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How to Remove Stains From Fabric

Stains happen, and when they do, it’s important to know how to correctly get rid of them- and fast. Catching fresh stains makes removing them much easier and prevents them from becoming permanent. Here are the necessary steps you need to take on the various types of fabrics available.

Overview of Stains on Fabric

There are many different types of stains that can leave their mark on fabrics. Deodorant, sweat and armpit stains are common on shirts, while blood, mildew and mold, and grease and oil stains can occur on any item of clothing including pants, blouses and jackets. Whether you’re trying to clean off fruit juices or water marks, however, you have to know what type of fabric you’re dealing with, as some require special care.

How to Remove Stains From Special Types of Fabrics

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Removing Stains From Leather

Leather pants, coats and jackets typically require washing about once a year. However, if you have a stain, such as an ink and pen stain, you need to clean it immediately. With leather, spot treating is the best option. Remove as much liquid as possible. Mix your stain remover with warm water, then apply it to the stained area with a sponge. Rinse it off with a wet cloth to get rid of any residue from the detergent, then blot dry. After allowing the area to dry, be sure to apply a leather conditioner to keep the leather flexible and soft.

Removing Stains From Polyester

Polyester is a durable fabric that can handle traditional stain removal methods as well as machine washing and drying without becoming damaged. However, be careful not to use bleach or color-safe bleach when removing stains from this fabric. Bleach can cause yellowing, especially on white clothes.

Removing Stains From Silk

Before removing stains from silk, always check the maintenance label to see if the garment can be washed by hand or must be dry cleaned. Spot treatment is best for dry-clean only silk, while other kinds of silk can handle gentle hand washing in warm water using Perwoll Care for stain removal.

Removing Stains From Suede

Suede is a type of leather with raised and buffed fibers. Stains can not only ruin the look of your suede clothing and homeware, but can also ruin their velvety touch. In most cases, professional cleaning is necessary to both get rid of the stain and restore the nap. If you decide to do it yourself, use a clean, soft cloth to draw out as much moisture as possible. Allow the area to completely dry, then check to see if the stain is gone. If it hasn’t, apply a small amount of cool water to the area and blot with the soft cloth again until nothing remains. Use a suede brush to restore the nap on the fabric after it dries.

Removing Stains From Cotton

Cotton is a durable and breathable fabric prone to sweat and armpit stains as well as the odor that comes with them. Pre-treating the stains and machine washing works well on this fabric. Be cautious about using bleach and bleach products, however. This detergent can damage the fibers in the cotton.

Removing Stains From Linen

Linen is porous and breathable, which is what makes it the perfect summer fabric. However, this also means it can hold onto stains. With this type of fabric, you may need to let your stain remover settle into the stain for 30 minutes to an hour. Check the care label carefully to see what the wash temperature should be and whether the linen is machine washable.

Removing Stains From Wool

Wool is a delicate fabric that can unravel in the washing machine. For this reason, it’s important to check the care label before tackling a stain. Some wool items are dry-clean only, while others can be hand washed. The secret to removing stains from wool is acting quickly and blotting with lukewarm water and your stain remover to prevent the stain from spread deeper into the woolen fibers.

Removing Stains From Other Fabrics

Pay close attention to the fabric care label on each type of fabric and laundry type. Some, like rayon, viscose, satin, georgette, chiffon and cashmere are sensitive and will become damaged in the washer. They must be hand washed gently when removing stains.

Synthetics like spandex, acrylic, acetate, plastic and nylon are machine washable and actually resist water-based stains, making these types of stains easy to remove if handled quickly. Microfiber can either be hand washed or machine washed when removing stains, but must not be placed in the washer with other types of clothes, especially cotton.

Getting Special Types of Stains Out of Fabrics

Liquid stains: Blood, Ink and Pen, Water, Coffee and Tea, Juices and Wine

  • Blot away as much of the liquid as possible
  • Turn the fabric inside out and flush with cool water
  • Apply detergent and stain remover
  • Wash and rinse

Solids and semi-solids: Grease and oil, mustard ketchup and sauces, vomit, fruits, and vegetables

  • Scrape off excess of stained fabric
  • Blot to remove remaining liquid
  • Apply stain remover
  • Wash and rinse

Powdery and downy stains: Turmeric, mildew and mold, and makeup

  • Brush or shake off as much of the stain as possible (do so outside to prevent further stains)
  • Apply stain remover
  • Wash and rinse

Special Conditions of Stains on Fabric: How to Remove Dried Stains

Old and dried stains can be hard to get out. If there are solid materials on the stain, such as mud or food, scrape off as much as possible with spoon. Then, soak the fabric in warm water and your stain remover to revive the stain. Soak for at least a couple hours or overnight for stubborn stains.

Removing Stains on Fabric: Step by Step

  1. Choose a stain remover that works for your fabric type and color
  2. Pre-treat the stain, soaking if necessary for stubborn or dried stains
  3. Machine wash or hand wash the fabric
  4. Check the stain after washing to see if the stain is gone

Choose a Detergent and Stain Remover

Consider your fabric type and color, as well as the garment label before choosing a stain remover. Use:

  • Persil Color Megaperls® for colors
  • Persil Universal Megaperls® for whites
  • Sil 1-for-All Stain Gel or Sil 1-for All Stain Salt for colorfast clothing
  • Perwoll Care for fine and delicate fabrics

Pre-Treat the Stain

Scrape off excess solid material and blot up any liquid. Flush with cool water from the backside of the stain if needed, then apply your fabric Sil stain remover. Let sit for a couple of minutes (or longer depending on stain type and fabric type,) then rinse with cool water.

Wash and Rinse

Using the stain-removing detergent, wash the fabric as soon as possible. Fresh spots are much more easy to remove than old ones. Use the ‘heavily soiled’ dosage on the detergent’s label. For most stains, wash in the hottest temperature possible that is safe for the fabric.

Check the Stain

After washing the clothing, check to see if the stain is gone. If it isn’t, repeat the pre-treatment process and wash it again.

Have a stubborn stain you want to get rid of? No matter what type of fabric your clothing is made of, getting rid of most stains is possible with these steps.