It never fails. You get a new pair of pants or a nice white shirt, and the first time you eat something…BAM. You’ve got a stain. Well, Murphy’s Law of stains doesn’t have to turn into a life sentence, at least if you’ve got some stain removal tricks up your sleeve (you know…with the ketchup). Here are some nifty ways to get your clothes looking spiffy again.
1. Chocolate Milk
There’s nothing like a sweet, rich glass of chocolate milk — until it gets all over you. The solution? Quick action and an enzyme detergent, diluted with a little water. Just spray it on and work it into the stain, let it sit for about half an hour, then rinse and repeat. Once you’re satisfied, wash as normal.
Ketchup and mustard are some of the worst stains because they’re so obvious. Next time you get nailed with a stray squirt (and it’ll happen), start with a cold water rinse, then blot with some white vinegar. Once you’ve removed all you can, pre-treat with your favorite stain remover or some diluted detergent before washing.
Raspberries, strawberries, jams and jellies; they’re tasty on toast, but not so great on your lap. Try to get to the stain ASAP, the fill your kettle with water and bring it to a boil. While you’re waiting for that, blot the berry stain with a clean rag, being careful not to rub or press the stain into the fabric. Now turn the item inside-out. Why? Because you want to flush the stain away from the fabric — not rinse it deeper in. Pull it tight over a bowl and set the bowl in the sink, then pour the boiling water over the stain. Pour from as high as you think is safe; it’ll let that boiling water pick up some good momentum.
4. Coffee or Tea
Spilled a little? Bummer! But don’t worry…you really can get that stain out. As always, time is of the essence. But as soon as you can, try cold water first, rinsing from the back to avoid spreading the stain. Do this until the water runs totally clean. After that, use some of your regular laundry detergent, mixed with water, as a treatment. You can also use dish soap. Let it sit for a few minutes, but don’t let it air dry. For old stains, you’ll need to let the garment soak in cold water at this point. If necessary, mix powdered laundry soap with vinegar to make a paste you can rub into the stain.
5. Butter & Oil
Don’t turn to water right away for this…the oils will just repel the moisture. Instead, sprinkle some talc, flour, or cornstarch on the stain — both sides. Then just let it sit for about half an hour. After that, shake off the excess powder and the stain should be gone, or close to it. For the rest, rub in some liquid dish detergent and give the stain a hot water rise. Repeat the process if necessary.
6. Fels Naptha
For all kinds of stains — food-based or not — Fels Naptha is a tried and true remedy. Just wet the stain and work some of this miracle soap into the area and let it sit for a few hours or overnight before laundering. Repeat the process as needed. And no matter your stain remover, don’t put any item into the dryer until you’re sure you can’t remove any more of the stain; the heat will set it!