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Spotless Living: Ways To Remove Even The Most Stubborn Stains

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Getting settled in your new home or apartment can be really exciting. But along with married life and a potential family, comes the mess and mishaps of “family” living, including some thrills, chills and lots of spills, especially if you’ve got little ones (or DH’s buddy’s) around.

But, now there’s little or no reason to cry over spilt milk, or anything else for that matter. Here are a few quick and easy fixes:

Red, Red Wine: Pour club soda, white vinegar or cold water directly on the stain. Blot and sprinkle with salt. Wait for a minute or two, then rinse with cold water while rubbing out stain. Repeat if needed. For stubborn stains, pour white wine over red-wine stain to get rid of the color.

Java Juice: To remove coffee stains, rinse back of stain with cold water. Rub with liquid enzyme detergent and allow to “soak” or stand for several minutes. Wash as usual. If that doesn’t work, try a spot stain remover and let stand, or mix borax and water, spread on stain and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Repeat until most of the stain is lifted.

Butter, Margarine, Or Oil: Eliminate excess with a dull knife. Apply spot stain remover and allow to “sit” for several minutes. Rub in some liquid enzyme detergent and let stand again. Wash in the hottest water possible. For “tougher” stains, sprinkle baking soda onto the stain allowing it to absorb excess grease, then repeat initial process.

Au Chocolat: Chocolate stains can be removed first by eliminating excess with a dull knife. Then, run cold water over the back of the stain and rub with liquid enzyme detergent. Soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes or until the stain lifts. As a last resort, you can soak (the object) in three percent hydrogen peroxide and a few drop of ammonia for no more than 15 minutes.

Lipstick: Pat stain with a bar of white soap (sans, perfumes or dyes), or a colorless dishwashing liquid. Rinse until there’s no more improvement. Wash as usual. For “heartier” stains, soak in warm, soapy water and laundry detergent for no more than 15 minutes.

Mud: Allow the stain to dry and shake off excess dirt. Rub liquid enzyme detergent directly on the “scarred” area and soak in lukewarm water for between 10 and 20 minutes, rubbing occasionally. If stain remains, try spot stain remover and wash as usual. As a last resort, blot with white vinegar and then wash as usual.

Grass: Place garment on an absorbent cloth, stain side down. Sponge back of stain with rubbing alcohol. Rinse well with cold water. For more stubborn stains, scrub with toothbrush and non-gel toothpaste. Rinse with cold water.
Bike Chain Grease: Remove excess with a dull knife. Take up with an absorbent cloth and sprinkle with salt, cornstarch, or baking soda to absorb remaining grease. Allow to “stand” for 15 to 30 minutes and brush off. Rub with colorless dishwashing liquid and allow to “sit” for about two minutes. Soak in hot water for up to 30 minutes. Rinse back of stain and wash in hot water. Tougher stain may require making a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water, then smearing on the stain. Let it dry and brush off before washing as usual.

Sweat: Sponge (area) with ammonia or white vinegar and rinse well. Wash with fabric-safe bleach. For persistent stains, apply spot stain remover and wash as usual.

Candle Wax: Place ice cubes in a bag and rub wax until it turns brittle. Peel off excess. If there is a dye stain, blot with rubbing alcohol. Wash according to instructions. As a last resort, lay a clean rag over spilled wax and press lightly with a warm iron. Repeat until wax is gone. Wash as usual.

Ink Spots: Position an absorbent cloth under the stain. Cover (the stain) with rubbing alcohol. Blot frequently. Rinse well with cold water. Apply presoak and let stand for several minutes. Wash according to instructions. For impervious stains soak sin milk or rub with cut side of a tomato. Rinse.

Blood: Sprinkle with salt and rinse with cold water. Soak in cold salted water fro about 30 minutes and rinse well. If stain is still there, apply spot stain remover and wash with liquid enzyme detergent. As a last resort, add unseasoned meat tenderizer or baking soda to lukewarm water and make a paste out of it, and apply it to the stain. Allow it to dry, and brush off excess powder. Rinse in cold water and wash with liquid enzyme detergent.

Mustard: Get rid of excess with the aid of a dull knife. Run cold water over the back of the stain. Rub in liquid enzyme detergent and rinse with cold water. Repeat until there’s no more improvement. Apply spot stain remover and wash normally. If stain is already dry, rub with glycerin. On white garments, lighten remaining stain with ammonia or wash using fabric-safe bleach, depending on the material.

Stain Removing Strategies:
· Read the label carefully first

· Test all stain treatments on a hidden section of fabric first.

· Unless otherwise specified, ALWAYS use cold water.

· Apply stain removers to the back of the stain instead of the front, which will push it back into the fabric.

· Avoid liquid enzyme detergent, bleach or ammonia on silk or wool.

· For acetate fabrics, dilute alcohol with water.

Common Commodities:

* Ammonia A colorless gas. Sold diluted in water. Found in drugstores and grocery stores.

* Cornstarch A corn-based flour that can be used as an absorbent. Available in grocery stores.

* Glycerin A naturally produced emollient sold in liquid and solid form in drugstores and natural food stores.

*Hydrogen peroxide (three per cent) A mild form of bleach. Sold in drugstores and grocery stores.

* Liquid enzyme detergent Enzymes break down protein, grease and starch stains. Detergents carrying enzymes are sold in most grocery stores and drugstores.

* Meat tenderizer A powder containing enzymes that works to break down proteins.

* Rubbing alcohol A liquid solvent. Sold in drugstores

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