tenderizer breaks down the proteins in the blood which can help release them from the fabric.


Makeup & lipstick

Dab using dishwashing liquid in cold water. When the stain disappears, wash it as you normally do and check again before putting it in the dryer. Lipstick is best removed using oil-based cleaning solvents. Once applied, let the stain dry, scrape off the residue and wash as usual. Again, double check the stain area before putting it in the dryer. You may need to repeat the process and wash again.


Tea & coffee

The key to removing these stains is acting immediately! Run or soak cold water on the stain as soon as possible, then wash. Another effective method is to pour enough salt on the stain to soak up the liquid. Once you have managed the bulk of the stain, soak in cold water for an hour and wash as usual.


Red wine

Combine 1 teaspoon laundry soap or pretreatment (or dish soap) and 1 cup hydrogen peroxide in a small bowl. Soak a clean sponge in the mixture, squeeze it halfway dry, then gently dab the stain. Wash in cool water and air dry if the fabric is machine-washable.


May all your whites be white and all your colors bright!

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