How to remove food and drink stains

How to remove food and drink stains
Clothes and linen often get stained, but if you act quickly you can easily get rid of stains before washing or dry cleaning. Here’s how.
Clothes and linen often get stained, but if you act quickly you can easily get rid of stains before washing or dry cleaning. Here’s how.
- Cherry stains: Clean with a cloth soaked in milk, leave for 2 hours, wash with soapy water, rinse and then dry.
- Grease (butter or oil): Soapy water removes stains from white cotton. Don’t forget to place absorbant paper or a clean cloth under the fabric. On coloured textiles, use water mixed with a little ammonia. On silk, sprinkle some talc on the stain, let it absorb then brush off gently.
- Chewing gum: You need to cool these stains with a plastic bag filled with ice. Once it’s solid, scrape it off with a spoon or a spatula. If any traces remain, remove them with white vinegar.
- Chocolate stains: Often cold water is enough. If the stain is incrusted, scrape off the dry chocolate then blot it with a cloth soaked with soapy water. If it still won't come off, rub it with a cotton cloth soaked in white vinegar, then rinse with lukewarm water.
- Beer stains: On silk, remove the stain by blotting with a cloth soaked in a mix of equal parts of water and methylated spirit.
-Alcohol stains: Absorb the stains with blotting paper or a sponge then dab with a cotton cloth soaked in a little water. If the stain is older, then it can be removed first with a mix with one part water and one part alcohol and then with water and 25% acetic acid. Rinse and then dry. On synthetic fibres, eliminate stains by dabbing them with a cloth soaked in water and washing-up liquid. If the stains don’t disappear with soapy water, rub them with a little dry natural soap. Leave to react and then rinse.
- Coffee stains: Rub natural soap on the stain to wet it. You can also remove coffee stains with lukewarm water mixed with egg yolk. Let it react and then rinse again with lukewarm water. On silk and wool, water mixed with surgical spirit also gives good results.
- Fruit and vegetable stains. You can remove fruit stains from natural fabrics with an equal mix of water and alcohol then with a mix of water and 25% acetic acid. On wool, blot the stain with a cloth soaked in a little vinegar, then rinse. On synthetic fibres, it’s better to use soapy water. If the stain resists, then discolour the stained area with oxygenated water at 10 volumes, and rinse immediately.
- Red fruit stains: Dab stain with a cloth soaked with lemon juice and rinse.
- Sauce stains: Dilute the stain with cold water and then rub it with slightly diluted vinegar. You can also use bicarbonate of soda and brush delicately without rubbing. Rinse with hot water.
- Sugar stains. These types of stains can be removed easily with lukewarm water.
- Spinach stains. These stains are removed first by rubbing with half a raw potato and then washing the fabric with soap. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.
- Carrot stains. On white cotton, dab the stain with a cloth soaked in surgical spirit, then rinse once in bleach and a second time in water. On delicates, it’s better to use methylated spirit or water mixed with ammonia.
- Soda stains: If you act straight away, sprinkle the stain with flour, or, better still, with clay. Once the stain has dried, brush it, then if you need to, dab it with a cloth soaked in a little soapy water to remove it. If the stain is old, you need to dab it with a cloth soaked in meths or water mixed with ammonia, and rinse.
- Fruit juice stains: Wet the stained area in hot milk as soon as possible. Vinegar and carbonated water are also effective. Wet it again every 30 minutes until it disappears. If the stain does not go away, rub the fabric with glycerine. Let it act for 15 minutes then rinse with lukewarm water.
- Wine stains: Sprinkle cornflour on the wet stain immediately. When dry, you need to brush it then dab it with a cloth soaked in milk. A little soapy water and the stain should disappear. If the wine has just been spilt, dab it with a cloth and then rub with a sponge soaked in carbonated water. If the stain remains, soak it in hot milk for one hour or more if necessary then rinse. Vinegar and cold water can also be very effective.
- Vinaigrette stains: Sprinkle the stain with talc or bicarbonate of soda to absorb the grease. Let it act, then brush lightly without rubbing too much, and finally rinse with water.
- Ketchup stains: Rinse with cold water, then soak the stain in diluted white vinegar. Let it act and soak it again. If the stain remains, soak for 2 hours in undiluted vinegar or in hot milk, then wash.
- Tea stains: If you act quickly, these can be easily removed with soapy water. Rinse in vinegared water. Old stains can be cleaned using cooled glycerine and soapy water. On synthetic fabrics, tea stains can be cleaned with lemon juice, or a mix of white vinegar and alcohol is also very effective. Don't forget to rinse!
- Tomato stains: If the stain is fresh, blot it with a cloth soaked in milk, sponge and wash.
- Milk stains: Remove with 28% ammonia.
- Egg stains: Most of the time cold water is enough. If the stain is old, use a cloth soaked in bleach. If this isn't enough to remove the stain, use oxygenated water.
Published by Sarah Horrocks
8 Apr 2008
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