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5 Top Tips How To Remove Stains From Clothes

How do you remove stains from your clothes? What should you do and what shouldn’t you do if you have a stain in your clothes? Making a stain can happen to anyone. If you have a household with small children, chances are that your children come home with stains in their clothes almost every day like grass stains after playing football, mud stains from the playground or jam stains on their T-shirts after lunch. Not only children make stains though. Think about ballpoint stains, tomato sauce stains or grease stains in shirts. Everyone gets stains in their clothes every once in awhile. Do you want to make sure to remove a stain? We have listed the best tips for you, read on quickly!

“Remove stains from clothing: What to do? And what not to do?”

The five best tips to remove stains from your clothes!

  1. Prevent the stain from setting into the fabric and getting worse
  2. Treat a stain directly with water (in most cases)
  3. How do you remove stains from clothes?
  4. All types of fabric that can stain: pick the fabric
  5. All the stains that exist: pick your stain for the right treatment

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What should you do if you have a stain in your clothes? How do you remove stains you’re your clothes? And more specifically, how do you remove stains from white clothing? Do you recognize that after a while, your white T-shirts start to get yellow stains from sweat or deodorant? So how do you remove those yellow stains from white clothing? In this article we will give you the best tips on how to get those yellow stains out of your white clothes. But we also provide you with the best advice for removing the ten most common stains in clothes. Here is how to treat and remove the most common stains.

Tip 1: Prevent the stain from setting into the fabric and getting worse

The most important thing, regardless of which type of stain you are dealing with, is to prevent setting. “Setting” is an informal term that refers to the stained material forming a chemical bond with the fabric. If a stain is set in the clothing, the chances are big that you will not, or only partially, be able to remove the stain. The stain is then often permanent.

In the case of a set stain, the (often cotton) fibres are discoloured by the composition of the stain. Sometimes you will still be able to remove the stain by scrubbing the fabric very hard. However, this will make your clothes wear down quickly. You then scrub, as it were, the discoloured fibres, making the fabric thinner at that spot. Often you will always still see colour differences between where the stain was and the rest of the garment.

So the most important rule or tip for stains is: don’t let the stain set in your clothes!

Tip 2: Treat a stain directly with water (in most cases)

Directly treat every stain with (lukewarm) water, or with a suitable solvent if available (the different solvents are discussed later, however water is always better than nothing).

Avoid direct heat. Heat will only accelerate the setting of most stains. Never put the garment with the stain on the heater, as this will only accelerate the setting of the stain. Try to only use solvents that are at lukewarm, or room temperature.

Avoid pressure. Use the solvents carefully. Pat the stain and soak the stain in the solvent. This will generate much better results than very hard and forceful scrubbing.

If you are at home, it’s pretty easy to deal with the stain. If you are not at home, but outside or in a restaurant, look for the toilet and pat the stain with toilet paper or tissues until the stain is saturated. So first water, the rest comes later. Of course, the stain will still be visible, but at least it will prevent the stain from setting in the fabric and damaging your clothes permanently.

Tip 3: How do you remove stains from clothes?

If you get a stain in your clothes, it is important to prevent it from setting in the fabric. The first thing to do is patting it with (hot) water. However, with water alone, most stains cannot be permanently removed.

Fortunately not all stains are equally hard to remove. Most general stains are fairly easy to remove. Nowadays there are many stain removers for sale in your local supermarket that can remove most stains. It is very important however that you always look at the label or washing instructions in the piece of clothing to see what is and what is not allowed for the specific type of fabric. Wool for example, needs a different treatment than cotton or silk.

Tip 4: The right treatment for every fabric (choose your fabric) What type of fabric or stain needs which treatment?

Which solution is the best for the type of material the stain is on? And what is the best solution for removing a certain stain? Removing a stain from a cotton shirt requires a different treatment than removing a stain from a silk shirt or blouse. In the same way, a grease stain needs a different treatment than a stain caused by food. Using a wrong product or method can lead to damaging your clothing. Each type of clothing and fabric has its own method and instructions.

Always check the label in a garment before attempting to remove a stain. Usually the washing instructions and what the item is made of are listed on there. For example: made of 100% cotton, wool, silk or polyester. If the label contains specific washing instructions, it is advisable to follow these strictly.

Removing a stain from cotton fabrics and clothing

Cotton: can soak, dry and endure heat (although you want to avoid the latter for most stains – warm water is fine, but dry heat will make the stain set). It is possible to bleach white cotton, however this will shorten the lifespan of the garment. Only use chlorine bleaching agents as a last resort and dilute this well before use. The best solvents for cotton are detergents and slightly acidic agents (lemon juice, vinegar, etc.).

Removing a stain from wool fabrics and clothing

Wool: is more sensitive to heat than cotton and must be treated with care. You can immerse it in water, but you will have to let it dry on a flat surface to prevent it from distortion. Only use solvents that are safe for wool and lukewarm (not hot) water. Bleaching agents and acid treatments will permanently damage the wool. Treat the stain immediately with water or wool detergent and take the garment to a dry cleaner as soon as possible.

Removing a stain from synthetic fabrics and clothing

Synthetic fabrics: the treatment varies depending on the material. Rayon and polyester can be washed and scrubbed rougher than cotton, but will be damaged by the use of bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide. It is usually a good idea to clean these fabrics with the use of normal laundry detergent, or with dish soap if the stain is greasy.

Removing a stain from silk fabrics and clothing

Silk: is very temperamental. You can treat the stains with water, but then do wash the garment completely. Dried water droplets on silk will look almost as bad as the original stain. Glycerine-based stain remover is also effective and neutral.

Regardless of what you use, test the stain remover on the inside of the material before you use it on a stain to ensure that the material will not be damaged. Applying water is the only method that you can apply immediately – but pay attention to the temperature.

What types of solvents (and stains) are there?

Tip 5: The right treatment for every stain (pick your stain)

If you know which product you can use to remove a stain, it is still important to act careful. By applying a product incorrectly, you may actually make the stain worse. Always treat the stain carefully and not too roughly. Dabbing gently and soaking is always better than scrubbing with a cloth or your hands.

That being said, you get better results if you follow a number of steps in order to remove the stain from the material.

  • Immediately put water on the stain, even if you are still wearing the clothes. We said it already before, however it doesn’t hurt to repeat it. Make sure the water is at room temperature and pat the stain as soon as possible with some toilet paper or a tissue. Make sure to soak the entire stain, not just the surface or the top layer.
  • When you take the clothes off, wet the stain again and treat the stain with a liquid absorbing product. Salt is the most common and the cheapest, however some people also use cornstarch or talcum powder for a similar effect. This works best on flat surfaces like woven cotton. Applying salt to, for example, a woollen tweed jacket will only cause more problems when you have to scratch it off the fabric again. Let the absorbing product sit for about 10 to 15 minutes before brushing most of and washing the rest with water.
  • Lightly apply a solvent to the backside of the stain so the stain will be driven to the surface instead of soaking further into the material. The application on the inside of the garment also gives you more certainty in case the solvent causes discolorations.
  • Place the garment upside down on a clean piece of kitchen paper. This allows the stain to be soaked into the kitchen paper. Leave the garment upside down on the kitchen paper for at least an hour.
  • Different solvents need different amounts of time to react, so make sure to allow them some time to work. The only important guideline is that you should not allow the solvent to dry up before you wash the garment. Pay attention because if the solvent dries up completely, you can be left with a larger and lighter coloured stain than before.
  • Wash the garment with water to remove both the stain and the solvent. If possible, wash the clothes immediately in the washing machine or take it to a dry cleaner. Read the washing label first, not all types of fabric and clothing types can be steamed.
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