Clothing and textiles within our homes are investments and should be treated as such. It can be aggravating to find your favorite shirt stained, or an odd colored spot on the carpet. A few precautions can keep your favorite items looking good as new.
General Laundry Tips
- Always check the recommendation on the stain removal product and the clothing care label for correct water temperature.
- Check your machine’s water temperature and make sure it’s within these ranges: Hot should be 120 to 140 degrees F.; Warm should be 85 to 105 degrees F.; and Cold should be 65 to 75 degrees F.
- If your water is below 60 degrees F., the water is too cold for detergents to work.
Protein based – usually a result from foods and require an enzyme to remove
Oil based – require either enzymes or a solvent-based product to remove
Dye or Tannin based – require a bleaching agent to lighten and remove
Some stains are a combination and require special steps to fully lift. For any unknown stains, never use hot water. More specific methods are outlined below:
- Red Lipstick: sponge with denatured alcohol, then rub with liquid laundry detergent. Let garment air dry before washing. Never use soap based products as they set the stain. Wash in hottest water setting that is safe for the fabric and apply a color-safe bleach if stain is on color fabric. WD-4D is also known to remove this particular stain.
- Candle Wax: First, remove excess wax by placing multiple layers of paper towels and a warm iron to stained area. This will soften the wax and allow it to transfer to the towels. Repeat until buildup is removed. Then, treat the area with a solvent-based laundry product and wash in hot water. If you have trouble removing the wax or if this home remedy seems too taxing, have the item dry-cleaned, since solvent readily removes wax as well as oils and grease. NOTE: If any color remains, rewash using chlorine bleach, if safe for fabric, or oxygen bleach.
- Red wine: Blot the stain with cold water followed by dishwashing liquid and rinse with more cold water. If the stain is still there, repeat the process with vinegar. If that still doesn’t work, use 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, if it is safe for the fabric and the color. A small amount of diluted chlorine bleach on white fabric is also effective. If the stain removal is not satisfactory, take it to a professional cleaner and explain the procedure you have used.
- Adhesive tape, gum, rubber cement: Apply ice or cold water to harden surface; scrape with a dull knife; saturate with prewash stain remover or cleaning fluid. Rinse, then launder.
- Beverages: (coffee, tea, soft drinks, wine, alcoholic beverages) Sponge or soak stain in cool water, pretreat with prewash stain remover, liquid laundry detergent, liquid detergent booster or paste of granular laundry product and water; launder using chlorine bleach, if safe for fabric, or oxygen bleach. NOTE: Older stains may respond to pretreating or soaking in a product containing enzymes; then laundering.
- Fresh Blood: Soak in cold water (do not use hot water as it will set blood stains.) Launder. Dried stains: Pretreat or soak in warm water with a product containing enzymes. Launder. NOTE: If stain remains, rewash using a bleach safe for fabric.
- Deodorant: Pretreat with liquid laundry detergent, launder. Heavy Stains: Pretreat with prewash stain remover. Allow to stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Launder using an oxygen bleach.
- Dairy Products: Pretreat or soak stains using a product containing enzymes. Soak for at least 30 minutes or several hours for aged stains. Launder.
- Fruit Juices: wash with bleach safe for fabric.
- Grass: Pretreat or soak in a product containing enzymes. NOTE: If stain persists, launder using chlorine bleach, if safe for fabric, or oxygen bleach.
- Grease, oil: (car grease, butter, animal fast, salad dressings, cooking oils, motor oils), light stains Pretreat with prewash stain remover, liquid laundry detergent or liquid detergent booster. Launder using hottest water safe for fabric. Heavy Stains: Place stain face down on clean paper towels. Apply cleaning fluid to back of stain. Replace paper towels under stain frequently. Let dry, rinse. Launder using hottest water safe for fabric.
- Nail Polish: Nail polish may be impossible to remove. Try nail polish remover but do not use on acetate or triacetate fabrics. Place stain face down on clean paper towels. Apply nail polish remover to back of stain. Replace paper towels frequently. Repeat until stain disappears, if it does. Rinse and launder.
- Tar: Scrape residue from fabric. Place stain face down on paper towels. Sponge with cleaning fluid. Replace paper towels frequently to absorb more tar and to avoid transferring stains. Launder in hottest water safe for fabric
- Urine, vomit, mucous, feces or stool: Pretreat or soak in a product containing enzymes. Launder using chlorine bleach, if safe for fabric, or oxygen bleach.