This Will Never Come Out, Right?

September 25, 2015

They say there’s no use crying over spilled milk, but red wine? That’s another story. If you happen to be throwing a dinner party, there’s bound to be wine spilt on the tablecloth, floor, or more commonly both. If you asked 10 people the best way to removed the resulting stain, I guarantee that you’ll get a variety of responses with just as varied results.

We’ve put our heads together to bust some stain removal myths and give you some solid advice to keep solids from becoming polka dotted.

Myth: All stains can be treated the same

This seems like common sense, but it mostly comes down to misinformation. There are two major types of stains that you will usually encounter. Particulate stains, like blood, are actually suspended little pigments in the material. Using hydrogen peroxide or club soda can help agitate and release these pigments from your rug, shirt or sheets. Oil and tannin based stains tend to coat the textile fibers, and require soaking to help loosen the stain. Finally dye stains, like the tasty but VERY yellow mustard, almost always require a pretreatment with bleach or stain remover.

Myth: Rub the stain to remove it

Your first instincts tell you that you need to get rid of that stain as quickly as possible, which means you’ll start rubbing and scrubbing the stain like you were scrubbing off a barbie. But stop, right there! Rubbing a stain only embeds it further into the textile or carpet. The best way is to use a damp cloth and dab from the outer to the inner part of the stain.

Myth: Hairspray removes ink stains

While it has been debated whether hairspray can help lift ink off of laundry items, it should be approached with caution. Hairspray contains alcohol, meaning it will do more harm than good on certain fabrics, leaving behind another stain for you to deal with. Look at the garment tag and dry clean if recommended, if not a few washes will see the ink out eventually.

Myth: Red wine stains can only be removed with magic

If you spill red wine at a party, you’ll have five people telling you five ways to get the stain out. Honestly, the barrage of theories can get a bit confusing, and trying to combine them may worsen your results. Water, salt, and vinegar are all you need.

Myth: Bad stain? Throw it straight in that washing machine

For stubborn soil and stains (like food, grass and blood), pre-treating the stain before washing is key. Just apply a small amount of detergent direction on the stain and dab before washing as usual. Use cold or lukewarm water if possible and don’t dry the garment until the stain is fully removed, lest you permanently set it.

Myth: Soap is a good starter solution for all stains

Hold the bubbles! Soap will set the pigment in tannin stains, including beer, wine, cologne, tea, coffee, cola drinks, tomato juice, fruit juices made from real berries, felt-tip watercolor markers and washable ink. To remove a tannin stain, apply a non-soap pretreatment detergent,  and allow it to soak for 30 minutes before rinsing in cold water and washing in hot.

Encountered a stain we missed? Send it our way on our LinkedIn page for our 100% Australian advice!