I know I should use positive affirmation and not write that I’m clumsy, but the truth of my laundry hamper is, I’m clumsy. I have this knack for getting something on virtually every piece of clothing I own. Whether it’s something I was trying to get into my mouth or just putting on too much deodorant in a hurry, it’s always something. Over the years, I’ve learned that the days you leave your Tide To-Go at home or you’re fresh out of Shout will inevitably be the days that a puddle of cranberry juice will eat away at your brand new tank top. But just because you haven’t restocked your supplies doesn’t mean you can’t be a champion of stain fighting.
I’m sure your mother or the tag of your favorite sweater has already told you all this, but just a reminder that when you’re stain fighting you should:
- Act as quickly as possible.
- Always do a test on a small area before applying any stain remover to assure it’s safe for the fabric.
- Do not, under any circumstance, throw clothes in the dryer until the stain is completely gone, otherwise it will never go away.
With that knowledge in mind, here are the five top offenders of stained-clothing crimes:
1. Red Wine: The next time you spill red wine on yourself, throw some white wine on there, too! The white wine will neutralize the stain and it will vanish. Then just throw it in laundry. If you’re a strictly Cab girl like me and white wine’s as sparse as Brussels sprouts in your kitchen (unless I’m still the only one who never got over that childhood hurdle), blot the stain with club soda or use coarse salt to soak it up.
2. Coffee: For those of us who practically need it to make it through the workday, coffee is bound to get on something. Next time you’ve drenched your blouse with latte, combine cold water, powdered laundry detergent, and white vinegar in a tiny bowl. Mix until it’s a toothpaste consistency then apply to the stain in a circular motion. Rinse with cold water and apply a touch of detergent to the stain before throwing it in the wash.
3. Deodorant/Perspiration: Squeeze a lemon, mix its juice with an equal amount of water, and saturate the stain. Leave the garment in the sun, and together you have quite a stain fighting team! If that doesn’t do the trick, crush up two aspirins in a half cup of water. Pour it onto the stain, let it sit for two hours, and then add a tiny bit of liquid detergent to the stain before rubbing it and throwing it in the wash.
4. Ink: There’s nothing worse than a pocket that’s been destroyed by a sea of black ink, but there is hope! Place the garment and the stained area directly on top of a clean towel. Then use rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover to rub the stain out. As you rub, the ink will be transferred on the towel so make sure to monitor it and move the garment to un-inked sections of towel to assure it doesn’t seep back on.
5. Grass: If you didn’t catch the grass stain quickly enough (you can blot it out with a sponge and water plus a run through the washer with a stain remover if caught in time), you can also use a white-vinegar and baking-soda paste (much like the coffee stain). Rub onto the stain, let it sit for a while, and then wash. If things are really serious, you can also take a window washing solution like Windex and let that soak into the spot for about an hour, then wash.
And if you’re prone to battling these brutes, next time you’re at the grocery store, check out the laundry aisle and nab yourself some OxiClean, a Tide Stain Brush, or Spray & Wash Dual Power stain removers, which work as awesome pre-treatments to garments before they hit the Laundromat. I also discovered a great product called Wine Away, which does exactly that: it makes red wine go away!
If you’ve taken all these steps and the spot persists, I’m sorry to say you’re probably stained for good, but in that case you can always use the excuse I use: stains build character!
Originally published on Intent