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Best Ways To Remove Stains From Your Favourite Clothes

Published by cheree
Published on 15 May 2008

Paint, lippy, grass stains (oi, oi) and jerk chutney from that nom-tastic burger you took down last night, they will end up down your favourite dress. It happens to the most graceful of us. But before you scrub away at what's left of them, restore the calm and read this handy guide on how to remove stains from your best outfits.

Keep your clothes as good as new with these savvy stain-away solutions!

Soak water paint stains with ammonia

Got a little carried away with your arty Sunday? Who hasn't! What is art if it doesn't result in a paint-splattered shirt anyway?

If they are recent, eliminate the stains by dabbing them with a cloth soaked in a mix of water and ammonia. If you've left it until the morning to deal with and the stain is dry, dab it with a cloth soaked in petrol. And avoid candles for a wee while.

Brush off muddy marks

Rolling around in the mud. Always. If you love a country walk in your wellies as much as we do chances are you're gonna get a bit of splash-back straight off those puddles and on to your comfiest jeans.

Let the mud dry and then brush it off. Clean up remaining traces with soapy water or lemon and water and your weekend trews will be good as new.

Rinse and soak fabric softener stains

You're not the first person to overdo it on the fabric softener, we all love to love that fresh linen smell on our sheets. If you do end up tipping half the bottle in and then wonder why there's random splodges of Lenor all over your bed spread then here's what ya gotta do. Rinse the stains with Marseille soap and repeat as many times as needed, making sure the soap foams. Voila.

Bleach out fag ash on your whites

Nothing ruins an outfit like someone else's dirty butts. Fag ash flicks get everywhere this is true but we know exactly how to get rid.

How you tackle the stain depends on the fabric, so be sure to read your labels before you attack. For white cotton place a cloth soaked in oxygenated water on top, rinse with bleach and then with tepid water. For wool and silk clothing, blot with dry Marseille soap, let it react for several hours and then wash and rinse.

Use white spirit on shoe polish smears

We don't get time to polish our shoes up nearly as much as we should but when we do, it's a likely story that we'll end up marking something. Or someone. Doh. Remove the excess with a spatula or a spoon, then wet the stain with a dash of white spirit. It's genius.

Draw out oil spills

Yep, I've been that girl, the one in the brand new maxi skirt, clutching at her super green salad with a generous serving of olive oil only to realise I'm now wearing the salad dressing. Oh and FYI, frantically scrubbing at the stain with detergent may seem like it's making a difference but it's the fastest way to lock in that liquid, you'll need to draw out the oil first before you can wash it.

Sprinkle baking soda generously over the oil spill and leave for an hour before scraping off with a credit card. If the stain is particularly stubborn, treat it with another layer of baking soda and repeat until it no longer turns brown with the excess oil. We've heard ironing over the oil stain with brown paper works too!

Follow up by washing your garment on the hottest washing setting - heat will help melt the oil. Add half a cup of vinegar to your load along with the recommended amount of detergent to make the wash more effective.

Blot and brush away liquid foundation

First remove any excess with a plastic spoon, being careful not to rub the stain into the fabric. Blot with paper towels using a lifting motion and then add a few drops of cleaning solution onto the spot.

Work the solution into the stain using your finger first and then a toothbrush in circular motions. Wash as normal.

Soak ink stains in milk. Yes MILK.

You've bitten the end of the pen and now it's all over your shirt isn't it? Fear not, soaking the stain in milk should do it but lemon juice with added salt also works. This goes for highlighter pens too.

If it still doesn't budge, try using alcohol or bleach on white cotton and for coloured cotton, use a mixture of water and alcohol vinegar. Hairspray can also be very effective at diluting the ink. Spray then dry immediately with a clean cloth. Repeat until the stain disappears.

Give glue the elbow

Another one for the arty / present-wrapping lovers! If the glue has already dried, removing these stains can be difficult. After scraping off the excess, dab with a cloth soaked in methylated spirits or a solvent recommended by the manufacturer. You can also try soaking the stain in white vinegar then dabbing it with a hot wet cloth.

Pour it up on your lippy marks

Follow the liquid foundation rule of thumb, only this time the cleaning solution needs to be alcohol or witch hazel. Got it? And er, obviously don't tell ya fella how to remove that sh*t. If he's cheating, we wanna know about it.

Pickle your grass stains with, wait for it... more vinegar

Soak the stained zone with vinegar, leave to react and then rinse. If the stain doesn't disappear, dab with a cloth soaked in slightly diluted alcohol and rinse through. Try washing again with soap and repeat the rinsing stage.

On white cotton, rub the stain with a cloth soaked with lemon juice, then rinse. On delicate fabric, use meths or water mixed with ammonia.

Treat pollen stains with meths (not the Breaking Bad kind)

As much as we just love to receive flowers, the loose pollen gets. freaking. everywhere. Use a cloth soaked in methylated spirits and get back to appreciating your beautiful bouquet. Ah!

The DIY vinegar dip

Been decorating lately? If you happen to brush up against the plaster simply scrape it off and dab at it with a vinegar-soaked cloth. We're quickly learning that apparently, if you're armed with vinegar and baking soda, you're pretty much prepared for any type of spill.

Talc out soot

Nothing tackles a mass of black, carbonaceous particles quite like talc and powder. Sprinkle it over the soot stain, leave and brush off before washing as normal.

Soak you nail polish spills in acetone

Carefully place the fabric face down on a clean, white cloth or paper towel. Blot a hidden area with acetone first to ensure it's colourfast. If it's safe to proceed, make sure you rotate to a clean bit of the cloth each time you blot away the stain. Simple. If the area is small, you can use a cotton bud instead to avoid spreading the stain.

Cigarette ash on your hair dye stains

Yep, you heard us right. Hair dye and other stains can be removed by dabbing at them with a damp cloth sprinkled with *cold* cigarette ash. Mad but true.

Beat the BO stains with white vinegar

No one wants to be the one partying with their arms pinned to their sides. Gulp. Tackle yellow perspiration stains with a cloth soaked in water mixed with ammonia or white vinegar. See, you will dance again.

If the item is white, use a cloth soaked in oxygenated water. On delicate fabric, dab with a cloth soaked in diluted lemon juice. Leave to dry, then wash.

Iron out deodorant stains

If the deodorant forms a crust, remove it by covering with kitchen roll and pressing with a hot iron. The paper will absorb it. Clever stuff eh!

And finally, what to do with unfortunate event stains (we're talking about pee)

Rinse quickly with warm water. If not, ammonia at 28% or oxygenated water will get rid of these stains. On wool, use water mixed with white vinegar.

Have you got any tips to keep your clothes in tip top condition? Tweet us @sofeminineUK