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Lipstick and wine spots? Think twice before turning to a damp sponge.
Stains often spoil a perfectly good day, leaving you with a sinking feeling in your stomach. But considering your stain-fighting solutions are likely hiding in plain sight, there’s no need to brood over the blood on your carpet. Rest assured a DIY way to remove any and all evidence of your clumsiness is sitting right in your kitchen or bathroom cabinets.
So the next time your hamburger has an accident on your shirt, don’t fret and definitely don’t reach for the bleach.
SWEAT AND YELLOWING STAINS
If your garments have yellowed, then your sweat stains were set some time ago. But whitening them is still possible.
Household items that work well to remove sweat stains include hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, baking soda and aspirin.
To use aspirin to un-yellow a clothing item, crush up a three pills in a plastic bag, adding a couple tablespoons of warm water to form a paste, which you will then apply to the stain and let sit for an hour.
If yellowing is recurring problem with your clothes, consider switching to aluminum-free deodorant.
Philadelphia native Catherine DiGiacomo prefers to be proactive about her stains and knows certain T-shirts, such as the ones she wears to work out, are prone to yellowing.
“Before I stick these shirts in the wash, I apply a mixture of salt and lemon juice to problem areas,” she says. “My gym clothes stay looking brand new.”
Manage your impulse to flush grease stains out with water, since grease is oil, and oil repels water. Instead, start by absorbing as much grease as you can with a paper towel.
“When I spill greasy food on myself, which happens more than I would like to admit, I use dish soap to get the grease stain out,” says aspiring actress Sammy Westervelt. “It works every time!”
Though baby powder, cornstarch, chalk and vinegar also effectively remove grease stains, using dish soap is one of the simplest way to go about it.
You’ll first want to make sure the dish soap doesn’t contain dye. Then proceed with applying it to the stain. Let it sit for about 5 minutes before rinsing with tepid water.
Artificial sweeteners such as Splenda or Sweet’N Low may wreak havoc on your health, but fortunately, they also wreak havoc on grease stains. Just dab the problem area with a bit of the powder, and the stain will begin to disappear. This is especially useful when dining out, because such sweeteners can be found just about anywhere there’s greasy food.
Start off by simply rinsing the stain with cold water, then head to your bathtub.
“My daughter would come home filthy after playing with the dog in our yard,” says mother Hina Sanghvi. “I’d make her change right away, so I could rinse out her clothes with shampoo. I used to just throw the clothes away because the stains were impossible, but with this trick, I save a lot of money.”
Though vinegar can be added to a regular laundry cycle to fight dirt stains, shampoo is gentler alternative. Place the clothing item in a bath of lukewarm water, apply shampoo to it with a sponge and then scrub, scrub, scrub.
WINE AND FOOD
If the stain was caused by food rich in oil or butter, first dab it with an absorbent paper towel. Otherwise, flush the stain out with cold water.
“You can get red wine out of stuff by using white wine,” says Sydney resident Betsy Oyler. “As a person who happens to have a lot of wine around, and a directly related number of spills, this is a lifesaver.”
But if the stain seems beyond reversing, Betsy offers an alternative.
“If it’s something like sitting on a chocolate brownie in white pants — an unfortunate personal experience — then you can wash and dye your pants to a funky color, or tie-dye them to blend the stain.”
If that’s too extreme for you, vinegar, salt, club soda or an egg yolk might just do the trick.
Yolks are excellent for removing coffee stains. Combine a yolk with warm water and a few drops of alcohol, and then apply the paste to the stain. After letting it sit for a few minutes, rinse.
Blood stains you want to get to fast, because once they dry up and set, they are close to impossible to remove.
It may seem counterintuitive, but the best way to erase evidence of a nasty fall is to empty a can of Coca-Cola, in addition to your usual detergent, into your washing machine when you go to launder your blood-stained clothes.
Another option is to soak the stain with hairspray for a couple minutes before wiping it off with a wet rag.
Resist the urge to rinse lipstick and mascara stains with water since they are usually oil-based. But for stains from other makeup items, turn to cold water first.
For a lipstick or mascara stain, you will want to use hairspray. Saturate the stain with product, wait about 10 minutes and then wipe it off with a damp cloth.
For foundation stains, use shaving cream, dish detergent or shampoo, applying the product to the stain and then rinsing it with tepid water.
Sometimes, however, circumstances call for a quick fix.
“I have a friend who dropped pink lip gloss down the front of her friend’s wedding dress before she walked down the aisle,” Betsy said. “She used Wite-Out to cover it up. It was brilliant.”
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