When it comes to general housekeeping, it sometimes seems that everyone and their mother (literally!) have tried-and-true tips and tricks they absolutely swear by, especially when it comes to caring for your clothing. Some are useful, while others … well, not so much.
One particular area where there seems to be an excess of confusion? How to remove stains. We’ve heard so many remedies to the point where we simply had to look into what really works, and what’s nothing but fashion folklore. Below, we’ve compiled 20 clever tricks that work when it comes to lifting stains on everything from silk to leather, and everything in between. Read on to get educated!
1. Soak red wine stains in white wine, then cover the stain with a thick baking soda paste. Let it sit a few hours, then wash as usual.
2. Remove white deodorant marks from a garment by gently rubbing the protective foam used on dry-cleaning hangers against the fabric.
3. If you get an oil stain on your favorite leather handbag (Chanel, maybe?), coat the mark with baby powder and let it stand overnight. By morning, the stain should be gone. If a bit still remains, repeat the process until the stain is completely gone.
4. Due to its high level of surfactants, Dawn dish detergent is especially successful at removing grease and oil stains from clothing.
5. Use shaving cream and a washcloth to remove liquid makeup from shirt collars.
6. If you get wax on a piece of clothing, layer wax paper over the hardened wax and then run an iron over it to loosen it up. Once you pull off the paper, the wax should come right out with it.
7. To clean dirt off suede, remove the crust from a piece of bread and allow it to become stale. Gently rub dirt and stains with the edge of the stale bread, and they’ll disappear. To de-scuff suede, use an eraser or nail file.
8. Use hairspray to remove a lipstick stain.
9. If blush or bronzer breaks in your handbag, pre-moistened makeup removing wipes will clean up the loose powder flawlessly.
10. Spritzed some perfume onto your silk dress by accident? Apply a few drops of denatured alcohol on a cheesecloth pad and sponge the area from the outside in.
11. According to Cleaning Tips, remove to stubborn sweats stains by applying a mixture of cream of tartar, crushed aspirin, and warm water to the area. Wait twenty minutes, then rinse with warm water.
12. To remove watermarks from leather boots, add a few drops of vinegar to a bowl of cool water and scrub the stains with a soft bristle brush until stains are no longer visible. Let dry overnight.
13. Windex restores the glossy sheen on patent leather without doing any damage.
14. Use a lemon wedge to remove excess or streaky self-tanner on your body.
15. Spilled coffee or tea? Sponge the stain with lukewarm water before gently blotting with a bit of glycerin.
16. Spray shirts prone to sweat stains with lemon juice before washing. The natural acid dissolves alkaline sweat reside that could cause yellow discoloration.
17. If you’ve dripped chocolate onto a silk garment, scrape off as much as possible with a blunt edge, then gently brush the stain with warm, soapy water. According to Cleaning Tips, If the brown mark remains, sponge it with a solution of equal parts denatured alcohol and household ammonia, then rinse it with warm water.
18. According AskMen, fresh blood stains are best removed by soaking the garment in cold water with a sprinkle of ammonia for 20 minutes. If the stain has already set, dampen it with warm water, then apply some unseasoned (this is important) meat tenderizer, making a paste over the stain. Cover with a paper towel and make sure it stays moist. The next day, rinse off the paste with water mixed with a little bit of ammonia and wash normally.
19. To remove ink stains on cotton, gently use rubbing alcohol, then wash. If it’s on polyester, spray liberally with hair spray and pat with a clean, dry cloth, before throwing the item into the machine.
20. Remember: When it comes to stains, never forcefully rub or pound—this further ingrains marks. Instead, always blot.