1st Lake Blog

Dealing With Stains And Spots


If your clothes have been unfortunate enough to bear the brunt of a spill or stain do not fret! The solution could be as close as your kitchen cabinets and cheaper than the harsh chemicals you would regularly purchase.

For starters, you can create a handy soap jelly which can be a great pre-treatment for stained laundry. You can keep a jar handy in the laundry room:

  • To make your soap jelly, all you’ll need are a glass jar, a laundry soap bar (or non-perfume soap bar), and hot water!
  • Take your bar of soap and shave it down until the shavings fill half of the jar.
  • Fill the rest of the jar with hot water (boiling if the jar can handle that much heat without shattering), then cover with the lid.
  • Allow the water to soak into the soap a bit to soften it up, then shake it hard or stir it thoroughly until the soap is dissolved.
  • Once the soap is dissolved, allow it to cool completely.
  • The soap and water mixture will form a soap jelly that is ideal for using on laundry stains.
  • Just apply to any of those stubborn clothing stains using a soft brush.
  • Make sure to scrub gently to avoid damaging the cloth.

All stains are not created equal. Here are a few tips on getting out the most difficult stains without ruining your clothing, upholstery, or other fabric and surfaces.

As with any chemical, spot testing in an inconspicuous area beforehand for color fastness is advised.

Blood Stains

  • Rub hydrogen peroxide gently on clothing and furniture to remove blood.
  • Rub moistened corn starch into blood stains on clothing rinsed in cold water. Place clothing in the sun to dry and then run through a normal wash cycle.
  • Cover fresh or dry stains with meat tenderizer and sprinkle on cool water. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes and then sponge off with cool water.
  • Stains on leather can be treated with hydrogen peroxide, wipe off when the bubbling stops.

Coffee Stains

  • Rub denatured alcohol into the stain and then rinse with water.
  • Beat an egg yolk, with a white cloth rub the yolk into the stain and then wipe off.
  • Apply a solution of half vinegar and half water and then wash.

Motor Grease/Motor Oil Stains

  • Scrape off as much of the grease as possible, on clothing, rub lard or Vaseline into the stain then launder as usual. The lard or Vaseline may ruin some fabrics, for more delicate items; try a spot stain remover instead.

Juice Stains

  • Red or purple juice can be removed from fabrics by sprinkling salt on the stain as soon as possible. The salt will absorb the liquid forming a paste that can be easily scraped up.

Gum Stains

  • Use an ice cube to harden the gum and then a dull knife to chip it carefully away.
  • Cooking spray will also help remove gum from clothing and from hair.
  • FUN FACT: Gum on your face? Use more gum to blot it off!

Red Wine Stains

  • If you’re at a wine gathering and get red wine spilled on your shirt or blouse, someone else’s white wine may help to save the day! Grab a napkin to dab the wine and neutralize it from dripping elsewhere on your clothing. Then, if you have a bottle or glass of white wine handy, pour it over the red wine stain and thoroughly dab it.
  • As crazy as it may sound, white wine will neutralize the red wine and make the stain vanish! With the stain neutralized, you can throw the item of clothing in with your next load of laundry. But, beware! Make sure the stain is completely gone before you toss your item in with the other laundry! The heat of the dryer will cause the stain to set if it’s still present, making it a permanent part of the garment. The same rule applies to an iron, so never iron a stained piece of clothing!
  • You can also use a dab of shaving cream (the kind in the can) to remove red wine stains from upholstery. To remove a wine stain from clothing, soak the fabric in boiling milk.

Crayon Marks

  • Toothpaste or an ammonia soaked cloth will remove crayon marks from painted walls.
    PREVENTION: Crayola now produces crayons which are washable!

Heel Marks

  • Use a pencil eraser to remove black heel marks from flooring. Before washing the floor, rubbing toothpaste on the mark will also help in removal.

Ink, Ballpoint Pen

  • Saturate fabric with an alcohol based hair spray then blot the stain with a rag (not a paper towel), and then wash as usual. This method may ruin some sensitive fabrics like silk, always spot test this method to make sure you don’t make a bigger mess than what you started with.

Magic Marker Stains

  • Hairspray will remove marker from hard surfaces and some fabrics. Some permanent markers are just that permanent. Some may fade with repeated washings.

Nail Polish Stains

  • Acetone will remove this from most fabrics but synthetic fibers (ex. Polyester, carpet) will dissolve with acetone use. Check the label of your clothing before using acetone.
  • If you spill nail polish on a wood surface, do NOT wipe it up while it is still wet, doing so will remove the color from the wood. Wait until the polish is dry and then scrape it off gently with a credit card.

Oil Stains

  • Cover oil stains on fabric with talcum powder, then cover with a paper towel and hot iron the fabric. Launder as usual.

Pencil Marks

  • Believe it or not, fresh rye bread can remove pencil marks from non-washable wallpaper.

Candle Wax Residue

  • Place a piece of facial tissue over the stain and hot iron on top. The wax will melt into the tissue and away from your fabric.
  • Candle wax can be removed from hard floors by using a hair dryer and paper towels to absorb the wax once it melts.

Bookmark this page to remember how to deal with stains and spots!