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Kicking the Crud Out of Your Toughest Stains

Watching a drop of coffee or juice fall onto a pristine shirt can sometimes seem like a slow-mo burial of a favorite memory.  How many shirts have you thrown out because of a simple stain that you'd been told just wasn't removable?  Step out of the throwaway culture and use these simple fixes to get even the toughest stains out of your favorite fabrics!

Blood

For fresh blood stains, soak in cold water immediately for 30 minutes and then laundry as usual.  If the stain does not lift after washing, soak again, but don’t put it in the dryer! For dried in stains, soak in warm water with an enzyme based detergent before laundering.


Coffee

Run water through the back of a still wet coffee stain to prevent further penetration of the stain. You can run water through until the water runs clear, or begin to rub a bit of dish soap into the stain and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or soak if the stain is already dried in. Soak for 30 minutes in cold water before checking the stain, gently rubbing your finger over the area to see if it has lifted.  If not, soak in warm water for an additional 15 minutes before and spray with your favorite stain fighter before tossing the garment in the washing machine!


Baby Formula

Baby formula is one of those simply fixed stains, fortunately!  Simply pretreat the stain with an enzyme based detergent and soak for 30 minutes up to several hours for old stains. Finally, wash as you regularly would, but consider using the same enzyme based detergent initially used to pull up the stain while soaking.  


Ketchup

Depending on the severity of the stain and the amount of ketchup, carefully remove any excess with a spoon and begin running cold water through the backside of the stain immediately, but do not rub the stain as this can cause it to spread rather than remove.  This should lift the stain enough to launder as usual, but check before drying to avoid setting the stain!


Sweat/Perspiration 

Phew you stink!  Well, your clothes do at least.  Rub the affected areas of your garment with a bar of soap and wash on the hottest setting safe for the clothing in question.  While hot water washing isn’t the best for the environment, the occasional hot cycle might be necessary and beneficial to those sweaty clothes you’ve had laying around for awhile.


Paint

Alright Picasso, you painted a masterpiece and have the stains to show for it. For water-based paint stains simply rinse in warm water while the stain is fresh and launder as usual.  For oil-based paint stains, use turpentine, or a less harsh alternative turpenoid, and rinse. Follow up with a prewash stain remover or bar soap treatment, rinse again, and launder!

 

[Photo: iStock]


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