The Do's and Don'ts of Stain Removal
You know the moments before they happen. It’s game night with the gang and a few snacks fling free from the serving tray and onto the sofa. Maybe you were a bit too invested in your morning routine to notice the coffee droplets seeping into your cushions. Perhaps your little ones have turned your living room into a mosaic of washable paint and finger food. Slips and spills are anything but uncommon in most of our lives. The question is, what are we to do when life gives us lemon stains instead of lemonade?
We get it, stain removal is hardly at the top of anyone’s list of favorite activities. However, for most of us, it will be a task about as predictable as sunrise and sunset. Before you panic and dash to grab your assorted cleaners, we want to assure you that stain removal doesn’t have to be rocket science. More importantly, if you’re too hasty, you may unwittingly make those dastardly blotches even worse. Nobody wants that.
To help you keep your favorite linens and fabrics neat as can be without the hassle, we’ve compiled a handy list of do’s and don'ts to guide you through with less frustration.
DO: CLEAN UP WHAT YOU CAN, AS SOON AS YOU CAN
Stains can be unpleasant to deal with, especially if we’ve had a bad experience or two. Due to this, it’s unsurprising that many of us prefer to put off any immediate action, for the sake of our time and sanity. However, this could be a grave miscalculation.
When a spill or residue first occurs, the stain in question sits on the surface of the material. Over the hours, days, weeks, or even months of going unattended to, that residue can trickle deeper and begin fusing with the fabric itself. This means that when stain removal is finally attempted, the end result could be a permanently discolored blotch on our favorite linens.
Rather than wait or rely on a rinse cycle, grab yourself some paper towels or a microfiber cloth. Gently dab the affected area and soak up as much of the excess as you can. Not only will this slow down the spread of the stain but it will greatly improve your outcome once you take that inevitable trip to the washer. For particularly harsh residue, use a towel along with some warm water and a bit of fabric safe detergent to mop up the mess.
DON’T: LET A DRYING STAIN LINGER
It can be tempting to hover over the improved-looking blotch or smudge and think, “Good enough for now.” Though relatable, this approach can also lead to some unforeseen consequences. As stains dry, they increasingly seep into and fuse with our fabrics. This could lead to permanent blotches and deem our hard work a moot point.
If possible, use the stain remover of your choice to pre-treat stains prior to tossing them into the washing machine. If you don’t have a stain remover available, soaking the material in a mix of water and detergent or simply treating it with a solution of equal parts vinegar and baking soda can work miracles where a rigorous wash cycle might betray you.
DO: INVEST IN STAIN REMOVER PENS FOR WHEN YOU’RE ON THE GO
Outside of the home, stain removal can be a tricky task all on it’s own. It’s probably a safe bet that most of you aren’t willing to haul around a bucket of hot water and a jug of detergent during your day-to-day. Luckily, many detergent companies have taken note of this common problem and provided a convenient solution. That solution? Stain remover pens.
Stain remover pens are portable, detergent-based, marker-like stain removing sticks that quickly and effectively ‘erase’ any spots or blemishes that may occur while we’re on the go. Whether it be droplets of morning coffee, grease and oils at lunchtime, or runoff driblets during happy hour--these nifty little sticks can be the daily life-saver you’re looking for. They’re lightweight, easy to use, and available for purchase at most major retailers.
DON’T: ASSUME ALL STAINS ARE CREATED EQUAL
It takes different strokes to rule the world and different techniques to remove stains (they left that part out of the song). Whether you’re dealing with cooking oils, food debris, coffee, wine, or any number of other things, it’s always important to identify the source of the stain to know the most effective way of removing it. Additionally, the type of material that has been stained may be sensitive to blemishes and may require some special attention.
As a crucial step, before setting out on your cleaning crusade, be sure to refer to the “Care Instructions” tag. This is a small tag attached to most linens and fabrics that should be easy to locate. If you find yourself sans-tag, you can always perform a quick online search to find some specific directives for the best way to remove the stain.
DO: TRY HOMEMADE STAIN REMOVAL SOLUTIONS
Let’s be honest, few of us would consider ourselves “aficionados” or overly concerned with the inevitable spill or lingering snack residue. For the most part, these bothersome occasions are a slight irritation. Because of this, we may stumble upon ill-prepared times of momentary lapse and be left with little more to remove our stains than soap and hope.
But wait! We have some good news for you. Though commercial stain removers are strong and often effective, they aren’t the only way to rid your fabrics of those pesky blotches. Believe it or not, some homemade solutions can provide effective pre-wash treatments. Even better, most of them require a simple mix of items you likely already have on hand at home.
There are innumerable methods to remove your stains with common household products that include white vinegar, lemon juice, dish soap, baking soda, and more! With a quick online search, you can find one that works best for you and save yourself the headache of a seeping stain.
DON’T: DRY UNTIL THE STAIN IS GONE
Though it may seem obvious to pass down our wet laundry from the washer to the dryer, it’s important that we keep our eyes on the prize. Many stains and blotches may disappear after a thorough pre-treatment and rigorous wash. Despite this, stains that originate from grease or oils may be much harder to contend with. Even with a long tumble in the dryer, the stain may remain--discolored and arrogant.
Rather than allowing this eye-sore to slide, take the time to reapply your stain remover or homemade solution and allow it to work its magic. After a few minutes, toss the fabric or linen back into the wash to ensure the blotch is gone for good. If this still doesn’t quite do the trick, consider switching your brand of stain remover or try some other remedies. Patience is king, in the castle of clean.
Pro-Tip: Websites such as Mom4Real, TidyMom, and Momtastic have some excellent DIY solutions.
DO: PURCHASE SLIPCOVERS AND FURNITURE PROTECTORS FROM GREAT BAY HOME
Stain removal is hardly anyone’s favorite activity. To avoid spills, slips, and stains ruining your favorite furniture, try ordering any of the amazing slipcovers or furniture protectors from Great Bay Home.
Our collections include an expanse of incredible styles and designs to match any taste or fashion sense. They’re machine washable, affordable, easy to use, and available in sizes that range from recliners, to sofas, loveseats, and even dining chairs. Check out our post on sizing your furniture to ensure that perfect fit.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed this nifty list of do’s and don’ts of stain removal. Though it may not be anyone’s favorite pastime, it never has to be a hassle. It’s just another opportunity to love your home.
We’ve Got You Covered,