Common Remedies to Avoid
Dishwasher detergent: Although sometimes suggested for food
stains, these detergents are intended for use in closed dishwashers with
very hot water. They are so highly alkaline they can irritate your skin if
you use them in stain removal. They also may fade colors or damage wool,
silk, or nylon fibers.
Hair spray on ball-point ink: Certain hair sprays are effective on
ballpoint stains, but they may deposit a gummy residue and perfume that then
have to be removed along with the ink. Hair spray also may affect color in
some fabrics. Alcohol is a hair spray ingredient that is useful for removal
of the oily part of the ball-point stain.
Ironing candle wax: Ironing candle wax between blotting paper will
only drive the stain deeper into the fabric. This process is widely used,
but it's not recommended because it will make any color from the dye of the
candle more permanently set and the wax more inaccessible for the detergent
or solvent to reach to carry the stain away.
Milk on washable ink: This doesn't remove the ink and gives you an
additional protein stain.
Salt to make dyes colorfast: Today's dyes cannot be increased in
colorfastness by soaking in salt water. If bleeding of a particular dye in
cotton, rayon, or ramie fabric is decreased with a salt water soak, the
effect will not be permanent, When the fabric is wet again, unless there is
salt in the solution, the dye will be free to leave the fabric. Salt cannot
affect colorfastness of synthetic fiber fabrics or their blends because they
are dyed with dyes that have chemical structures not affected by salt.
Shampoo: Clear gel-like shampoos are sometimes suggested for stain
removal. While they are usually not harmful to fabrics and may work on light
oil stains, laundry detergents are just as effective and less expensive to
use. Additionally, colored, opaque; or milky-looking shampoos may contain
ingredients that will stain fabrics or foam so much that they are difficult
to rinse out.
White vinegar: Vinegar (acetic acid) may weaken cotton, rayon,
acetate, triacetate, or silk fibers and may cause color change. If used as a
stain removal agent, test on a hidden seam allowance for colorfastness.
Vinegar will not help remove or set creases in today's synthetic or
permanent press fabrics, although this is a common belief.
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.