Every one of us has spilt something on our clothes at some point or the other. While for some people it might not make much of a difference, for others (like me) it may be the end of the world. What you need to know is that every stain isn’t necessarily a lost cause, and you needn’t always have to shell out moolah for the dry cleaners.
More often than not I have turned to oxygen bleach to remove stains. But there are other household items that are equally useful and effective and don’t burn a hole in your pocket. Bear in mind that the sooner you tackle a stain, the better your chances of being able to remove it. However, before you begin, make it a point to read the wash care instructions on your garment. Test the solution on an inconspicuous area of your garment to make sure it won’t damage the fabric.
Mud: Let’s face it. During the monsoons, a muddy splatter settling on your clothes is inevitable no matter how careful you are. Allow the mud to dry and brush off as much as possible. Soak the stained area in a gentle detergent and some water and gently rub the fabric. After rinsing, if there are any remaining stains, use one part white vinegar and one part water to remove it and finish by washing it in detergent and water.
Grease or oil: For grease or oil based stains, you must remember that oil repels water. Hence, contact with water might actually set the stain permanently. Try to soak up excess grease with a paper towel. Apply chalk, corn starch or talcum powder on the stained surface and leave it overnight to absorb as much oil as possible. Wash the garment in a warm soapy solution.
Tea or coffee: If the stain is fresh then try flushing it from the back of the fabric with hot water. For dry stains, steep the area in glycerine until the stain comes off.
Chocolate: First remove any excess chocolate. Use detergent in the stained area with a little water and gently rub the stain to loosen it up. Wash the garment in warm soap and water. If the stain persists, try applying petrol with a sponge in the stained area. Then wash it normally with soap and water.
Turmeric: We Indians use turmeric in almost every dish we cook, and if we spill that dish over to our clothes, it can be disastrous. Turmeric is used as a dye and can be one of the toughest stains to remove. For fresh stains, just wash it with soap and water. For dry stains, I have discovered that oxy bleach always works, if I soak the stained area for some time. The tougher the stain, the longer it requires to be soaked. You can clean the stained area with one part white vinegar, one part dishwashing detergent and two parts water. For white garments, you can bleach it in sunlight and air.
Ink: Soak the stain immediately in sour milk or curd for half an hour. Do not allow the milk or curd to dry. Wash the garment with soap and water. Alternatively, apply salt and lime juice to the stain and leave it for half an hour before washing it with soap and water. For older stains repeat the same process for a prolonged period of time. Ball point ink can be a little trickier. Place a blotting paper towel under the stain and spray it with hairspray until it is saturated. Let it soak for several seconds, then blot the ink stain with another clean cloth. Repeat this process until the stain is gone. Then wash with soap and water. If you don’t have hairspray, you can use a hand sanitizer instead.
Make up: Most make up products like mascara and lipstick are oil based. Make sure you absorb as much oil as possible before you bring the stain in contact with water. Place a towel below the stain and saturate the stain with hair spray. You can also use a hand sanitiser instead of hairspray. Wait for ten minutes before you wash the area with a solvent soap. Alternatively, moisten and soften the stain by working glycerine into it. Leave it for a short while and then rinse with soap.
Blood: Remember never to use hot water to remove blood stains. Hot water tends to set some stains; especially if it is protein based; like blood. Use an ice cube to dilute it. For older dry stains, soak the garment in cold water and salt until the stain comes off.
Now that you know, there is no need to cry over spilt… anything. Just stay cool, and stay stylish!
(Writer is a fashion designer and is available at www.ninoshka.co.in)