So you’ve got a stain on your brand new shirt. What do you do next?
Here are some guidelines for general stain removal. Regardless of the cause of the stain (grease, mustard, an ink pen) the initial steps in stain removal are almost always the same.
All of the steps are crucial to excellent stain removal, by the way.
1) Deal with stains as quickly as possible.
The longer a stain stays on a fabric, the longer it takes to remove it…if you are able to remove it at all. You run the greatest chance of getting a stain out when you react immediately.
2) Carefully pick off any solid pieces from the stain.
If you’ve dropped chili on your pants, pick off as much of it as possible being careful not to smear and make the stain worse. If it is baby poop…well, use a napkin and do the best you can. It is practically impossible to have effective stain removal if your stain remover has to penetrate solid pieces, such as with food or mud.
3) Using an absorbent paper towel, dab as much extra liquid from the stain as possible.
If it is ketchup or mustard on a fabric, you’ll need to carefully wipe the excess off with a napkin and then see if you can absorb any of the extra liquid with a clean paper towel. Again, be careful not to spread the stain and make it larger.
4) Saturate the stain in cold water.
If you are able to remove the garment, douse the stain with running cold water while gently agitating the fabric. After you’ve removed as much of the stain as possible, hang the item to drip dry until you are able to wash it, apply Blue Dawn Dish Soap to the grease spot or soak the stain out. If you are not able to remove the garment, blot the area with cold water until it is completely saturated. Then deal with the stain immediately when you get home.
Please note: these guidelines are for most fabrics, including cotton, blends and polyester. Fabrics such as silk and wool are more delicate and require a different type of care. As always, use any laundry advice – including Mama’s Laundry Talk – with discretion as Mama is not responsible for any adverse outcomes.