Dealing with stains

BY CYNTHIA WAIRIMU

We often work around and use products that can very well stain our clothes, such as paint, coffee, wine, dye, and foods as well. Some can easily be cleaned off with soap and water, others, not so much. Before you start to clean, you will need to take some precautions.

First, deal with it as soon as possible. The longer a stain sits on the fabric, the harder it will be to get rid of. It is wise to invest in enzymatic detergents which break down proteins and oxygenated non-chlorine bleach, these help a lot with bodily fluids such as vomit, spit-up, fecal matter, sweat stains, as well as detergent built to fight odors and not just mask them because this will help with organic protein stains but not on blood, breast milk, and egg stains.

Be careful with organic fibers like wool and silk as they can be easily destroyed or dissolved, as they are sensitive. It is important to read the fabric care and cleaning instructions before embarking on removal to preserve its integrity. Below are methods of how you deal with different stubborn stains.

Grass

You can use vinegar to clean this off. Use one-part vinegar to two parts water solution, right on the stain, use a toothbrush to rub it in, and then wash the fabric normally. Vinegar can cause the color on the fabric to run, so test it out first on an inconspicuous part before proceeding. If you have a pre-wash stain remover, that would also come in handy, let it sit for 15 minutes then proceed to clean the garment

Blood

Time is of the essence with this one. Rinse off the blood under cold water and blot it until you’ve gotten rid of as much blood as possible. Follow it up with a bit of hydrogen peroxide and it should fade away. An additional way of getting rid of this is by using a stain remover. 

Sweat

For light-colored clothing, mix baking soda and warm water to create a paste and then rub it onto the stain and let it dry for 2 or so hours, then wash it normally. Dyed clothes should respond well to liquid detergent but read the label well on the detergent to know if it is safe to use on the particular item so it doesn’t run color.

Wine

Treat immediately with warm water, use salt on the stain and let it sit for a while, you will notice the salt absorbing the stain as it changes color, wash off the salt and then dab the stain with glycerin or detergent and avoid using bar soaps as it may let the stain sit permanently. Let it sit on a paper towel. If you cannot get it cleaned immediately, club soda can come in handy.

Tomato sauce/ ketchup

If possible, rinse it immediately under cold running water, dab liquid detergent or liquid soap on the stain with some water. Rinse and wash normally. Methylated spirits can be used for tough stains. Diluted vinegar can also be used if the stain still doesn’t come off.

Ink

Now, depending on the type of fabric, several methods can be used. The most common one is hairspray if it has alcohol in it. Simply place a towel or paper towel under the stain and spray it until it is saturated, the ink will dissolve into the towel or clothing underneath. You can then wash it in enzyme detergent, leave the item soaking in milk overnight and then wash it normally.

Coffee

For fresh stains, running the fabric under cold water should do the trick. However, for older stains, use club soda on the stain and then blot the area with a clean rug until the stain disappears. Otherwise, you can rub the stain with vinegar diluted in water or detergent and wash it off till it disappears. Avoid bar soaps that as mentioned earlier would end up setting the stain permanently.