From red wine and coffee to paint and grease, there’s no end to the ways we can stain our clothes. Depending on the type of stain and the type of material, you’ll need to use different stain removal methods. Here’s a quick guide to some of the most common stains, and the best ways to get rid of them.
Don’t rub the stain to try and remove it, as this will embed it into the fibres and make it almost impossible to get out. Soak the stain in hot water first and blot away the excess with kitchen paper or an old towel. Pour salt over the remaining stain and let it sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute. It’s important to keep the stain wet until you’re sure all of it has been removed. Pour some more hot water over the salt and blot until the red wine has lifted out of the material.
Permanent ink can be almost impossible to remove - hence the name! If you catch the stain when it’s just happened, dab cold water on it and keep it wet. When you get the chance, try putting rubbing alcohol or hairspray over the ink stain. These can help to break down the oils in the ink. If possible, soak the stain in cold water overnight.
Soak the stain in warm soapy water, mixed with laundry detergent. Detergent is specially designed to break down oil and grease, so this should help remove any excess. If the stain is really set in, cornstarch or talcum powder can be placed on the stain to draw out the oil. Rinse afterwards with detergent and warm water.
Soak the stain in cold water. While it’s still wet, add laundry detergent directly to it and gently rub it with a damp cloth. If the stain persists, mix some white vinegar with cold water and apply it to the stain. Rinse off with more water and blot to lift the stain off the fabric.
Your standard laundry detergent should be enough to remove grass stains, although if it’s a particularly bad stain, it’s a good idea to soak in cold water mixed with detergent for an hour or so before washing.
Unlike fat and protein-based stains, tomato-based stains can be broken down in sunlight, more specifically, UV light. Soak the stain in water and blot with a damp cloth first, before hanging outside in direct sunlight.