Judith A. Wakefield
With holiday entertaining, spills, sloshes,
spots and stains are a definite possibilities.
Here are some tips for dealing with these small disasters.
First, donít make them worse. Donít delay in taking care of a stain. Fresh spots are much
easier to remove than old ones that have penetrated the fabric and set.
According to studies by the International Fabricare Institute, after one week,
20 percent of difficult stains could not be removed by dry cleaners; after 3
weeks, 47 percent were permanent.
Second, work from the back side of the stain. Apply stain removers and
solutions to the underside of the stain with the soiled area face down on a
clean paper towel. You want to
force the stain off, not through the fabric.
If laundering a stained washable garment, donít dry it in the dryer until
you see that all of the stain has been removed.
The heat can set any remaining stain and make it impossible to remove.
Let the garment air dry.
For BEVERAGE SPILLS (including coffee, milk, wine) on washable fabrics blot up
the liquid with paper towels and rinse area with cool water as soon as
possible. Once you have the
garment home, soak it in cool water for 30 minutes then rub laundry detergent
into the stain and wash as usual.
Soda spills on clothing may dry and not leave a stain but over time the sugars
will caramelize and form a stain that is difficult to remove.
Wash garments that have had spills even if a stain doesnít show.
On dry clean-only garments flush the area immediately with cool water.
Blot with a clean, white cloth or white paper towels, donít rub.
Take the garment to a reputable drycleaner as soon as possible. Point
out the stain and tell the attendant what it is.
CANDLE WAX can splash if you bump into a burning candle or are moving a candle
around. Be sure to place candles
carefully where they are not around flammable items.
To remove candle wax, first
scrape off what you can with a dull knife.
Then place the stain between paper towels and press with a warm iron
from the back of the fabric. The
heat melts the wax and itís absorbed into the paper towel.
As wax is absorbed, move clean towel areas over and under the spot so
as much as possible can be absorbed. Sponge
any remaining stain with a non-flammable dry cleaning fluid.
Air dry then rub with detergent and
launder as usual. If
traces of color remain, launder again using bleach (chlorine or color-safe)
according to fabric instructions. If
on dry cleanable garment, follow
the same steps of pressing to melt and absorb wax then take the garment to the
drycleaner. Point out the stain
to the attendant, tell them what the stain was and what you have done so they
will know what and where it is and they can treat it accordingly.