Fabric Stains

As a general rule when working with stains using a liquid, start outside the stained area and work towards the centre. This should avoid creating a tide mark where some of the stain is washed to the edge of the treated area. There are modern lotions and potions available made up of various solvents which can cope with stains caused by modern materials such as inks and paints, and on man-made fabrics. However there are some stains made by traditional things such a tea, wine and grass which can also be treated with older remedies. It is best to try the remedy first on a hidden part if possible to check that it will not damage the fabric. The treatment should be carried out before an attempt is made to wash the article as this could fix the stain making it impossible to remove. For non-washable fabrics the article should be dry-cleaned - pointing out the stain and its nature to the counter staff.

General Hints,  Hints for Cleaning  Hints for Decorating

    Blood - soak in salted, lukewarm water, changing it every hour. For stubborn stains on white cottons and linens use a bleaching solution.
    Cocoa - fresh stains can be removed with cold water and soap. Older ones can be treated as for tea.
    Coffee - rub in glycerine and rinse in tepid water, repeating until the stain disappears.
    Fruit - Fresh stains which are still wet on any fabric, cover with powdered starch, allow to dry and brush off. For dried in stains on whites, cover with salt and moisten with lemon juice. Allow to dry, repeat if necessary then launder as appropriate. Some stains are fat soluble so for colour-fast and white fabrics the stain can be soaked for an hour with lard or glycerine, then place over a basin and wash through with boiling water.
    Grass Stains sponge whites with a solution of ammonia in water. On other fabrics cover the stain with glycerine, leave for an hour and rinse with warm water.
    Grease - Remove as much of the stain with a tissue. Sprinkle cornflour and talc on the area to absorb the remaining grease, leave for a while and brush off. For colourfasts and whites add neat washing-up liquid and rub in, then rinse through with hot water over a basin. Wash as appropriate at the highest temperature for the fabric.
    Mildew - on coloured fabrics soak the affectad parts in milk overnight, then wash as appropriate. Lighter stains on white fabric may bleach in the sun, spread out while dripping wet - repeat until the stains fade. For obstinate cases use equal quantities of soft soap, powdered starch and salt, mixed with enough lemon juice to form a paste. Smeer this on the stain and expose to sunlight, treat both sides separately, and repeat if necessary.
    Rust Marks - for white fabric, stretch over a basin and apply oxalic acid using the tip of a feather or fine brush, rinse at once with water and launder. Milder marks may respond to salt moistened with lemon juice. Leave to dry and brush off then rinse in cold water containing a little ammonia to soften it.
    Scorch Marks - can only be removed if superficial. Linen and cotton, rub over with half of a juicy lemon and leave to dry in the sun. Wool and mixed fabric, use a thick paste made from glycerine and borax, spread it over mark, leave for an hour then peal off with the back of a knife or spatula.
    Tea - steep in a fairly strong solution of borax and water. Leave to soak until the stain disappears, the time taken will depend on the age of the stain, from a few minutes for a fresh stain, to a few days for one which has dried in.
    Wine - on coloured fabrics soak the affected parts in hot milk, repeat if necessary. On white fabric, cover with salt moistened with lemon juice and leave in the sun. For both fabrics wash as appropriate after treatment.

Go to General Hints,  Hints for Cleaning  Hints for Decorating,  Oddjobbery