SPOT CLEANING TIPS

GREASE

(oil, mayonnaise, butter, margarine) After treating the stain with a dry solvent (like mineral spirits or acetone), rinse with isopropyl alcohol and dry thoroughly. Spray the area with the diluted dishwashing-soap solution and soak in an enzyme-detergent before washing.

GRASS

Apply a dry solvent to the stain (making sure to do so in a well-ventilated area). Remove as much of the stain as possible by pressing with cheesecloth and dabbing with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse stain with isopropyl alcohol and allow to dry. Apply an enzyme detergent and wash according to care instructions.

LIPSTICK

Begin by scraping as much of the stain off as possible. Apply a dry solvent to the area and dab with a soft brush. Rinse the area with isopropyl alcohol. Continue this process until no pigment remains and allow to dry. Apply diluted dishwashing-soap solution and an enzyme detergent, and wash as usual.

RED WINE

Flush the area with the diluted dishwashing-soap mixture and dab gently with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse with water and apply vinegar, dabbing lightly, allowing the item to sit for a few minutes before repeating the process. If the stain persists, let it sit for a few moments after treating with hydrogen peroxide. A few drops of ammonia may be added to the area if the hydrogen peroxide does not remove all of the stain. Rinse with water, apply an enzyme detergent and wash. If the stain still exists, treat with a powdered nonchlorinated color-safe bleach (like sodium percarbonate) and wash again.

WHITE WINE

Rinse the area with cool water and apply the diluted dish-soap solution. After applying an enzyme detergent, launder as usual.

TEA OR COFFEE

Rinse the area thoroughly with vinegar or lemon juice and then, if necessary, apply a stronger bleach. If the beverage contained milk or sugar, treat with diluted dishwashing-soap solution and then wash with an enzyme detergent.

GUM OR WAX

First freeze the substance by placing in a freezer or applying ice cubes, then try to crack off as much as possible. To eliminate the remainder of the substance use an oil solvent or mineral spirits, rinsing with isopropyl alcohol. Allow to dry and use an enzyme detergent.

CHOCOLATE

Remove as much chocolate as possible and apply the diluted dish soap. Treat with an enzyme detergent and wash according to care instructions.

SAUCES

(ketchup, BBQ, marinara) Remove as much sauce as possible and treat stain with diluted dish soap before soaking in lukewarm water. Use white vinegar to eliminate any remaining color, then apply an enzyme detergent and wash as normal. If the stain is still present, apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide, allowing it to sit. Finally, rinse and apply again with an enzyme detergent.

MUSTARD

Rinse the area thoroughly with white vinegar and wash with dishwashing detergent.

VINAIGRETTE

Follow the instructions for a grease stain and then rinse the area thoroughly with vinegar. Use an enzyme detergent.

SOY SAUCE

Spray the diluted dishwashing soap and dab with a soft brush. Rinse with water and then dab with vinegar, allowing stain to sit for a few minutes before rinsing again. Hydrogen peroxide may be used to treat any remaining stain. If the stain persists after that, a few drops of ammonia may be added to the wetted area, which should then be rinsed with water. Apply an enzyme detergent to the area and wash according to garment care instructions. A nonchloronated color-safe bleach (like sodium percarbonate) may be used to treat the area if, after washing, the stain is still present. Finally, rewash the garment.

INK (BALLPOINT)

Using a can of aerosol hair spray, saturate the stain and allow it to sit for a few moments before laundering as normal.

INK (FELT-TIP)

First line the border of the stain with petroleum jelly to protect the area around it. Then determine whether isopropyl alcohol or water will more effectively remove the ink by the following test: Dip one cotton swab in water and another in isopropyl alcohol. Apply each to the stain and see which removes more ink. If the water-dipped cotton swab removed more, apply the diluted dishwashing soap to the stain, and then rinse with cold water. If the alcohol worked better, apply isopropyl alcohol to the stain. Use a dry solvent on any remaining pigment, and allow to dry. Flush with the diluted dishwashing soap solution and cold water. Then wash as directed by the garment care label.

MUD

Remove as much mud as possible, then apply the diluted dishwashing soap solution and allow stain to soak. Finally, treat with an enzyme detergent and wash as usual.