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Stain Removal From Washable Fabrics

Unknown stains

Follow each step until stain is removed. Then wash garment according to care label instructions.

  • Soak the stain in cold water for 20 minutes. Work liquid laundry detergent into area and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Rinse. If you suspect that it might be rust, treat with rust remover before using bleach. Launder in the washer using the regular cycle with hot or warm water. Silk and wool should be soaked in warm water and agitated very briefly if at all. Air dry.
  • Soak the stain overnight in an enzyme presoak. Launder.
  • Sponge stain with dry cleaning fluid. Let stand for 20 minutes. Rub with detergent. Rinse thoroughly
  • If fabric can be bleached, mix equal parts liquid chlorine bleach and water and apply with an eye dropper. Do not use on wool, silk, spandex, or non-colorfast items. For these fabrics, sprinkle oxygen bleach on the stain and dip briefly in vary hot or boiling water. Launder immediately.
If stain remains after all these steps have been completed, nothing can be done to remove it.

References

  • Iowa State University Cooperative Extension Service. Quick 'n Easy Stain Removal. Ames, Iowa, 1986.
  • Johnson Wax. Form ED2-11. Laundry Products. Shout. 1989.
  • Maytag. Stain Removal Guide Form number 19 YG1087
  • North Central Regional Cooperative Extension. Stain Removal for Washable Fabrics. Publication 64. Extension Services of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, 1979.
  • Proctor and Gamble Educational Services. The How to Clean Handbook, 1986.
  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension. FACTS: A General Guide to Stain Removal. West Lafayette, Indiana, 1979.
  • Soap and Detergent Association. Laundering Problems — Causes, Solutions, Preventive Measures, n.d.
  • Soap and Detergent Association. Removing Stains from Washable Items, n.d.
  • United States Department of Agriculture. Removing Stains from Fabrics. Home and Garden Bulletin number 62. Washington, D.C., 1976.
  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Recommended Procedure for Removing Liquid Paper Correction Fluid From Clothing, n.d.

MP663, reviewed November 2002

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