How to Remove Different Stubborn Stains

Some stains can’t be removed just by washing alone. Here are the most difficult everyday stains and how to remove them.

Barbecue Sauce
It’s oily and colored, that’s why it’s difficult to remove. Soak the stained fabric in cold water with dishwashing detergent then scrub the stain with vinegar using a sponge.

Blood and Other Body Fluids
If the stain is still fresh you can use any one of the following: 3% hydrogen peroxide, soda, a paste of cornstarch and cold water, a paste of water and talcum powder. Or soak in cold salt water then rub with liquid detergent. Use half-strength solution of water and ammonia for dried stains.

If it’s still fresh, rinse in cold running water. If the stain is thick, let it dry in the freezer until the stain is hard so you can scrape it off before soaking the fabric in cold water and laundry detergent. If this doesn’t work, dab the area with hydrogen peroxide.

Colored Drinks
Use warm water then rub laundry detergent on coffee and tea stains. Soak for a while before rinsing. You can also mix a solution of vinegar and water or rub a teaspoon of baking soda. Soda and juice stains can be soaked overnight in detergent and cold water. Then machine wash with hot water.

Grease and Oil
Cover the fabric with regular baby powder, salt or cornstarch. Then remove the powder with a paper towel. Wet the stain with water and dishwashing liquid then rub the stain with a brush on the front and back of the fabric. Then wash with laundry detergent and cold water. You can also use shampoo, body bar soap, vinegar instead of a dishwashing detergent.

You can soak colored fabric in milk overnight or mix milk and cornstarch to make a paste. If the ink stain is still wet, pour salt and dab with a wet paper towel. Hair spray, rubbing alcohol, and vinegar also do the trick.

Dab the front and back of the fabric with liquid detergent, or sponge the area with vinegar before washing. You can also soak the item for about thirty minutes. For carpet and upholstery, dampen the area (don’t rub!) with dishwashing detergent and cold water. Use a cloth to blot and absorb the stain.

It’s easier to remove the stain when it’s dry. For lighter stains that haven’t dried it, rinse the fabric under running water. Dried mud can be spot-cleaned by rubbing with dishwashing or laundry detergent. Brush the area in a circular motion then wash.

Acrylic and water-based paints dissolve easily in water. Don’t let it dry completely. Rub the stained area with a sponge soaked in water and detergent. If it doesn’t work, apply nail polish remover then blot with a cloth. Oil-based paints take more time. The paint label usually provides instructions on how to remove the stain. Some use turpentine, but it works only on some types of fabric.

Saturate the stain with salt and lemon juice for thirty minutes before rinsing the fabric. You can also use white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar.

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