Get your stained clothing out of the discarded pile and back into your wardrobe, with this easy stain removing guide.

If you’ve ever had to remove stains from your clothes – caused by ink, mud, coffee/tea, food spills, blood, or some other substance – you know how tough the task can be. And you certainly don’t make it easier by trying the wrong stain removal approach. There is a definite science involved in stain removal, and it pays to follow a certain set of rules.

Try these stain removal tips, in the same order as under:

1 Blot, not rub. The worst thing you can do when trying to clean a stain is to rub the stained fabric fibres over each other. In your attempt to loosen and remove the stain, you end up spreading the stain and helping it penetrate deeper into the clothes’ fibres. This makes it harder to remove the stain. The watchword is ‘blot’, not ‘rub’. Take a paper towel and blot the stain when it still fresh. Do not press hard into the fabric, but make sure you get as much of the excess stain out on the paper towel as possible.

2 Flush with water. Once you have blotted out the excess stain, the next step is to remove any loose stain molecules with clean water. Turn the stained clothing inside out and flush the stain from the back under a jet of running water. Preferably use cool water, though warm water may help on certain kinds of stains (such as coffee and blood stains) but never hot water. This step lightens the stain even further, making it easier for the next stage of removal.

3 Use a stain removing system. Now take a stain removing powder or liquid and use it on the stain as directed. You can use the product directly on the stain as the package mentions, and set it aside before washing. Or you can soak the garment in water, using the powder or liquid as directed. Following this, you can wash the clothing as you always do, with the other laundry and your usual detergent.

4 Soak as directed. When soaking the garment, make sure that you follow instructions to the T. For instance, white clothing must be soaked for at least six hours with the stain remover, while one hour of soaking is sufficient for coloured clothes. The right soaking times help increase the efficacy of the stain remover.

5 Wash and remove the stain. Once you have used the fabric stain remover as directed and soaked the garment, it is time to wash the clothes. This is the final stage, and the stain is considerably weakened by now, if not completely removed. Add some of the stain remover to the laundry load and wash as usual with the detergent you normally use. Once the garment is washed, you will notice that the stain has completely disappeared.


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