Natural remedies for removing clothing stains

We've all been irritated by a stain on a new tablecloth or a new shirt. Don't despair — milk, fruit, coffee and other stains may seem disastrous, but you can remedy them quickly and easily. Here are a few tips.

Natural remedies for removing clothing stains

Basic rules

Not all stains should be treated the same way. A rule of thumb: the fresher and damper the spot, the easier and more completely you can remove it.

  • Water-soluble stains are the most common. All you'll need to remove them is tap water, at least when they're fresh. Treat albuminous stains (protein-based stains such as blood, mayonnaise and egg) only with cold or warm water.
  • Treat older stains with a mixture of 30 millilitres (two tablespoons) of water and 45 millilitres (three tablespoons) of vinegar. Leave mixture to dry and then rinse. When removing a stain, start from the outside and work toward the middle. Avoid using hot water, or you risk setting the stain (especially if you don't know what kind of stain it is). To avoid leaving an outline of the stain, blow-dry the wet area.
  • If possible, scrape a dried stain with a spoon or soften it with glycerin before treating it.

Glycerin

This colourless, odourless, rather thick non-toxic alcohol is also known as glycerol. Glycerin is commonly used in pharmaceutical and personal care products like cosmetics, soaps and toothpaste, as well as in certain food products. Glycerin, in its pure form, can be used to treat a number of minor medical conditions, including calluses, bedsores, rashes and cuts. But the substance is usually used at home to soften up tough, dried-on fabric stains from things like coffee, berries and lipstick. It is also used as an antifreeze on windowpanes; rub windows with glycerin before the temperature drops and they won't freeze over.

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