How To Eliminate Stains from Clothes and Carpets
Eliminating Stains on Clothing and Carpets
Working quickly to remove stains is essentially most successful tip that you can have. Yet, even some stains that you do not get to very quickly can still be removed.
You may acquire a stain from a place where you least expect it – such as I did when a “little birdie flying high” dropped a blackberry on my shoulder! It soaked into the fabric of my white t-shirt. Fortunately, I was able to react quickly by removing the shirt and immediately soaking it in cold water before running it through a short washing cycle.
Quick treatment is key in avoiding set-in stains.
Stain Removal Rules
There are several things that you should always do to remove a stain successfully.
- You should always attempt to clean a stain when it is still wet or freshly made. These have not set into the fabric or porous material and can be easier to clean than those that are allowed to dry.
- Make sure you always check the label of any clothing that received the stain to make sure you do not do anything that would damage it.
- Test out your stain remover. Always test in an inconspicuous spot that is hidden before using it in an obvious spot. Some fabrics may react to the solution in a poor way, worsening the stain.
- Always blot rather than scrub. When you blot a stain, you are using a sponge or paper product or other absorbent material to absorb liquid. If you rub a stain, you are helping the stain to get deeper into fabric or carpets, making it worse. To do this, just place a towel (clean and white) over the stain, apply pressure and move to clean area as needed.
- If stain has happened on carpets, call a professional if you are unsure of how to move on. The investment of a professional carpet cleaner can save you from having damaging carpets.
Removing Stains from Carpets
The most common area that will get stains is your carpet. To clean your carpet, you will want to follow some basic tips for success. No matter what the type of the stain is, you can get results if you work quickly and efficiently at removing them. Consider these tips:
- Use a clean white terry cloth or paper towel to remove stains. If you use something that has color, the color can transfer to the carpeting.
- Avoid the temptation to rub at the stain as it will only set it further into the carpet fibers and can cause the stain to get larger.
- Always pick up any loose debris from the stain before you actually attempt to clean it. If a cookie is smashed into the carpet, pick up all that you can first. If you do not, you will further rub it in.
- Test your cleaning solution in a hidden area to make sure it will not damage the carpet.
- Work on the stain from the outer edges towards the middle of the stain.
- If you are using a commercially purchased cleaner, you should always follow the products directions.
- Do not use a lot of cleaning product. Too much can do more damage. In fact, it can make the stain harder to clean.
Removing Oil Based Stains from Carpet
If you are working with an oil-based stain on carpeting, things are a bit different. These stains may consist of: butter, cooking oils, salad dressing, makeup, motor oil and so on.
- For example, lift any excess spill (if any) with a dull item, then work to blot out liquid as you normally would.
- If it appears you need a little more help getting up any liquid, use baking soda or cornstarch and apply liberally to the stained area. Gently work in with fingertips. Either of these items will help absorb more of the oil and will not damage carpets. Let sit a bit (about 15 to 20 minutes) then vacuum thoroughly to remove all of the absorbent.
- Mix together 4 cups warm water with 1 teaspoon Dawn dishwashing liquid (non bleach) and swish around to mix. Using a clean rag, dip in the mixture and blot the affected area until stain is no longer visible.
Removing Gum from Carpets
Gum is a real problem, no matter where it is located. If you have gum on your carpeting, follow these tips:
- Don’t spend too much time trying to pick or pull it off as this can damage the carpet fibers.
- Get some ice cubes and place directly on the gum or place the ice cubes in a baggy then set on the gum. Let the ice sit until it has frozen the gum.
- Gently pick the hardened gum from the carpet, carefully pull if need be, working from the outer edge and try not to pull the carpet fibers along with the gum.
- If any gum remains, try using Goo Gone or WD-40. Simply apply to a clean cloth and dab and blot the area. Rinse with cool water and cover until dry.
Removing Stains from Clothing
Just like carpets, our clothes deal with a lot of spills and stains. These are the basics of removing stains:
- Deal with the stain as soon as possible. The less time to sit, the easier to remove.
- If the clothing item is a gentle fabric or marked as dry clean only – take it to the dry cleaner for optimal results.
- For liquid spills, blot (not rub) with clean absorbent material. If it can be done, place a towel between the fabric to avoid staining a clean piece of fabric.
- Some spills may need to have excess material lifted prior to blotting and any stain removal treatment. If this is the case, use a dull edged item like a butter knife.
- Many stains can be removed by rinsing with cold water and washing as usual. Other stains require stain removal treatments.
- If using a new cleaning procedure, test cleaning method in an inconspicuous spot first for colorfastness.
- Do not place clothing items that had a stain in the dryer until you know it is completely gone or you risk setting the stain permanently.
Removing Gum from Clothing
Next to gum falling on the carpet, it has a way of getting stuck on clothing as well.
- If the item is small enough, place it in a freezer bag and place in the freezer until gum has hardened. If the item is large, place ice cubes on the gum as you did with carpets. When the gum has hardened be sure to not let it soften again (it won’t take much time for it to get soft again)
- Carefully peel the gum from the item. Apply stain remover if necessary and wash as usual.
Removing Chocolate from Clothing
I’ve been known to sit on the couch with a box of chocolates watching a good movie. Once in a while (or more) I’ve also been known to get chocolate on my clothes. Thankfully it’s not hard to get chocolate stains out.
Many chocolate stains just need a little pre-treatment and washed as usual. If chocolate lands on delicate clothing, it’s best to take those items to the dry cleaner.
If the chocolate has dried, use a little white vinegar and pour over the stain then gently use a clean toothbrush on the stained area. Let this sit about 15 minutes then rinse.
If any discoloration remains – for white clothing – place a towel under the area then pour a little hydrogen peroxide over the stain. Cover, check every few minutes until discoloration is gone, repeat if necessary. For colored clothing – apply Dawn dishwashing liquid and gently rub the stain, let sit, rinse then wash clothes as usual.