Chemical Solvents and Supplies
Supplies needed for stain removal can usually be found in grocery, drug,
general merchandise, or paint stores.
Many commercially available products have proprietary formulas that are
protected by patent rights and not available to the public. Ingredients
listed on labels for safety purposes can help you decide if the product will
be useful for the stain removal task- you have to do. There is no miracle
product that will remove all stains.
- Heavy-duty liquid detergents (Era, Fab, Grease Relief, Tide, Wisk)
- Light-duty liquid detergents (Delicare, Ivory, Lux,Woolite)
- Powdered detergents (Amway, Cheer, Dash, Oxydol, Sears, Tide)
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Powdered all-fabricc bleaches (sodium perborate)(Biz, Borateem,
Clorox 2; Purex, Snowy)
- Liquid all-fabric bleaches (Snowy, Vivid)
- Liquid chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite)(Clorox, Hi-lex,Purex)
- Liquid chlorine bleaches have a limited shelf-life. If your bleach
is more than six months old and has no effect on stains, it may need to
be replaced with fresh bleach.
- To test for colorfastness to liquid chlorine bleaches, mix I
tablespoon of bleach with 1/4 cup of water. Use an eyedropper to put a
drop of this solution on a hidden seam or pocket edge inside the
garment. Let it stand two minutes, then blot dry. If there is no color
change it is safe to use the product. Powdered bleach packages have
directions for doing colorfastness tests.
- Aerosol sprays-petroleum-based solvent (Clorox, Shout, Spray'n Wash)
- Pump-type sprays-- detergent based (Clorox, Shout, Spray'n Wash)
- Clean white cloths
- Paper towels (white)
- Sponges (white or neutral colored)
- Caution: Colored sponges or paper towels can bleed dyes onto
fabrics, making dye stains that may be difficult to remove.
- Activated charcoal
- Calcium carbonate
Stain Removal Chemicals
||Ajax, Bo Beep, Top Job
|Commercial stain removers*
||isopropyl alcohol or other unspecified ingredients
||Easy Wash, Tech, Whizz
|Drycleaning fluid or petroleum-based pretreatment solvent
||perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene petroleum distillates
||Energine, Clorox Prewash, Shout, Spray n'Wash
|Enzyme presoak products**
||amylase, protease, lipase
||Biz Bleach, Axion
|Lemon juice and salt
||citric acid and sodium chloride
|Nail polish remover
||hydrofluoric acid, oxalic acid
|Photo supply acid fixer
* Limited testing on these products has shown them to be less effective
**These must be used at body temperature for enzyme action to occur,
Chlorine bleach and hot water inactivate enzymes.
***Do not use these products with chlorine or oxygen type bleaches.
Note: Some of these products may no longer be available; while new
products have also been developed.
Special thanks to Iowa State University for allowing us to reproduce this
Reproduced with permission from the Cooperative Extension Service, Iowa
State University, Ames, Iowa, 50011.
Prepared by: Janis Stone,
Textiles and Clothing Specialist,
Iowa State University
No endorsement of companies or their products mentioned is intended, nor
is criticism implied of similar companies or their products not mentioned.
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