Getting rid of stubborn stains

Published On: November 15, 2019 09:48 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

You go out for dinner and spill curry on your pretty pastel colored dress. You gave your kid a new set of crayons and now your living room walls are covered in ‘art’. Or you forgot to put the cap back on your pen and there are ink stains in your bag. Stains are inevitable. However, the good thing is most stains can be removed with some basic kitchen ingredients and some elbow grease.

What to do when you spill wine on your clothes

The first thing to do if you spill red wine on your white shirt or any other light colored clothes for that matter is to blot as much liquid as possible from the area with a tissue or another piece of cloth. Then spread some salt over the spill and let it sit for a while. After that you can dust it off or vacuum the area. This, if done immediately, should get rid of red wine stains. 

However, avoid using cold water to get rid of red wine stains. Instead pour boiling water over the stain. You can also use diluted dish wash soap or white vinegar to remove wine stains from clothes. In case you spill white wine, which doesn’t stain as badly as red wine but does quite a bit of damage, use cold water to wipe it off and then blot the area first. Then spray some vinegar solution or dishwashing soap solution and leave it for a few minutes. A soft bristled brush can be used to remove stains before washing the remnants off.

You dropped food on your pants and now there is a greasy spot

In case you have some grease on your clothes, the best thing to do would be to scrub the area with a solution of dishwashing soap or white vinegar and rinse then it with water. You can make a solution of salt and rubbing alcohol in 1:4 ratio and rub the grease/oil off. Similarly, sprinkle cornstarch over the stain and wipe it off after letting it sit for a few minutes. Additionally, coke also works really well to remove grease stains from clothes. You have to leave it for longer than cornstarch though. But you have to wash your clothes after that because otherwise coke too can leave a faint stain. These days, you get detergent pens that you can keep in your purse or bag to quickly swipe over any spills to clear it within seconds.

There’s lipstick on your shirt

Lipstick stains can be a disaster. These stains are hard to get rid off but fret not it can be done. You can either use rubbing alcohol or hairspray to remove lipstick stains. Simply soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and use it to blot the stain. Then use cold water to rinse the alcohol and wash with detergent. Another way to get rid of lipstick stain is by using hairspray and leaving it for about 15 minutes. Then wipe it off with a clean cloth dipped in warm water and toss it in the wash. On old stains, you can use some petroleum jelly or nail polish remover with the help of a toothbrush to scrape the lipstick stain away. However, make sure you rinse the area with dishwashing soap or detergent to remove the stain completely.

Cigarettes have damaged your clothes

If you have a smoker in the house it will inevitably start smelling a bit funny and murky. Cigarette smells linger and are really tough to get rid of. Air fresheners and other such fragrances can only mask the smell for a while, it won’t completely get rid of it for good. Cigarette stains, on the other hand, are easier to deal with. Mix half teaspoon of laundry detergent with some warm water and let the stained clothes soak in it for a while before washing it. If the stain is stubborn, rubbing alcohol is your go-to solution. Alternatively, you can also use lemon and vodka to remove cigarette stains from clothes.

Your kid has made art on the walls, with permanent marker

Removing permanent marker stains is a chore. Try rubbing alcohol or hairspray. Apply either one of these on a clean towel and give your walls a good scrub. You should apply enough pressure and scrub vigorously. Toothpaste mixed with baking soda can also be applied directly to the stained area but this has to be rubbed in with the help of a wet cloth. On fresher stains, nail polish remover is known to work wonders. Those with kids would do well to keep a bottle handy.

Crayons, however, are easier to rub off. Simply mix baking soda with water and give the stained area a good scrub. You can also use diluted dishwashing soap to clean the surface and then wipe it down with water using a clean towel. For wax stains on tables, use a hairdryer. Blow hot air over it until the wax melts and then clean the surface with a paper towel.

The tea/coffee stain: The most common of all spills and stains

You must have spilled tea or coffee on your shirt on your way to work a dozen of times. We all do it. So it helps to know how to clean it without leaving a trace. Dabbing the stained area with cold water is always what we tend to do. But this usually makes matters worse and you are left with a patch. Tea and coffee stain your teeth so you can imagine how difficult it must be to get rid of it from your clothes. What you can do is pour warm water over the stain and then sprinkle baking soda on it. You can also pour vinegar on it and leave it for 10 minutes. Don’t use soap on tea/coffee stains as it will only rub it further in. Chlorine bleach can be used to remove old tea/coffee stains from carpets and upholstery. But make sure you dilute it first.

You had a leaky pen in your bag

Ink stains on fabrics are hard to get rid off. Rubbing alcohol or nail polish removers do work but you have to dab it in and try to scrub it off multiple times till it eventually fades away. Shaving cream and toothpaste are other options that can work. You have to leave it overnight and then try scraping the stain off along with the shaving cream or toothpaste. For tougher ink stains, mix half teaspoon of dish soap, one tablespoon of ammonia and a glass of water and pour it over the stain. Let it sit for 30 minutes or till the stain fades away.

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