Stain-Busting Tips to Keep Your Clothes as Good as New

Posted: May 08 2016


A guest post from Helpling.

There’s nothing worse than getting a stain on your favourite item of clothing. But with basic household ingredients and a little know-how, you can banish most stains for good. Here’s our advice for removing stains from clothes.

Soak to avoid setting
The first thing you need to do is soak the stain to stop it from drying and setting. Submerge the stain in cold water, and if it’s not possible to submerge the item of clothing, blot the stain with a wet cloth. Don’t rub the stain at this stage, as this can push the stain further into the fabric and make it bigger. Once the stain has been soaked, you can start to think about how you’re going to clean it off.

What works on different types of fabric?

  • Cotton is generally a durable material. So you can use a number of methods to get stains out of cotton without causing damage. Commercial detergent, mild acidic cleaners (vinegar, for example) and even mild bleaches for whites should be safe for cotton.
  • Wool requires specific wool-safe detergents – normal stain removers can damage the garment. When soaking and drying wool, you need to keep the garment flat otherwise it can become misshapen. For a particularly tough or large stain, it may be better to visit the dry cleaners.
  • Synthetics are best cleaned with standard laundry detergent. Harsher chemicals like bleach should be avoided as they can damage the material. Homemade remedies are also not a good idea, as they can damage the plastics contained within synthetic fabrics.
  • Silk is very delicate, so the toughest of stains are best left to the professionals. For small stains, stick to mild detergents to avoid damage. Soak the whole item of clothing to avoid leaving water marks.

How to clean some common stains

  • Tomato sauce: It’s all too easy to get a little over-excited with a delicious pasta dish and end up with the sauce down your front. If this happens, soak the stained area for half an hour in a few tablespoons of white vinegar. Rinse the garment and then gently rub detergent into the stain. Finally wash on a cool cycle and repeat the process if necessary.
  • Blood stains: Perhaps even more so than other stains, blood needs to be cleaned as quickly possible to improve your chances of getting rid of the stain. Soak the garment in cold water with a few tablespoons of salt. It’s important the water is cold, as warm water encourages the coagulation of protein in the blood, making it harder to clean. Finally, rinse with cold water and wash on a normal cycle.
  • Grass stains: Soak the item of clothing in cold water and laundry detergent with enzymes for thirty minutes. This will loosen the dye of the grass. Then you can wash with a normal cycle to finish the job.
  • Coffee: We’ve all been there. Rushing around, trying to get ready for work and finish the morning coffee at the same time when disaster strikes: you spill coffee down your nice clean top. Rinse the stain immediately with cold water. Then, straight away if you are at home or as soon as possible if you’re out, add laundry detergent directly to the stained area and rub it in with the cold water. Soak for half an hour in the cold water before washing on the warmest cycle safe for the garment.

These tips were provided by Helpling, the online platform for booking vetted and insured cleaners in Sydney and Melbourne.

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