Out, Damn Spot: A Stylist's Guide to Stain Removal

Whether it is you've had one rockin' night out, or you've stupidly worn white to a 2-year-old's birthday party, nobody likes stains, especially stylists. A stain on a loaned piece of garment means that we have to fork out money to send it to the drycleaners', so here are some nifty tricks up my sleeve you can keep in mind next time you find yourself in a sticky situation. With all clothes, however, check the clothing care label because you don't want to end up ruining it. Lipstick Whether it was a friendly hug, intimate encounter, or simply an accident while you were getting dressed – lipstick marks tend to look worse than they really are. Use clean, absorbent cloth and dab (don't rub!) the stain with rubbing alcohol until the stain is either gone or almost not visible. With your finger, rub dishwashing detergent on the stain and run cold water from the opposite side. Repeat until the stain is gone or this method stops helping. If all else fails, bring it to the drycleaner's.

Wine For red wine, pour salt onto the stain if it's still fresh, but don't rub it in. Rinse it off with warm water after two minutes. Also, you can pour white wine on the stain to keep it from setting. For a white wine stain, use carbonated soda water after blotting up as much as the wine as possible. If the stain has dried, mix up one part glycerin with two parts water and rub it onto the stain before washing normally.

Mud You've rocked out at a concert and fallen on your bum a few times? First, wait for the mud to dry. Let the mud dry thoroughly to prevent smearing and do not attempt to wipe off the mud. After the mud stain has dried, try shaking or vacuuming the area to remove dried clumps of mud. Rub liquid detergent into the stain and allow to soak for 15 minutes or until the stain no longer remains. Lightly rub the stained area between your fingers every 3-5 minutes to help loosen the stained area. If traces of the mud stain remain, apply a stain remover stick, gel, or spray and let stand for 5 minutes.

Coffee Rinse the coffee stain thoroughly from the back of the clothing with cold water. Try to rinse out as much of the stain as you can. Use a liquid detergent and rub gently into the coffee stain. Allow the detergent to stand on the coffee stain for at least 5 minutes. If the stain is old or dry, rub the coffee stain with detergent, and allow to soak in cold water for 30 minutes. If these do not remove the stain, try rubbing liquid laundry detergent into the coffee stain and soak in warm water for 10-15 minutes before using a a stain remover stick, gel, or spray and let stand for 5 minutes.

Ink If it's a ballpoint pen, count yourself lucky because permanent ink are the most headache-inducing stains I've handled. For ballpoint pens, lay the stained area on top of a clean dry white towel. Apply rubbing alcohol to the ink stain and blot with another clean white cloth, removing the stain as you blot and rinse thoroughly. Alternatively, you can lay the stained area on top of a clean dry white towel and apply nail polish remover to the ink stain and blot with another clean white cloth, removing the stain as you blot and again, rinse thoroughly. Apply your normal liquid laundry detergent onto the ink stain and allow the garment to sit for 3-5 minutes. Wash in the warmest water that the fabric can tolerate.

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