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Your ultimate guide to stubborn stain removal

clean white linen drying

What’s worse than a ruined item of clothing dueto a stubborn stain? A stain that should have come out easily but set because you didn’t act fast enough. What we really need is a quick reference guide of how to get stubborn, common stains out with whatever we have available. Thank us later…


Blood stain

The key here is acting fast. Start by flushing the blood out with cold water as soon as possible. Once most of the blood is gone follow up with one of these three stain-removal methods:

  • Coca-Cola – Take a Coca-Cola can and empty it into your regular detergent holder and wash the piece of clothing on your regular wash cycle.
  • Hairspray – Spray some hairspray on the area and leave it on for a couple of minutes, then wipe off with a damp cloth.
  • Lemon juice – This step will work best if the stain has dried a bit, soak the garment in cold water then wring it out and put it in a plastic bag with two cups of lemon juice and half a cup of salt, leave it for a few minutes so that the solution can soak into the garment, hang it outside to dry and then wash in a regular cycle.

Food and wine

Red wine stain

The foods that are rich in oils and butter you should try to avoid water and dab it with a paper towel, for everything else flush with cold water and then follow up with one of these common grocery items.

  • Vinegar – If the stain is not that bad you can use a sponge; make sure that it’s clean, dab the stain with some vinegar and then wash the garment as usual. If the stain is really bad soak the garment overnight in three parts vinegar and one part water and then wash as usual.
  • Salt – Salt works great for red wine stains. Sprinkle a bit of salt on the stain and leave it for about five minutes. Rinse with cold water while rubbing the stain, repeat if needed, and then wash as usual.
  • White wine – This one might sound crazy but it will work. If you spilled red wine on a garment just pour some white wine on it and then wash. The white wine and red wine will neutralise each other.
  • Egg yolk – To get rid of coffee stains mix the yolk with a few drops of alcohol and warm water, apply the mixture with a clean sponge, leave it for a few minutes and then rinse and wash.

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Oil stain

The first thing you might think to do is to rinse it out with water, however, you should remember that grease repels water so rinsing it with water might set the stain permanently. Instead try to dab it with a paper towel and then use one of these steps.

  • Dish soap – Apply a small amount of uncoloured dish soap and leave it to set for at least five minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water and one wash cycle as normal.
  • Chalk – This is a great option of the stain is less severe. Simply rub chalk on the stain, leave to absorb the oil and then brush off before washing.
  • Artificial sweetener – This solution is especially handy when you are eating on the go. Just blot any oil or grease spots with a bit of the powder and wash when you get home.

Sweat and yellowing

Sweaty armpits

You should change to use aluminium-free deodorant to avoid stains. However, to get rid of stubborn marks try one of these solutions.

  • Vinegar – Use a solution of two parts white vinegar and one part water, soak the stain for a couple of hours and then wash as normal.
  • Baking soda – Make a paste using baking soda and warm water, then use a toothbrush to apply the paste to the area. Scrub it for a little while before letting it sit for one hour. Finish off with a rinse and normal wash cycle.
  • Aspirin – Take three pills and crush in a plastic bag and then mix with two tablespoons of warm water until it forms a paste, apply to the stain and leave it for an hour then rinse and wash as usual.

Words: Natassha Burrell


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