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Stain Removal Guide For All Types Of Stains

PA Dancer

A-List Customer
North East Pennsylvania
Removing stains from clothing and fabrics
from: http://www.toledoaasr.com/Kitchen/printstains.htm

Alcoholic Beverages - Pre-soak or sponge fresh stains immediately with cold water, then with cold water and glycerin. Rinse with vinegar for a few seconds if stain remains.

Blood - Pre-soak in cold or warm water water at least 30 minutes. If stain remains, soak in lukewarm ammonia water (3 Tbs. per Gallon of water). Rinse. If stain remains, work in detergent and wash, using bleach safe for fabric.
Blood stains, if fresh, may be removed by washing in cold water. If hard and dry steep for a few hours in cold water, to which add a pinch of baking soda. Washing and bleaching will finish the process. Never put blood stains in hot water.

Candle Wax - Use dull knife to scrape off as much wax as possible. Place fabric between two blotters or facial tissues and press with warm iron. Remove color stains with non-flammable dry cleaning solvent. Wash with detergent in the hottest water safe for fabric.

Chewing Gum - Rub area with ice, then scrape off with dull blade. Sponge with dry cleaning solvent; allow to air dry. Wash in detergent and hottest water safe for fabric.
Try egg white that's said to remove chewing gum from anything. Rub the egg white on the gum and it will remove it from cloth, hair or hands without leaving a spot.
Chewing gum may be removed from different materials by soaking them in turpentine.

Chocolate and Cocoa - Pre-soak stain in cold or warm water. Wash in hot water with detergent. Remove any grease stains with dry cleaning solvent. If color remains, sponge with hydrogen peroxide, wash again.

Coffee - Sponge or soak with cold water as soon as possible. Wash using detergent and bleach safe for fabric. Remove cream grease stain with non-flammable dry cleaning solvent. Wash again.
To remove coffee, tea or cocoa stains, use glycerin. A fresh stain can be removed by gentle rubbing; if stain is old, soak in the glycerin for sometime.

Crayon - Scrape with dull blade. Wash in hottest water safe for fabric with detergent and 1-2 cups of baking soda. If full load is crayon stained, take to cleaners or coin-operated dry cleaning machines.

Deodorants - Sponge area with white vinegar. If stain remains, soak with denatured alcohol. Wash with detergent in hottest water safe for fabric.

Dye - If dye transfers from a non-colorfast item during washing, immediately bleach discolored items. Repeat as necessary before drying. On whites use color remover.
NOTE: Do not use color remover in washer, or around washer and dryer. It will damage the finish of them.

Egg - Scrape with dull blade. Pre-soak in cold or warm water for at least 30 minutes. Remove remaining with dry cleaning solvent. Wash in hottest water safe for fabric with detergent.
Egg stains on washable fabrics may be removed by soaking the garment in cold water for a short time before washing with soap and water in the usual way.

Fruit and Fruit Juices - Sponge with cold water immediately. Pre-soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Wash with detergent and bleach safe for fabric.
While fruit stain is still moist, cover it with powdered starch. When dry, rinse the article and cold water and wash in the ordinary way.
Fruit stains may be removed with a strong solution of borax, or the stain moistened with water, rubbed with borax, and boiling water poured through.

Glue - Sponge vinegar on spot saturating spot, let sit for 20 minutes. Scrape with dull knife. Sponge again, let sit then wash in hottest water safe for fabric.

Grass - Pre-soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Rinse. Pre-treat with detergent. Wash using detergent, hot water and bleach safe for fabric. On acetate and colored fabrics, use 1 part of alcohol to 2 parts water.
For grass stains use cold water and no soap. Alcohol or ether may be used if the material is unwashable.

Grease - Sponge spot with a mixture of 1Tbs. Salt to 4 Tbs. rubbing alcohol. Wash in hottest water safe for fabric. If spot still remains, do not dry, use dry cleaning solvent and re-wash.
Grease spots generally may be removed with hot water and soap. If the stains have become fixed by long standing, the may be removed by chloroform, ether or naphtha. If any of these chemical are used, keep them at a safe distance from fire or artificial light.
To remove grease from silk, lay the silk on a table on top of a clean white cloth. cover the spot thickly with powdered French chalk. On this lay a sheet of blotting paper and over that a moderately hot iron. If the grease does not disappear at once, repeat process.

Grease/Oil/Tar - Method 1: Use powder or chalk absorbents to remove as much grease as possible. Pretreat with detergent or non-flammable dry cleaning solvent, or liquid shampoo. Wash in hottest water safe for fabric, using plenty of detergent. Method 2: Rub spot with lard and sponge with a non-flammable dry cleaning solvent. Wash in hottest water and detergent safe for fabric.

Ink-Ball Point Pen - Pour denatured alcohol through stain. Rub in petroleum jelly. Sponge with non-flammable dry cleaning solvent. Soak in detergent solution. Wash with detergent and bleach safe for fabric.
Ink - Fountain Pen - Run cold water through stain until no more color will come out. Rub in lemon juice and detergent. Let stand 5 minutes.
Wet ink stains may be removed by washing in milk or better still, buttermilk.Wash, changing the milk frequently.
Dry ink stains can be removed from white material by steeping the stained material in a hot solution of salts of lemon--one tbsp. of salts to one quart of boiling water; or simply place the stained part over a basin, cover the stain with salts and pour the boiling water through. Repeat if necessary.
Ink stains may be removed by covering the spot with lard. Let this stand for about twelve hours and wash the article in the regular way.
Soak ink stains in sour milk. If a dark stain remains, rinse in a weak solution of chloride of lime.
Ink stains on the fingers can be removed by brushing with a soft nail brush dipped first in pure vinegar and then in salt.

Iodine - To remove iodine stains from linens, rub the stained area with a slice of lemon.
To remove an iodine stain from cotton or linen, cover with a soft paste of mustard mixed with water and let stand for a few hours. Every trace of iodine will be removed.

Lipstick - Loosen stain with a non-flammable dry cleaning solvent. Rub detergent in until stain outline is gone. Wash in hottest water safe for fabric.
Meat Juices - Scrape with dull blade. Pre-soak in cold or warm water for 30 minutes. Wash with detergent and bleach safe for fabric.

Mildew - Pre-treat as soon as possible with detergent. Wash. If any stain remains, sponge with lemon juice and salt. Dry in sun. Wash, using hottest water, detergent and bleach safe for fabric.
Mildew stains may be removed by rubbing with a paste made by mixing two tsp. of water, one of powdered chalk and two of soap powder. The spots should afterwards be well rinsed and dried out of doors in the sunlight. This has a bleaching effect on them.
Soak mildew stains for several hours in a weak solution of chloride of lime; afterwards rinse in cold water.

Milk, Cream, Ice Cream - Pre-soak in cold or warm water for 30 minutes. Wash. Sponge andy grease spots with non-flammable dry cleaning solvent. Wash again.
Never put hot water on milk and cream stains. Wash them out in cold water, followed by soap and water. Rinse in clear water.

Nail Polish - Sponge with polish remover or banana oil. Wash. If stain remains, sponge with denatured alcohol to which a few drops of ammonia have been added. Wash again. Do not use polish remover on acetate or triacetate fabrics.

Paint - Oil Base - Sponge stains with turpentine, cleaning fluid or paint remover. Pre-treat and wash in hot water. For old stains, sponge with banana oil and then with non-flammable dry cleaning solvent. Wash again. Water Base - Scrape off paint with dull blade. Wash with detergent in water as hot as is safe for fabric.
To remove paint from colored material, dip the stains in turpentine, rub, then dip in a little ammonia, rub and wash in warm water.
To remove wet paint from white material wash the stain with soap and water and boil with a small amount of paraffin in the water. Dry paint on white material can easily be removed by steeping the stain in turpentine. Rub well and wash in the ordinary way.

Paint Spots - Scrape dried paint with dull blade. Sponge with several applications of equal parts ammonia and turpentine. Wash in hottest water safe for fabric.

Perspiration - Sponge fresh stain with ammonia; old stain with vinegar. Pre-soak in cold or warm water. Rinse. Wash in hottest water safe for fabric. If fabric is yellowed, use bleach. If stain still remains, dampen and sprinkle with meat tenderizer, or pepsin. Let stand 1 hour. Brush off and wash. For persistent odor, sponge with colorless mouthwash.
Fresh perspiration is acid. Use a solution of alkaline to remove. Baking soda is alkaline. Old perspiration stains are alkaline. Use a milk solution of white vinegar to remove.

Rust - Soak in lemon juice and salt or oxalic solution (3 Tbs. oxalic acid to 1 Pt. warm water.)
Table salt and cream of tarter, equal parts, will remove rust stains. Wet the spot and spread the mixture on thickly, then place the material in the sun.

Soft Drinks - Sponge immediately with cold water and alcohol. Heat and detergent may set stain.

Tea - Sponge with cold water as soon as possible. Wash using detergent and bleach safe for fabric.

Wine - Wine stains may be removed by holding the stained portion of the cloth in boiling milk.


Dab clear nail polish on the center of buttons on new shirts. This seals the threads so they won't unravel.

If zippers stick, just run some bar soap over the zipper and the zipper will zip just fine.

To keep lint from clinging to blue jeans and corduroys, add a half cup of vinegar to each wash load.

When putting away delicate white summer things or linens into the hope chest, wrap in blue tissue or a well-blued cloth. This will prevent them from turning yellow. In the case of new things being put away for sometime, do not wash them if it is not absolutely necessary, as the will keep much better with the dressing in them, even if mussed from handling when in the making.
A little vinegar added to the water in which you rinse silk stockings will increase their elasticity and make them practically run proof.

New shoes that will not polish easily may be rubbed with the cut half of a lemon. When dried polish in the usual way, finishing with a soft cloth or pad of velvet.

After polishing white shoes, rub over them with a piece of wax paper. This prevents the polish from rubbing off on your clothes and hands. This is especially good for baby's shoes.

Rub the bristles of shoe brushes together in a warm soapy solution to which a little turpentine has been added. Care should be taken to hold the brushed under the surface of the solution, otherwise the bristles will cause the solution to spray in tiny drops over the face and arms. Rinse in a fresh soapy solution, shake thoroughly and place in open air to dry.

White tennis shoes will last longer if sprayed heavily with starch when you first get them.

Grease spots on suede shoes will disappear if they are rubbed with a clean rag dipped in glycerin.

When shoestrings lose their plastic tips, wrap ends with scotch tape and dip in clear nail polish. Hang to dry.

Leather Suitcase/Handbags:

Black leather may be cleaned by rubbing with a clean cloth and afterwards with another cloth dipped in a mixture of one teaspoonful of sweet oil and two teaspoons of milk. When dry it should be polished with another rag, using a white shoes cream or furniture polish.

To prevent a hide suitcase or club bag from having a musty smell when not in use, sprinkle the inside with lavender or dried verbena leaves; or you can buy from druggists packets of specially antiseptic and air-purifying pot-pourri (perfumed).

To improve the appearance of a leather suitcase or trunk that has become shabby apply a mixture of linseed oil and vinegar. In an old pan boil about half a pint of the oil. Allow this to become nearly cold and then stir in an equal quantity of vinegar. pour into a bottle and rub a little on the leather with flannel, then polish with a soft cloth... Shake the bottle well before using.

PA Dancer

A-List Customer
North East Pennsylvania
A Few More...

For smelly shoes use crumpled up newspaper to absorb the smell and keep the shape of the shoe.

For perspiration stains on our favorite white shirts it calls for 4 tablespoons of salt per pint of water and dab til it disappers.

Peroxide removes blood (I've done this one and it works)

Aresol hairspray removes ink. (I've done this one and it works)

PA Dancer

A-List Customer
North East Pennsylvania
A few about moths...

1. Moths will be repelled by strong smelling mothballs. However, herbs will do the same thing and smell better. Lavender, wormwood, cedar or patchouli along with a small amount of rosemary, cinnamon, cloves or tansy will work well. Mix any combination and place in the toe of a used stocking. Tie open end and hang in closet or place in a drawer.

2. Moths do not eat wool - they eat the food stains and perspiration left on clothes or blankets. Keep wool items clean and stored in sealed plastic bags or containers.

Some other tips I found besides mothballs and cedar (be sure to sand the cedar every now and then to keep the scent and oil at the surface) is Dried Mint Leaves. You can also combine dried lavendar with the mint leaves.

The Wingnut

One Too Many
I've a '20s or '30s silk formal scarf that I bought from Art Fawcett a few years back and I love it. It has thin matte stripes running through a satin body, VERY deco. I occasionally use it with my Air Corps gear...and sweat on it as a result. You don't really notice the sweat on silk until about a month later when it comes back out of the closet. Viola, a yellow stain on the silk about the size of the back of my neck. I was upset, but I figured I'd give cleaning it a shot.

I dumped about 1/5 cup of laundry detergent in my bathroom sink, filled the sink with warm water, tossed the scarf in, and let it sit for about a half hour. I rubbed the silk against itself around the stain occasionally. I kept doing this until the stain was no longer visible. I then drained the sink and rinsed out the scarf, and let it drip dry. The next day, with an iron on low and a t-shirt as a buffer cloth, I ironed the scarf out and hung it back in the closet without a trace of damage. It's ready for my next black tie event.


New in Town
Removing Grease Stains

PA Dancer mentions using naphtha to remove greasy stains, but many might not know that naphtha is a key ingredient in Ronson lighter fluid -- yes, the same stuff with which you fill your Zippo. I have used Ronson many times to get out stains -- from oil-based paint to blood on both cotton and silk -- and the result is always highly satisfactory.

Simply squirt some lighter fluid directly onto the stain and use your fingers to rub the stained parts against each other. The stains just melt away as the naphtha evaporates. Sometimes it takes a couple of squirts to get it all out, but it really does work. After the stain has been removed I let the article of clothing dry before washing it, or having it dry cleaned, in order to get the smell of the lighter fluid out. Actually, that's not a huge problem for me as I like the smell of lighter fluid. ;)

All best,

J. M. Stovall

Call Me a Cab
Historic Heights Houston, Tejas
Here's one that I had to do recently that I don't think is in the list:

Silly Putty. Spray the surface with WD-40, and wipe with a clean absorbent rag. Repeat this until most of the material is removed. If any residue remains, saturate a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol, and blot the stain. Rinse thoroughly.

Remove any final residue with a damp sponge or cloth moistened with liquid dishwashing detergent. Launder as normal, however air dry until you are certain the stain has been removed, as heat drying may set the spot, making it difficult or impossible to remove.


Practically Family
Camarillo, CA

Everyone know about "Whink Rust Remover" in the brown bottle?
You can actually watch the rust disappear!
HOWEVER, it's Hydrofluoric acid- if you get it on you, it tends to cause nerve damage and 3rd degree (chemical) burns. It's one of the few products that still comes with a skull and crossbones on the label.
It works though!!

The Wingnut

One Too Many
Yup! Noticed 'naptha' on the ingredients a few years ago. Had a grease spot on my trenchcoat from the door latch of a friend's car, grabbed the Ronsonol and gave it a good squirt. Came right out. Used it many times since for all sorts of stuff. Works beautifully.

stevechasmar said:
I have used Ronson many times to get out stains -- from oil-based paint to blood on both cotton and silk -- and the result is always highly satisfactory.


Call Me a Cab
The recommendation above says to use dry cleaning fluid. Where does one buy dry cleaning fluid? Does the above advice work if the garment has already been through the wash/dryer cycle?


A-List Customer
Stumptown West
I know it sounds odd, but I removed melted lipstick from a wedding dress once using a Huggies Baby Wipe (unscented).

Back when my daughter was small, I took in sewing so I could work from home. Somehow my bright copper-red lipstick got tangled in an ungodly-priced wedding dress, and melted into the lace and beading down to the base fabric. I was able to get it all out by daubing with the wipe then blotting with a cotton cloth diaper.

This also worked to get chips grease out of a silk georgette dress. I'm a train wreck, I know. :p

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