Stains are the scourge of laundry day, often turning a routine task into a frustrating chore. In some cases, stains can even ruin valuable clothing and other items. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to ensure that any stains on your items remain a temporary inconvenience rather than a permanent blemish. The appropriate treatment strategy depends on the exact nature of the stain, but by following the tips below you can become an expert at tackling the toughest stains life has to throw at you.
Above all else, the most important step in removing a stain is to pre-treat it quickly. By pre-treating, you can begin to break down the compounds that cause stains before they have a chance to set into the fabric, making it easier to remove with a routine wash. Ideally, this treatment should happen immediately after the stain occurs. If you’re away from home, a small amount of club soda often makes for an effective treatment in a pinch. If prompt treatment isn’t possible, or if you fail to notice the stain until later, try to treat it and let it sit for at least a few hours before washing as normal.
Use the Right Treatment
Not all stains are equal, and they each require different methods to treat effectively. If you need to treat a pesky stain, follow the appropriate method below based on the type of stain you’re trying to remove.
This group includes things such as cooking oils, grease, lipstick and similar greasy or oily compounds. Fortunately, it’s also among the easiest to treat. Liquid detergents are great at breaking up oil-based substances, so simply apply some detergent directly to the stain and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes, or longer for especially heavy stains.
Despite the name, these tricky stains can actually be caused by a variety of sources. This can range from transferred clothing dyes to grass stains to strawberries and other stain-causing fruits and vegetables. For these blemishes, it’s best to soak the affected item in cool water with a detergent that contains enzymes. For set-in stains, apply detergent with enzymes directly to the item and use a toothbrush to work it into the material before soaking.
Coffee, tea, wine, fruit juice and many other beverages contain tannins, which can be extremely difficult to remove. If you can begin treatment as soon as a spill occurs, you may be able to avoid a stain altogether by simply rinsing the affected item thoroughly with cold water and then washing on the hottest setting the item can tolerate. If the stain has already begun to set, you’ll likely need to treat it several times in order to remove it. Treat with an enzyme-containing detergent, but be sure not to use soap since this can cause the stain to permanently set. Allow the stain to soak in cold water for 30 minutes before rinsing and repeating as necessary. Once the stain has begun to fade, wash on the hottest setting that is safe for your item.
Dealing with stains is no fun, especially when they occur on an item that has significant monetary or sentimental value. In some cases, it may require lots of elbow grease and persistence to restore your item to its previous condition. However, by following the simple steps above, you’ll be prepared to tackle the toughest stains that life can throw at you.
216 Pondella Road
N. Ft. Myers, FL 33903