Treat Stains Immediately
The longer a spot remains, the more difficult stain removal will be.
- Remove solid materials with a rounded tablespoon, spatula, or edge of a dull knife.
- Blot up spills with clean, white, absorbent materials (towels, napkins, tissues, etc).
- Work from the outer edge of the spot towards the center to prevent rings. Keep blotting, and repeat as necessary.
Always Pretest Stain Removal Agents
Start in an inconspicuous area (under a sofa cushion, on an area of carpet under or behind a piece of furniture) by applying several drops of solution and blotting gently with a clean white towel. If color transfers to the cloth or a color change occurs, a professional cleaner should be consulted. If no color transfer occurs, apply the solution again, wait half an hour to an hour, if possible, and inspect for any damaging color changes.
Treat the Stain
Follow the instructions until the stain is removed. Do not over wet. Use small amounts of the cleaning agents and blot frequently. Always blot, do not rub or brush. It may not be necessary to complete the entire series of steps. The final step is always to rinse carefully the area with water, and then absorb all the remaining moisture with absorbent towels.
Some stains respond slowly. All spots and stains cannot be removed from every fabric due to differences in fibers, dyes, constructions, finishes, composition of the stain, length of time the stain has remained on the article, etc. Some stains require professional treatment.
Build an Emergency Stain Removal Kit
- Alcohol - Use neutral spirits grain alcohol or clear (uncolored) rubbing alcohol. Methanol, ethanol, and isopropanol are appropriate alcohols to use.
- Ammonia Solution - Mix one tablespoon of clear household ammonia with one-half cup of water.
- Bleach - Use hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate, present in Snowy or Clorox II. Do not use chlorine bleach.
- Detergent Solution - Mix one teaspoonful of a colorless, mild detergent or dishwashing liquid in a cup of lukewarm water.
- Dry-Cleaning Solvent - Volatile dry spotter or a commercial spotter such as Carbona, Energine, K2R. Use in small amounts - can be harmful to sizing, backing or stuffing materials. Do not use gasoline, lighter fluid or carbon tetrachloride.
- Enzyme Detergent - Mix a solution of enzyme detergent following the directions on the label. Do not soak or overwet. Allow the solution to remain on the stain for the recommended length of time before removing. (Professional cleaners may prefer to use digestors separate from detergents.)
- POG - Paint, oil and grease remover, available in hardware stores.
- Vinegar Solution - Mix one-third cup of white household vinegar with two-thirds cup of water. (Professional cleaners may use up to 28% acetic acid solution.)
*Always be sure and follow the pretest procedures before applying any solution to a spot or stain.