Stains can happen at any time or place and the majority of these occurrences happen when you don’t have the right equipment to treat it with at hand. There are a lot of different home remedies and little myths that are apparently a miracle fix to stains and when some of them might actually work, there are a number of dos and don’ts of stain removal that are just fundamental.
• Deal with it immediately. The longer you leave a stain to set, the harder it is to remove and there is a higher chance of it becoming a permanent stain if left for too long.
• Remove any excess objects. If you spill liquid somewhere, soak up the excess liquid to enable you to deal with the stain. Likewise, if there are objects such as food bits, remove them so you can focus on tackling that potential stain.
• Test it first. Sometimes when you’re trying to remove a stain, you end up just making it worse and one way to make sure what you’re about to do won’t ruin your clothes is to test it on a part of the clothing that can’t be seen. All materials behave differently with different products so especially if you’re using a special cleaning product designed to tackle stains, you need to be sure it won’t damage the item of clothing.
• Dab and blot. Don’t even think about attempting to rub out the stain or apply a lot of pressure on it, it will get worse.
• Check the stain has gone before drying. Drying or ironing clothing with a stain not fully removed causes it to become permanent. If the stain is still there after you’ve washed it, repeat the cycle and even soak it before attempting to try again.
• Read the labels. Don’t try to remove a stain from a dry clean only item yourself. Fabrics like suede leather and fur should just be taken to the specialists ASAP.
• Rub or scrub. Not only does it cause the stain to penetrate deeper into the fabric help fuse both the stain and the material together, but it is also really bad for the actual fabric. By continually rubbing in the same spot, the fibres in the fabric become stretched and damaged as well as possible colour fade.
• Add heat. Heat causes most stains to set; usually lukewarm water at most is a sufficient temperature.
• Mix stain removal products. It’s not good for your health or the material.
It is important to know what material you’re working with as one type of fabric can be a significantly more delicate than another. With each type of fabric, there are a number of different cleaning products that are safe to use. Materials such as cotton are a lot stronger than things like wool. If you are going to use special stain removing equipment, don’t mix brands.
They are designed to be used on their own unless stated otherwise and mixing chemicals can sometimes release toxic fumes.
Cotton: Being one of the strongest materials, it can withstand detergents and light acids such as lemon juice and vinegar without damaging the fibres and colour.
Wool: bleach and detergents damage the structure of wool fabrics so special chemicals designed for application on wool or much weaker methods of stain removal.
Silk: You need to treat silk very carefully and you’re safest option is to just take it to the dry cleaners.
As long as you tackle a stain immediately and follow the basic dos and don’ts, the stain shouldn’t become permanent. Don’t forget to always follow the instructions according to the bottle if using products and make sure you don’t use harsh chemicals on fabrics that can’t handle them.