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Laundry Stain Removal Guide

January 24th, 2017


Are you messy or just unlucky in laundry? If you’ve stained clothes before even wearing them, have clothing that seems to magically attract non-present food, or just love cartwheeling on a summer’s day – you know that stains are the natural enemy of wardrobe sustainability. Coffee, wine, grass, and more – take a look at this handy how-to for clothing stain removal.


Laundry Stain Removal Guide Disclaimer: Before we get started, please note that the following is a list of suggestions only. We cannot guarantee the outcome of each remedy listed. You should always consult the care instructions tag for the clothing item in question, and proceed at your own discretion.


Pretreatment

The most important part of attempted stain removal is the pre-treatment. The outcome is largely determined by the speed of your response and the course of action you select. The sooner you (appropriately) treat and soak a stain, the easier it will be to remove.

If you’re on the go, however, and can’t stop everything to treat a stain – consider a stain removal stick for spot treatment. Then launder later, when you’re able to give the stain your full attention.

Red Wine Stain Removal

What you’ll need: Salt and enzyme detergent (most detergents qualify)

For red wine stain removal, it’s best to apply salt to the spot immediately. The salt particles should turn pink as they absorb the wine. Soak overnight in the enzyme detergent. Red wine has a reputation for being one of the hardest stains to remove – but this remedy just may keep you in good spirits (pun intended).

Coffee and Chocolate Stain Removal

What you’ll need: Any laundry detergent

To remove coffee stains, first, run cold water over the spot for several minutes. If the stain persists, apply detergent. Make sure to rub it in – if you have a spare soft-bristle toothbrush handy, use this to help get the detergent into the fabric’s fibers. Let this sit for 5-10 minutes, then (without washing off the detergent) wash the garment in the hottest water it can take on the usual cycle. The same method works for chocolate. Just make sure you scrape off the chocolate debris before applying the detergent.

Grass Stain Removal

What you'll need: Detergent and diluted white vinegar

As kids enjoy a day in the park, do you find yourself anxiously awaiting signs of grass stains? Keep playtime carefree with this remedy. Apply the detergent as soon as possible to the stained area and rub into the fabric. Without rinsing out the detergent, wash the item as you normally would. Diluted white vinegar can be used to eliminate any lingering color.

Chewing Gum "Stain" Removal

What you’ll need: Vinegar

For any solution involving vinegar: make sure the fabric is colorfast. To do this, find a discreet place on the garment. Take a Q-tip and dab a small spot with hot vinegar. Wait a couple minutes, and then dab the area with a paper towel. If no color shows on the paper towel, it is safe to use vinegar on this item.

If the garment is colorfast, soak the gum in hot vinegar for 1-3 minutes, then remove the loose gum. Repeat steps as needed to remove all gum. If your garment does not pass the colorfast test, freeze the item with a wrapped ice cube. When you remove the ice cube, the gum should come off as well. Note: applying ice also helps remove gum from hair.

Ink Stain Removal

What you’ll need: Rubbing alcohol

The best stain removal for ink may already be in your medicine cabinet. To remove an ink stain, simply apply rubbing alcohol and blot as needed. Be sure all rubbing alcohol has been rinsed from the garment before laundering.

Protein Stain Removal (baby formula, dairy products, eggs, gelatin, blood)

What you’ll need: Enzyme-rich liquid laundry detergent.
Oxygen color-safe bleaches work as well.

It can be difficult to determine how to remove stains from clothes – and protein stains are no exception. Whether your new top is now decked-out in baby formula, or a nosebleed has arrived just in time for your afternoon meeting, help is at hand. First, remove as much of the stain as you can with paper towels. Soak the garment in cold water. If the stain has already dried, add the detergent to the mix. When possible, machine wash in cool water.

Check that the spot is removed prior to transferring the garment to the dryer. Once heat has been applied to the stain, it’s permanent. If you’re unsure, line-dry the garment and check that the stain is removed. If it isn’t, repeat the steps. Please note, this laundry stain-removal technique should never be used on wool or silk, as these fabrics themselves are partially composed of animal protein.

Lipstick Stain Removal

What you’ll need: Grease-fighting dishwashing detergent

Though that new shade of lipstick may perfectly complement your skin tone – it does nothing to flatter your favorite blouse or jacket. To repair the imperfection, simply apply dish soap to the spot and blot or let sit for several minutes. Wash as normal. Check stain is entirely removed before drying.

Bleach Stain Removal

What you’ll need: Rubbing alcohol OR fabric marker

As bleaching is the process of removing color, you cannot truly remove the "stain." However, if you apply rubbing alcohol to the spot and gently scrub inward – you may be able to transfer some of the fabric’s dye back into the bleached portion of the clothing. Another option? A fabric marker. Available at most craft stores, simply select the color closest to that of the original garment for an effective (if not entirely flawless) touch-up.

Laundry Appliance Stain Fighting Features

If you’re looking for the perfect partner to tackle the never-ending war on stains, consider the Whirlpool Duet Steam Front Load Washer. It harnesses the power of steam to bring extra oomph to the pretreatment cycle and also offers an auto soak cycle. The Electrolux Front Load Perfect Steam Washer with LuxCare Wash and SmartBoost is another great option, with a custom StainSoak™ feature – allowing you to specify the stain type for best removal results.

We hope this guide is helpful in your next crisis of clothing. If you’re in the market for a new laundry pair – or want to explore other appliance options – remember that we’re here and happy to help. Not your typical appliance store, we’ll work with you to determine the perfect possibilities for your budget and lifestyle.

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