How To Remove Stains

There are many types of stains and the ways to remove them are vastly different. So before you do anything drastic in a spate of panic it is advisable to identify the type of stain quickly.

Most stains fall into one of four main types:

  1. Protein,
  2. Oil-based
  3. Tannin
  4. Dye

The rest are usually some combination of the above.

Once you have figured out what type of stain it is, the first thing to remember is to prevent it from setting by applying clean lukewarm water on the stain immediately. Avoid pressure. Use the right solvent if you have them on hand.

Setting” refers to the staining material forming a chemical bond with the fabric and making it almost impossible to remove without causing irreparable to coloured clothing.

Steps to Remove the Stain

1. Determine the appropriate solvent

Before choosing the right solvent you need to know:

1) What will dissolve the stain

2) What is safe to use on the material you’re working with

Usually the label will tell you the material type. If it doesn’t provide any specific instructions, go by fabric type which falls into these 4 general groups:

fabric-types

A word of caution: Test the stain remover on an inside of the garment or seam before applying it to the stain to make sure the material does not react as expected and cause permanent damage.

Cotton – the recommended stain removal for cotton are detergents and light acids (lemon juice, vinegar, etc.).

Wool – is much more sensitive to heat than cotton and more delicate too. Use only wool-safe detergents and lukewarm (not hot) water. Then send for dry cleaning as soon as possible.

Synthetics – it is usually best to clean them with a standard laundry detergent

Silk: is extremely delicate and temperamental. You can treat stains on silk with water, but rather than letting the wet spot dry on its own, rinse the whole garment thoroughly — otherwise you’ll get water spotting, nearly as bad as the original stain. Glycerin stain remover is also effective and neutral.

2. Use the right application method

  • Never apply direct force
  • Dab gently or soak indirectly rather than scrubbing with a cloth or your fingers
  • Apply the solvent lightly to the back of the garment, underneath the stain. Allow it to soak through and “push” the stain back toward the surface so it does not go deeper into the garment.
  • Let the garment rest face down on the paper towel for an hour or so.
  • Rinse before the solvent dries completely.
  • Do a final water rinse to remove both the stain and the solvent.
  • Immediately wash it, either in a laundry machine or send it for dry cleaning.

A final word of advice: Take action immediately when staining occurs. Use a tissue to apply room temperature water on the stain. Let it soak through. After that you can take your time to look for the right solvent / treatment.