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How To Remove Spots And Stains

Feb 25, 2008
It's a smart woman who takes time to learn how to remove stains from clothing and household furnishings. She can rescue many an expensive or well liked item that another woman might discard as hopeless, or ruin by hit-or-miss attempts to clean.

Stain Removers: The first requirement in stain removal is to know the agents that are specific for the different stains. Some spots are unaffected by water but are removed by solvents, and vice versa.

You should know the fabric you are dealing with, for success in routing stains, whether it is silk, wool, linen, cotton, rayon, or one of the other synthetics, and whether it has a special finish. You should also know, if possible, what caused the stain.

Fabrics differ in the stain removers they can stand, and what works on one stain will not necessarily work on another, or on a different material. So test your stain remover on a hidden seam on in some inconspicuous area if you are in doubt. However, the stains that you can remove successfully and easily are legion.

Stains on Washable Synthetics: Many stains can be removed very easily from washable synthetic clothing at the time they occur. The material will dry quickly and there will usually be no trace. Just sponge them off with soap or a detergent and water. Stains such as catsup, mustard, chocolate, sherbet, lipstick, and even some grease stains disappear from nylon by this simple method, while ordinary household cleaning fluids will deal with stubborn grease and chewing gum.

If you have any doubt about the effect of some other stain remover you may consider using, test it first in some inconspicuous place, such as a seam.

All stains should be treated promptly, whatever their source, because the fresher they are the easier they are to remove. Stains allowed to stand often become hopelessly set and some become difficult or impossible if the material is washed, ironed, or pressed. So sponge off grease and oil stains quickly with cleaning fluid and treat others promptly with plain cool water.

Oil and grease stains on washable fabrics are best treated before they go into the water. While they often wash out in the course of ordinary laundering, their removal will be more certain if you pretreat them with detergent or soap (whichever you plan to use), or by sponging them with cleaning fluid.

For the tar and pitch group, casualties of the open road, first rub lard or vaseline into the stain until the tar is softened. After that, wash fabrics that will launder, in warm suds. Sponge non-washable fabrics with cleaning fluid, or dip the stain into it and rub between your hands. If the stain is on a rug, scrape up as much of the tarry material as possible, then apply cleaning fluid with a cloth. Use an upward brushing motion to keep it from being worked down into the rug.

Mud is another road casualty. Always let mud splashes on clothing, or mud tracked onto a rug, dry thoroughly before you do anything about it. When it is dry, brush off as much as you can and then sponge the stain with clear water, or with a detergent and water. The last traces usually will yield to sponging with alcohol.

Furniture and floor wax: Stains from paste or liquid polishing wax and no-rub furniture wax can be removed with cleaning fluid. If traces remain, wash or sponge the material with warm soapy water. On rugs you can use either soapy water or a foam-type rug cleaner. Warm water and a detergent usually will deal with spots from self-polishing floor wax and cream-type waxes. If the stain is on a rug, follow, if necessary, with a foam-type cleaner or (when thoroughly dry) with cleaning fluid. For very stubborn spots on a rug use a brush dipped in cleaning fluid.

These are some of the main stains which the householder will encounter. With just a little effort, everything will look better once the stains have been dealt with.
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