Foolproof Ways to Remove Every Type of Stain on Your Clothes
Just like "literally," "I can't even," and "I'm over it" (or some combination of all three), the phrase "this is why we can't have nice things" has worked its way into common conversation — but it's also the reality of what happens when our high-quality items are stained, broken, or otherwise damaged. Nothing puts a damper on a retail high like the stomach-sinking sight of a glass of red wine or iced latte flipping over — seemingly in slow motion — onto a shirt or pair of jeans that you'd had your eye on for ages. There's no reason that the potential for stains should deter you from investing in the awesome new stuff that you deserve, though.Remedies exist for even the most annoying of fabric blemishes, and you probably have most of the supplies you need already sitting in your pantry! Scroll through for easy fixes to most of your stain woes. Your wardrobe and your wallet will be glad you did.
Coffee: Blot the stain with a clean cloth, then presoak it in a combination of one quart of warm water, 1/2 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent (not laundry detergent), and one tablespoon of white vinegar for 15 minutes. Rinse the stained area with warm water, then blot any remaining damage with rubbing alcohol on a sponge.
Blood: Soak the fresh stain in cold water for as long as possible, then rub the spot with bar soap. For light-colored fabrics, you should also use hydrogen peroxide to work on the stain. Next, re-soak the clothing with store-bought pretreatment stain remover or stain-removal solution, then dab on some diluted ammonia.
Sweat: Has the evidence of your workout become a little too obvious in the armpits of your white tops? Turn your shirt inside out, then dab the sweaty area with full-strength white vinegar. Soak sweat-stained clothes in a combination of one cup of white vinegar and two cups of warm water for at least 20 minutes. Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with one tablespoon of salt and one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide until it becomes a paste, which can then be applied to the sweaty spot. Soak for another 20 minutes, then wash with other whites.
Makeup: We've all been there — a perfect face of makeup destroyed by a shirt pulled overhead, and a formerly clean top totally covered in the remnants of foundation, concealer, and bronzer. Talk about a double whammy! To undo the damage, you can pretreat these makeup stains with shaving cream (you read that right!). Use a clean cloth to blot the marks with shaving cream, which should be able to cut through the oily component of the stain. If the spot is especially stubborn, you can add a dab of rubbing alcohol to the spot too.
Deodorant: Vinegar is the key to removing the pesky powdery stains left on your clothes by solid deodorant. Soak particularly tough-to-clean garments in the acidic liquid for 10 minutes before running them through a machine wash cycle. A cup of white vinegar can also be added directly to the washing machine.
Red Wine: Resist the urge to rub vigorously at that girls' night memory left on your white couch (or any other fabric!). Instead, blot the stain to remove excess liquid. Pull the stained fabric taut, coat the spot with salt, then pour boiling water onto it. Machine wash at the hottest setting to finish the job.
Grass: Pretreat those fuzzy-looking green streaks with a store-bought remover treatment and let it sit for 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a natural solution of water and white vinegar. Lightly scrub the liquid into the material with a toothbrush, then launder the garment with similar fabrics. You'll never use the threat of grass stains as an excuse to stay inside again!
Chocolate: Scrape or blot away excess chocolate with a butter knife or spoon, then flush the back of the damaged fabric with cold water or soda water. (If possible, hold the stain directly under the stream from a tap.) Dab laundry detergent or liquid dishwashing detergent into the stain, and let it sit for five minutes before soaking the garment in cold water for an additional 15 minutes. Rub the stain every 3-5 minutes between your thumb and finger until you see it start to loosen. If all else fails, chocolate stains can often be cleared with help from a store-bought stain remover.
Grease: Rub dish detergent into the stained item to cut the grease, then let it sit. Wash as directed by the label.
Permanent Ink: Use a cotton swab to apply rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover to the stain, then rinse the fabric with water.
Mud: Dirt is easier to remove than mud, so allow the stain to dry before you work on getting it out. Brush away as much of the dirt as possible with a soft brush or spatula, then pat the stain with the back of a spoon to release it. Soak the damaged clothing overnight in a water and detergent solution, then wash it as directed and allow it to air dry. Machine drying will bake the stain into your clothes further, so avoid using the dryer until the dirt is gone.
Do you have any other clever tips for banishing pesky stains? Tweet us @BritandCo!
Alli Hoff Kosik is a freelance writer who is passionate about reading, running, rainbow sprinkles, her lipstick collection, watching embarrassing reality TV, and drinking pink wine. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and (in her dreams, at least) three golden retriever puppies. Listen to her talk books on The SSR Podcast.