Out, damned spot!

April 29, 2016

It’s an occupational hazard of any job. Whether it’s food, ink, oil, or grease, your clothes are gonna get stained. It’s simply an ugly fact of life that, for one reason or another, you will eventually need to remove a stain. Work uniforms in particular are vulnerable to all kinds of smudges, smears, and splatters. When that moment comes, make sure you take care of it in a quick and effective way.

Most stain removers require a combination of different chemical strategies to mask or remove the stains. There isn’t one catch-all method for stain removal, but a plethora of chemical reactions that clean everything from grass to blood (though, in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, if you have blood on your clothes, maybe laundry shouldn’t be your first concern).

The best stain removers simply remove the stain without damaging the fabric, and generally involves one or more of the following techniques:

Dissolving your stain

In general, you should use a solvent that is chemically similar to your stain. If you have a water-based stain, for instance, use a water-based solvent (club soda, soapy water, etc.). Likewise, if you have a butter or oil stain, use an alcohol or hydrocarbon solvent.

Breaking up your stain

Stain molecules can be broken apart by enzymes or other proteins found in stain removers. Oxidizers (e.g., chlorine bleach, borax, peroxide, etc.) can also be used to break up the chemical bonds in a stain, rendering it colorless or lifting it away.

Hiding your stain

When all else fails, let’s just hide the thing. Some stain removers contain whiteners, which don’t clean the stain insofar as they make them invisible. Bleaches, for example, oxidize the colored molecules of the stain so it doesn’t appear as dark.

So, how do you choose which technique? Like most things in life, it’s important to test the water before you dive in completely. Try the stain remover on a small or unimportant part of your uniform — just to ensure it doesn’t discolor or react badly to the chemical. The last thing you wanna do is make the stain worse, so start with the least damaging stain removal technique and work your way up.

For serious stains, contact Australian Uniform online today, or give us a call to speak with a laundry professional.