A dad’s guide to stain removal (… yes we are serious)
If you have a toddler or an active young person then changing their clothes 3-4 times per day might seem like the norm? Well apart from putting them in dirt proof clothes you’re probably also doing a lot of washing and may wonder how to get some of those damn stains out …
Well, fear not, as usual DIYFather boldly goes where no dad has gone before … a recent investigation into why our clothes are getting ruined and how to get rid off all sorts of nasty stains has revealed this very valuable information below. This should actually be in ALL parenting books (and yes we will put it in the 2nd edition of Call Me Dad). The stain removal tips will hopefully help you save some of the clothes for round 2 or make for a presentable item on your next clothes swap event. OK – here it goes – make sure that you treat the stains ASAP and they actually come out (I tried!!!)
Sponge washable non-synthetic fabrics with meths. Soak glass jars in hot water, then wipe with meths. Getting label residue of plastic is more difficult, as some glue removers also damage plasitc. Try eucalyptus oil or diluted meths. Or you can laboriously pluck off the residue using another piece of sticky tape.
Soak in a solution of 3 parts cool water / 1 part white vinegar.
Soak for several hours in a solution of 1 Tsp salt / 600 ml water, then rinse and soak in a solution of 1 part ammonia / 5 parts water.
Scrape away as much as possible. Place stain between layers of absorbent paper and press with a warm iron, changing the paper as it becomes soiled. Sponge residue with meths.
Freeze with ice and break off as much as possible. Treat the residue with turps and washed in hot soapy water.
Coffee / tea
Soak in warm water with a squirt of dishwashing detergent. Lubricate old stains first with glycerine.
Sponge with meths. If that doesn’t work try nail polish remover.
Treat as for candle wax
Deodorants / antiperspirants
Sponge or soak in a solution of 1 Tbsp ammonia / 1 cup warm water with a squirt of dishwashing detergent. Treat residue traces with turps.
Use an enzyme based laundry detergent on washables. For non-washables, dry with a paper towel, the lighly sponge with a solution of 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar / 3 tsp dishwashing detergent / 1 cup warm water.
Fats & oils
Sprinkle with talc, leave for 30 minutes then scoop off. Lubricate older stains with mechanics hand-cleaner or glycerine, then sponge with dishwashing detergent and warm water. Treat residual stains with turps.
Rinse immediately with large quantities of lukewarm water. Treat with equal parts meths and ammonia.
Fruit / fruit juice
Sponge or soak in warm water with a squirt of dishwashing detergent. Treat residual stains with meths.
Soak cellulose-based glue in cold water with a squirt of dishwashing detergent. Meths works on PVA. Other glues may only respond to nail polish remover: spot test first.
Sponge with meths, dry, then soak in water with a squirt of dishwashing detergent.
Sponge with meths.
Ink (ballpoint pen)
Sponge with meths, then rinse thoroughly in cold water. Repeat as necessary.
Ink (liquid and marker)
Remove excess with absorbent paper. Sponge or dip in a solution of equal parts meths and ammonia (spot test on coloured fabrics first). Rinse in warm water.
Lipstick / makeup
Treat with meths, then soak in a solution of 5 parts dishwashing detergent / 1 part ammonia. Rinse thoroughly.
Mildew / mould
Treat white cotton or linen with a mixture of 1 Tbsp chlorine bleach / 1 L warm soapy water. On coloured fabrics dilute bleach even more, and be prepared for some fading.
Milk / cream / icecream
Soak in warm water and dishwashing detergent. Treat residual fat stains with turps.
Scrape away as much as possible and sponge with turps. For washable fabrics rub glycerine into the stain. Rinse under a hot tap, then soak in water with dishwashing detergent.
Treat non-synthetic fabrics with nail polish remover: spot test first. Treat any residual marks with meths.
Scrape of as much as possible and sponge residue with turps. If paint has dried, soften with glycerine first.
Paint (water-based and latex)
Wash away fresh paint with cold water. Remove residue with meths. Once dry these paints are virtually impossible to remove.
Apply glycerine, then soak in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water.
Sponge with a solution of 1 part ammonia / 5 parts water, then rinse. Follow up by soaking in a solution of 1 part white vinegar / 3 parts water.
Spread over a bowl of boiling water and sprinkle with lemon juice. After a few minutes rinse well and repeat. Boil stubborn stains in a solution of 4 Tbsp white vinegar / 600 ml water. Rinse well. (Not suitable for wool, silk or acrylic)
Light marks can often be removed by immediately washing in warm soapy water, rinsing and drying in the sun.
Shoe polish / cleaners
Sponge with dishwashing detergent, then soak in warm soapy water. On non-washables, or for stubborn marks, sponge with a solution of equal parts meths and ammonia, and rinse well.
Absorb excess with tissues, then sponge with meths.
Tar / bitumen
Scrape of as much as possible. Sponge with turps to soften. Rub vaseline into stain, leave for 30 minutes, then wash with soapy water.
Sponge with dishwashing detergent, then rinse. Treat residue with meths.
Soak in a solution of 1 part ammonia / 5 parts water, followed by a solution of 1 part white vinegar / 3 parts water. Or use a nappy soaker.
Sponge with turps or nail polish remover.
Flush with lots of cold water, the pour salt on the stain, and let it stand for an hour. Scrape off the salt and rinse thoroughly.
Good luck and if you know any more please let us know.