I know people who travel with a portable stain pen for disasters, but this doens’t hae to be the way. Even something as simple as Ivory soap works well for stains. It’s mild and it doesn’t contain moisturizers, deodorants, and other unnecessary additives. Other mild white bar soaps will work, too. For stain removal, plain old soap works magic. Here’s how:
1. Dampen the stained garment with cold water.
2. Rub a bar of Ivory soap directly into the stain, then rinse.
3. If that doesn’t remove the stain, rub Ivory soap on the stain again, and then soak the fabric for 30 minutes or so in cold water with a bit of powdered detergent dissolved in it. (If you forget and leave stuff soaking longer, it doesn’t really matter; you won’t hurt the fabric.) Rinse.
4. If that still doesn’t work, rub more bar soap into the stain, scrub it with a scrub brush (taking care not to damage the fabric), and rinse.
5. If a second scrubbing attempt doesn’t remove the stain, blot it gently with some color-safe bleach (oxygen-bleach, not chlorine bleach) diluted with water, then rinse with clean water to remove all of the bleach.
- For coffee and tea stains, get to it with soap and water as soon as possible.
- For fruit stains, apply lemon juice, if that doesn’t work, then try the bar soap method.
- For oil and grease, sprinkle cornstarch or baking soda on the stain, then place the garment, stain side down, on a large rag on top of an ironing board. Iron with a hot iron on the wrong side of the stain. Most oil and grease stains will come out.
- For rust stains, soak fabric spotted with brown rust stains (which sometimes come from hard water) in a solution of 1 part lemon juice and 1 part water for at least 30 minutes. Do not use chlorine bleach on rust stains.