Smudges, drips, drops, and smears - no matter what their source, the key to keeping them from ruining your favorite clothes is to take quick action before the stain gets the chance to dry.
For most fabrics, this means blotting up the excess or rinsing the stain with cold water. (Don't rub; this spreads the stain and grinds it in deeper.)
When mixed with water, powdered laundry detergents are especially effective at loosening ground-in dirt before washing so it can be carried away during the machine wash.
And liquid detergents can help make oil, grease, and food stains disappear.
And for those really resistant washday challenges: The stain removal tips below can help get rid of the unsightly mess.
The best way to remove blood stains is to rinse or presoak the garment in cold water and wash in cold water with your regular laundry detergent.
Don't use chlorine bleach - it can actually make getting blood out of fabric more difficult.
Instead, use chlorine-free oxygen bleach.
Chocolate stains are always a challenge - as they are usually set (and dry) by the time you get around to tackling them. These chocolate stain removal tips can help.The key to removing chocolate stains from fabric is pretreating or presoaking the garment in warm water with a laundry detergent that contains enzymes.
After applying the stain removal method of choice, launder as usual.
To remove a coffee stain, sponge with or soak the stained area in cold water. Apply a pretreating product on the stain. Wash as usual and air-dry; repeat if the coffee stain remains.
Wash the garment in the wash water temperature recommended on the item's label.
Check that the makeup stain is removed before you pop it into the dryer. If not, repeat the process above and then send it for a spin in the dryer.
To remove an ink stain, place the stain over the mouth of a jar or glass. Hold the fabric taut. Drip rubbing alcohol through the stain so the ink will drop into the container as the soil is removed. Rinse thoroughly and launder as usual.
To remove a juice stain, soak the stained area in cold water, then apply a pretreating product on the stain. Launder as usual following the care label instructions. Air-dry; do not place in dryer until the stain is completely gone.
To remove mildew stains, douse the garment with a diluted solution of bleach and launder as recommended for the garment. For mildewed leather, brush on an antiseptic mouthwash.
To remove urine stains on clothes, cover with salt until all excess liquid is absorbed. Rinse in cold water.
If a residual stain remains, apply white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Launder according to the instructions on the item's fabric care label.
To remove wine stains, generously sprinkle salt on the site of the wine stain to keep additional liquid from saturating the surface. Immerse item in cold water or a solution of borax for 30 minutes. Wash as label instructions recommend.
Brush off as much of the surface dirt as possible. Pretreat or presoak with a laundry detergent. Launder as usual.