Years and years ago, I dreaded getting stains. It was always a devastating day to find a dirty spot on my clothes; I knew it would never come out. Sure, I threw it in the washing machine, praying the stain would melt away, but the stain was always there to stay, and that shirt went into the garbage. I wiped the tears away and promised I would never let anything get on my clothes again. It was a promise I could not keep. Food, grease, mud, and ink always traveled my way. Then, after the pile of stained clothes reached an alarming height, I decided it was time to face my fears. I grabbed all of the cleaning tools in my house, called up my mom, and began fighting the stains. Cleaning stains can be done, but don’t be afraid to try out different methods. Here are the trickiest things to get out of clothes and some steps used to eliminate them.
Years ago, I went on a four-wheeler ride through the mud. When we got home, I was covered from head to toe. I was ready to throw everything in the garbage, but I decided to give it a cleaning chance. The first thing you should do is let the mud dry completely. Once it is dry, shake your clothes until all of the excess dirt is off. Take a vacuum and vacuum the stained area to remove the rest of the dirt. Now, you will be left with the stain. Apply laundry stain remover to the area, and let it soak for a good 20 minutes. Fill the bath tub and let your clothes soak in it for another 15 minutes. Last, grab a laundry brush (or use your fingers) and scrub the stained area. Once the stain looks to be gone, throw it in the washer for a final cleaning.
I often dress up for special occasions in a buttoned-down white shirt, and my skin and sweat always stain the inside of the collar. It is gross-looking, but it happens to everyone. To remove that brownish color, spray stain remover around the entire collar and let it sit for 15 minutes. Grab an old toothbrush and coat it with liquid laundry detergent. Scrub the stain and toss it in the laundry machine.
Wine and Juice
If you’ve ever splashed grape juice or wine on your shirt, you’ve probably instantly thought, “Well, now this shirt is ruined.” Although purple and red stains are the hardest to get out with regular stain remover, it doesn’t mean your favorite clothes are garbage. First, boil a large pot of water. It might sound bizarre, but boiling water works great at removing berry stains. Pour the water directly on the stain and allow it to strain through the shirt quickly and into a sink.
Most food stains come out quickly with laundry stain remover, but there are still those tricky ones. If you’ve ever been chowing down on a hot dog and dripped mustard on your shirt, then you know how hard mustard is to get out. Mustard has dye in it, so before rubbing the stain into your clothes, blot the area carefully to remove it. Next, grab vinegar, dish soap, and water and create a cleaner. Laying an old towel beneath your stained area, pour your mixture on the stain. It should soak into the towel, but a little scrubbing is still necessary.
I don’t know how many times I have had to clean ink from a white dress shirt, but for some reason, I continue to put pens in my pocket without caps. I have become an expert at removing the ink. Like with a mustard stain, you will need to lay the stained area on an old towel. Stream water onto the shirt and blot the area. The stain will seep through the clothes and into the towel. Next, add a little liquid laundry detergent and gently rub the area. Pour on more water to rinse the rest of the stain out.
Oil and Grease
Cleaning oil and grease stains takes a lot of muscle, so grab your strongest pair of arms and get ready. To effectively get rid of oil or grease, as soon as the stain happens, run, not walk, to the bathroom. Grab the hair spray and spray an excessive amount on the area; most of it will immediately come out. Then wash it with the shampoo sitting in your shower. Scrub, scrub, and scrub some more. The stain will be gone, and you can breathe again; getting out stains is hard work!
Whenever a stain happens, don’t immediately toss it in the trash: Give cleaning a fighting chance. Sometimes, the strangest things work, and other times, that stain just needs a good scrub.
Image Courtesy of Arek Olek (Flickr)