Saturday, June 2, 2007

Helpful Hints for Stain RemovalBy

By Rachel Olsen

In this life, you will have stains. There is just no getting around it. Fortunately there are now many stain removing products -- such as Carbona or Energine brands -- on the market for use with specific stains. Sometimes, however, you don't have these products on hand when a stain occurs. So try these tips for removing the spot:

- Treat a stain right away because the longer it sets, the more likely it will be permanent.
- As much as possible, brush or blot off any stain material still on the fabric surface before trying to remove the soaked in material.
- Be careful with your rubbing, folding, or squeezing as it can cause stains to run, or penetrate deeper. Vigorous rubbing may also damage fabrics and carpet fibers.
- Read fabric and product labels first, and pretest stain treatments in an inconspicuous area before using.
- Work from the edges into the center on a large stain: by working from the edges toward the center, you will not spread the stain or leave a ring.
- Try to identify the type of stain, and the type of surface it is on as both will determine how you should treat the stain. In order to identify the type of stain, you need to know the difference between greasy and non-greasy stains:

GREASY STAINS Buttered popcorn, lotion, fried chicken, motor oil -- these are greasy stains. While they may not leave a specific color on your fabric, they will leave a dull mark that will attract dirt. For a washable fabric, saturate the spot with a stain removing agent and then launder. You can purchase a general laundry stain remover -- such as Zout, Shout or Oxiclean -- or you can use a dishwashing liquid such as DAWN. Simply smear on stain, let sit for 5 minutes and then launder as usual. Dawn's new Power Dissolver spray for dishes will also work wonders on greasy fabric stains! If the fabric is non-washable, the stain should be spotted and blotted with a dry-cleaning solution. The in-home dryer dry-cleaning kits contain bottles of this solution. It may take several attempts and the fabric should be allowed to dry completely between attempts. Greasy stains may also be removed from non-washables by using an absorbent such as cornmeal, cornstarch, French chalk, or fuller's earth (mineral clay available at most drug stores). Dust the absorbent over the stained area and let it absorb the grease like a sponge. When it appears to be caked and dry, brush or shake off the absorbent. Absorbents are easy to use and will not harm fabrics.

NON-GREASY STAINS Fruit juice, coffee, tea, food coloring and ink are examples of non-greasy stains. A bit of dishwashing liquid is also handy for getting out most of these stains. However, other treatments can be tried for various stains: - Try getting blood out by soaking in milk, or spraying with Windex, or rubbing with dampened table salt. - Chocolate stains may also respond to being soaked in milk. - Ballpoint ink marks are easily erased with a can of hairspray. - Lipstick stains also often come out with hairspray. If your fabric will withstand laundering in hot water, a ½ cup of baking soda along with your laundry detergent may remove the lipstick stain. - For red wine stains, try using white wine to remove, or sprinkle salt on a fresh wine stain and dust off or vacuum once dried. - For candle wax, put the garment in the freezer or chill it using a baggie full of ice to harden the wax. Scrap off as much as possible. Then sandwich the fabric between paper bags or pieces of white cloth and iron. The remaining wax will heat up and adhere to the paper bag. - For grass stains, try pre-treating the stain with rubbing alcohol or white vinegar before washing. One lady I know uses light Karo corn syrup to get grains stains out of her son's white baseball uniform. If you are treating a non-greasy stain on a delicate washable fabric, first sponge the stain with cool water as soon as possible. You may also try club soda in place of water. If sponging doesn't work, soak the fabric in cool water for a few hours. If some of the stain is still present, gently rub some liquid detergent like Woolite or Dove dish-liquid onto the stain and launder on gentle cycle as usual. Finally, some stains like French salad dressing on the carpet will contain both greasy and non-greasy elements. In these cases, you can try rinsing the non-greasy elements out first using water, club soda or diluted white vinegar. Then follow with an absorbent such as cornmeal to soak up the grease elements.