Stain Removal

By Sandra Betzina

Don’t let stains send a beautiful garment to the trash. Try these solutions to stains (listed in alphabetical order) and you just may be able to return the garment to your closet. Word of caution, do not expect instant miracles. Repeated treatment or, in some cases, soaking overnight is often necessary. It is best to use a weak solution initially, repeating several times. Rinse out cleaning solution between treatments. Test chemical solutions, bleach or solvent on a seam allowance to check for color fastness and general reaction before applying to the spot. Do not mix chemicals. Chlorine and ammonia form toxic gases when mixed. Remember to work stain remover from the underside of a garment. Work the stain out back through the direction it came.

How To Make an Enzyme Paste:
Combine BIZ, Wisk or AXION plus enough water to make a paste. Rub into stain.

Alcoholic Beverages:
Dry-cleanable fabrics, rub with water and cornstarch. Washable fabrics soak first in cold water and then sudsy water. If stain persists, combine 2 Tbsp. of hydrogen peroxide to one gallon of water. Soak for 1/2 hour and rinse well.

B-B-Q Sauce:
Pat glycerin, a solvent found in drugstores, onto spot. Let sit 5 minutes. Rinse with cool water. Combine glycerin and Shout in equal proportions. Mix. Apply to spot and let sit 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water.

Beets:
Soak bread in cold water. Place over stain. Let bread absorb stain.

Berry Stains:
Apply white vinegar and rinse well.

Bird Droppings: Add 1/4 tsp. of ammonia to 2 Tbsp. dishwashing detergent. Rub in. Rinse off with water.

Blood:
For a small amount, such as a pinprick,wet with your own saliva. Blot. Repeat. Blot. For larger stains in washable garment, flush with cool tap water. Soak in solution of 3 Tbsp. ammonia to one-gallon cool water for about an hour. Rinse. If stain remains, try enzyme paste, soak and rinse. For dry cleanable garments, mix cornstarch and water into thick paste. Spread on blood. Brush off when dry. Repeat.

Butter:
Saturate with enzyme paste and wash in plenty of water.

Candle Wax:
Remove waxed surface with a dull knife. Place the stain between two white paper towels or napkins. Press with a warm iron. If color traces remain, wash using soap (not detergent) and 1-cup baking soda in hottest water safe for fabric.

Cat Urine:
Deep clean area with a carpet shampoo. Rinse with cool water and no chemicals. Spread 2 cups of pet odor neutralizing powder, such as Nature’s Miracle, on area. Use lots! Let sit for 8 hours. Vacuum. Repeat with cool water shampoo and another treatment of Nature’s Miracle if odor remains.

Catsup:
Soak in cool water for 1/2 hour. Apply pre-wash soil remover. Rinse. Apply enzyme paste. Rinse. Add clear vinegar to last rinse.

Chewing Gum:
Put the garment in freezer or apply ice and pry gum from surface with a knife. Soak gummed area in cleaning fluid.

Chocolate:
Washable fabrics, soak in 4 Tbsp. of borax and 2-1/2 cup warm water. Dry-cleanable fabrics, pat mixture onto chocolate and blot. Rinse and blot. If stain remains, spread on a paste of borax and water. Let sit for 1 hour. Rinse.

Coffee:
Stretch fabric over bowl. Pour boiling water through the stain from a 3-foot height. If coffee was mixed with milk, spray with Biz and rinse with clear water.

Cosmetics:
Apply pre-wash soil remover and wash using regular detergent. Rinse thoroughly and air dry. Repeat if necessary.

Crayons:
Remove waxed surface with a dull knife. Place the stain between two white paper towels or napkins. Press with a warm iron. If color traces remain, wash using soap (not detergent) and 1-cup baking soda in hottest water safe for fabric.

Dye:
Colors run from one fabric to another in washing machine, a product called Runaway by Dylon removes unwanted color.

Fingerprints and Scuffs on Cloth Purses and Shoes:
Mix an equal part solution of Dove or Ivory and water. Rub in. Rinse with cool water. Heavy stains may need to be removed by a dry cleaner.

Fruit Stains:
Apply white vinegar and rinse well.

Glue:
Soak glue stain in non-acetate nail polish remover. Rub with Wisk and water mixed in equal amounts. Let sit in warm place for 30 minutes. Rinse with clear water.

Grass:
Try rubbing with detergent first. If stain remains, rub with 1 part alcohol and 2 parts water. Let sit 15 minutes. If stain persists, use chlorine or peroxide bleach. Rinse well.

Grease:
Murphy’s Oil Soap works wonders on greasy stains. If stain remains, try pouring cleaning fluid through the stain. For dry-clean only fabrics, try soaking in trichlorocthane.

Home Dry Cleaning:
Product works for normal soil but spots don’t come out at home. Dry cleaners know a trick or two.

Ice Cream:
On washables, make solution of 1 Tbsp. Wisk and 2 cups of water. Rub into spot and let sit 10 minutes. Saturate with pre-washable soil remover. Let stand for 1/2 hour. Wash. Rinse with a solution of 1/4-cup vinegar to 1-gallon water. For dry-cleanables, apply rubbing alcohol and let sit 10 minutes. Rinse spotted area with mild detergent such as Woolite mixed with a little bit of water. Rinse away residue from spot with cool water.

Jelly:
Make a paste of borax and water. Rub in with toothbrush. Let sit 1 hour. Rinse.

Lint:
Toss item in dyer with a pair of old nylons

Lipstick:
Rub with white vinegar and rinse off. If lipstick is stubborn apply pre-wash soil remover and wash using regular detergent. Rinse thoroughly and air dry. Repeat if necessary.

Liquid Make-Up:
Apply enzyme past and wash in sudsy water.

Mascara:
Apply enzyme past and wash in sudsy water.

Mildew:
Treat as soon as possible with alternating applications of detergent and rubbing alcohol. Expose to sunlight.

Milk:
Apply enzyme paste and soak for 30 minutes. Rinse. Saturate with pre-washable soil remover. Let stand for 1/2 hour. Wash. Rinse with a solution of 1/4-cup vinegar to 1-gallon water.

Mud:
Washables, let mud dry and brush off. Mix solution of gentle detergent such as Woolite and water. Rub in. Rinse. Rub into any remaining stain 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water. Let sit 30 minutes. Rinse. Dry-cleanables, Let mud dry and brush off. Dab on a solution of 1 part ivory liquid and 1 cup water. Rinse by dabbing plain cool water on spot.

Mustard:
Rub in enzyme paste and let sit for 3 hours. Machine wash in Clorox 2.

Nail Polish:
Work in acetone from the underside, blotting with a white paper towel from right side. Be sure to test for fabric safeness on a seam allowance first, since some fabrics will dissolve.

Old Age:
Restore your antique linens and laces to like-new appearance. Fill a large 5-quart pot 3/4 full of water. Bring to a boil. Throw in 20 tablets of denture cleaner and stir until dissolved. Add antique fabric. Reduce to a low boil and cook for 20 minutes. Rinse with clear water. Air dry.

Paint, oil based:
Keep paint from drying by wrapping the item in plastic. Sponge with cleaning fluid, paint thinner or turpentine. Work in detergent. Rinse. Soak in hot detergent solution overnight. Wash. Air dry.

Paint, water based:
Spot wash with cool water and detergent. Work in pre-wash soil remover. Rinse. Apply cleaning fluid on remaining stain. Soak spot in rubbing alcohol. Cover with plastic for an hour. Scrub off. Repeat if necessary.

Pen:
Spray polyester fabric with hair spray. Marks will often disappear. If this fails or for other fabrics rub stain with rubbing alcohol, then saturate with soap and wash.

Pencil:
Marks may sometimes be removed with an eraser or by alternate treatments of ammonia and detergent.

Perfume:
Rub area with glycerin and clean per usual.

Perspiration:
Soak in salt water for 1 hour. Then sponge spots with solution 1 cup white vinegar to 1 cup of water. Rinse well. Sponge a fresh stain with ammonia.

Rust:
A product called Rustiban removes rust from most fabrics. Use with rubber gloves. If this doesn’t work try a solution of distilled water, lemon juice, cream of tartar, and salt for set-in stains.

Salad Oil:
For fresh stains, sprinkle cornstarch on spot and brush off. If stain remains, rub in glycerin and let sit for an hour. Rinse with detergent and water.

Scorch Marks:
Alternate applications of ammonia, detergent, and water. Rinse area well before re-pressing. If this treatment fails, mix a few drops of ammonia with 1 Tbsp. of peroxide. Rub mixture into the stain. Rinse well. For wools, it may be necessary to sand the scorched area with very fine sandpaper.

Shine from Ironing:
Make a solution of hot vinegar and water or ammonia and water. Rub into fabric. Rinse well. If the fabric is a synthetic, shine is permanent since the fibers have melted.

Shoe Polish:
Remove waxed surface with a dull knife. Place the stain between two white paper towels or napkins. Press with a warm iron. If color traces remain, wash using soap (not detergent) and 1-cup baking soda in hottest water safe for fabric.

Spaghetti:
Soak in cool water for 1/2 hour. Apply pre-wash soil remover. Rinse. Apply enzyme paste. Rinse. Add clear vinegar to last rinse.

Tar:
Rub soiled area with ‘Goop’, a waterless soap found in hardware stores. Rinse with cool water.

Tea:
Stretch fabric over bowl. Pour boiling water through the stain from a 3-foot height.

Urine:
Soak affected area with a half-and-half solution of ammonia and water. Let sit 15 minutes. Rinse.

Vomit:
Apply a few drops of ammonia to liquid detergent. Work solution into stain and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse with water. Sponge with a solution of 1/4-cup salt to 2 quarts water. Let sit 15 minutes. Rinse again with water.

Wine:
White and red – Soak area with sparkling water as soon as possible. Cover stain with salt. Stretch fabric over a bowl. From a height of 1 foot, pour boiling water through stain. If stain remains rub area with glycerin. Rinse. For dry-cleanable fabrics, blot area with Woolite. Feather outside edge with Shout. Mix 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water. Let sit 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water.