When it comes to tough stains and how to treat them, there is one rule to remember – the earlier you find and treat a stain, the better. Once it’s been washed and dried, a smudge of lipstick can become a permanent feature on your favourite blouse. So before you dry your washing, always make sure that the offending mark has been removed, otherwise try another stain treatment process and wash again.
Use a spatula or plastic knife to scrape off the excess. Use a stain remover, and then wash as usual, adding a little vinegar or lemon juice to your wash to help remove stains from white clothes.
Lemon juice is a great natural bleaching agent. So whenever you stain your precious whites, just squeeze some lemon juice onto the spot and leave the garment in the sun. Then wash as usual.
2. Chewing Gum
Place the item of clothing in a freezer bag, seal and place in the freezer for about two hours. Then, put the fabric on a sturdy surface and peel off the gum while it’s still frozen. You can also try soaking the fabric in lemon juice.
3. Red Wine
For red wine stains, blot with a paper towel before it soaks in, sprinkle with salt, and rinse with warm water.
To banish stains caused by sweat, pour vinegar over the discoloured area and rub coarse salt into it (table salt will also work if it’s all you have). Place the garment out in the sun to dry before washing it. You can also use an old, clean toothbrush to apply a baking powder paste to the stain. Simply, let it dry over a few hours and then wash as usual. Repeat if necessary.
To prevent sweat stains from occurring in the first place, add a cup of white vinegar to every wash – just make sure that the items aren’t too delicate.
5. Candle Wax
If the wax has landed on fabric, let it set and then scrape as much of it off as possible using something sharp. Then, place a towel under the fabric and put two pieces of paper towel over the top of the stain. Set an iron at a low to medium heat and iron over the area. The wax should melt and come away from the fabric. This method also works if wax has landed on a table — place a few sheets of paper towel on the mark and iron on top of them. The wax will melt and get transferred onto the paper.
If the fabric is machine-washable, spritz the spot with hairspray and leave it to sit for about 10 minutes. Then wipe with a damp cloth to remove any residue. Pop it in your normal wash and the stain should be gone.
If it’s bolognaise rather than tomato sauce, carefully scoop off as much as you can with a spoon – gently, so you don’t spread the stain. Then use a clean, dry cloth to dab the area. Hold the back of the fabric under cold running water, and flush the fabric through. You can also try saturating the tomato stain with vinegar and allowing it to soak in. Then, wash as usual. Be sure to check that the stain is out before drying the garment.
8. Coffee or Tea
To get rid of coffee or tea stains, soak the fabric in 1/3 cup vinegar mixed with 2/3 cup water. Hang it up outside in the sun to dry and then wash as usual.
As with most stains, soak the fabric in undiluted vinegar for 30 minutes and then wash as usual. If you can still see signs of the stain after washing, try making a paste of vinegar and baking soda. Use an old toothbrush to coat the stain, then wash it again.
As you would with lipstick, you can remove stubborn ink stains by spraying them with hairspray. Then, dab vinegar on the hairspray to remove it as well as the original ink blotch.
Fast action is the best cure for a bloodstain. Pour vinegar over the stain and allow it to soak for 15 minutes before rinsing it with cool water. Repeat if necessary, and wash immediately.
Compiled by Claire Badenhorst