What Are the Best Stain Removal Tips?

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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 23 January 2019
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Every type of stain is different, so specific stain removal tips are highly dependent on the materials that are involved. The most important stain removal tips are to deal with stains as soon as they are discovered, and to never apply heat to a stain until it has been treated. Certain stain removal tips do involve the application of heat, though that is only in very specific circumstances. Some stains should be blotted dry, others need to be soaked in cold water, and in many cases it is necessary to apply another substance to cut, lift or remove the stain. Commercial enzyme products, bleaches, and detergents can be used for stain removal, but there are many different household items that can be useful as well.

The most important tip for removing any kind of stain is that stains become more difficult to remove the longer they are allowed to set. If at all possible, most types of stains should be treated before they have time to dry. After a stain is noticed, it is important to identify where it came from so that the appropriate course of action can be taken. Stains can be broken down into categories based on the materials that are involved, and each category has some specific stain removal tips.


Protein-based stains are fairly common, as this category includes both blood and sweat. Food products, such as eggs and milk, can also leave protein stains. These types of substances should be soaked in cool water, since hot water can cause the stain to set. It can also be useful to add a commercial product capable of breaking down enzymes, though saliva can often remove fresh blood stains.

There are other stain removal tips for virtually every type of substance that is capable of leaving a stain. Milk can often help with wine stains, though if clothing is soiled with juice, wine, and other similar substances, it should be flushed with water first. Oil-based stains can be dealt with by applying cornstarch, which should be brushed on, allowed to dry, and then removed. After these types of stains have been pretreated, they should typically be washed in the hottest water the garment is capable of withstanding.

Bleach is good at removing many different types of stains, but it should be avoided if there is rust involved. Applying bleach to that type of stain can actually make it worse. There are commercial rust removers that can be used instead, though acidic substances such as lemon juice can also help. Another type of stain that can be difficult is caused by various types of ink. It is sometimes possible to remove ballpoint ink stains with a solvent such as acetone, though stains from felt pens are often permanent.



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