You’re likely familiar with the earth-shattering feeling you get when coffee or BBQ sauce accidentally splashes onto a perfectly good white shirt. Sure, it isn’t necessarily a big deal if you’re rocking an $8 tee, but if you’re wearing something more meaningful or costly, a seemingly permanent stain can be pretty gut-wrenching. We’ve created this handy guide to getting rid of common stains, so you’ll be ready to tackle any spillage or stain mishap that comes your way.
Prevent It From Setting
When stains are left untreated, they have a greater chance of becoming permanent. No matter what kind of stain you’re dealing with, here are some tips to prevent it from setting:
- Apply water immediately. Don’t be alarmed if adding water temporarily makes the stain more visible; this will ensure that it does not become permanent.
- Do not add heat. If you’re at a restaurant, stay away from the hand dryers.
- Avoid applying pressure. This can actually push the stain further into the fabric. Instead, gently dab or soak from behind the stain.
Check the Label
Once you can give your garment the attention it needs, check the label for further instructions regarding treating stains. If the label doesn’t give you much info, consider the fabric.
- Cotton: Detergents and light acids such as lemon juice or vinegar work best for treating stains without compromising the fabric, but when in doubt, soak the stain with spray and wash before washing normally.
- Wool: Water or wool detergent will work best for this heat-sensitive textile.
- Synthetic: These fabrics can be tricky, so it’s best to stick with laundry detergent, a dab of dish soap, or spray and wash.
Common Stains, Begone!
- Blood: To treat a blood stain, rinse it immediately with cool water. Then, once you’re able to remove the garment, immerse it in room-temperature water mixed with detergent and let it soak for about 10 minutes. Next, spot-treat the stain with some hydrogen peroxide (you’ll actually see this working; the peroxide will foam when applied to the stain). Lastly, toss your garment into the laundry solo and wash as usual.
- Coffee: Sometimes, the things we love hurt us most. If you fall victim to a coffee spill, soak the stain with some lukewarm water, then dab it gently with detergent.
- Spaghetti Sauce (or anything tomato-based): Remove any excess with a knife or spoon, then dab the stain gently with some liquid detergent. Rinse the stain from behind to loosen it from the garment, then wash as usual.
- Wine: Blot a wine stain immediately with warm water. Then, add salt to the stain and let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. Next, rinse out the salt and lightly dab with laundry detergent. Let sit for another 10 to 15 minutes, then wash the garment as usual.
If you’re planning a night out or a vacation, or you’re often on the go, consider packing some Shout wipes or Tide sticks so you aren’t stuck wearing an embarrassing stain for too long.