Stains Needing Unique Treatment Methods
Chewing gum: Apply ice to harden gum. Crack or scrape off excess.
Spray with pretreatment aerosol product. Rub with heavy-duty liquid
detergent. Rinse with hot water. Repeat if necessary. Launder.
Deodorants: Apply liquid detergent,wash in warm water. Build-up of
aluminum or zinc salts may be impossible to remove.
Fingernail polish: Do not use nail polish remover (or acetone) on
acetate, triacetate, or modacrylic fabrics as they will dissolve. Take these
fabrics to professional drycleaners and identify the stain. For other
fabrics, use nail polish remover,acetone and spot treatment method.
Hog confinement odor: Wash clothes adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup household
ammonia to wash load with heavy-duty detergent. Do not mix ammonia and
bleach in same wash load. Toxic fumes are produced. Ammonia can be used on
colored fabrics, but occasionally its use will change the garment's color.
Iodine: Iodine is quickly removed with sodium thiosulfate, which
is sold in photo supply stores as "acid fixer." If the photo supply fixer
solution contains other chemicals in addition to sodium thiosulfate, it
should not be used. Iodine may also be removed by some commercial stain
Lead pencil: Use art gum eraser to lift off excess; avoid hard
rubbing. For delicate fabrics use spot treatment methods. For most durable,
washable fabrics, spray with pretreatment aerosol product. Rub in heavy-duty
liquid detergent. Rinse in warm water. Launder.
Mildew: Mildew is a growing organism that must have warmth,
darkness, and moisture to survive. Mildew eats cellulosic fibers, causing
permanent damage and weakening of fibers and fabrics. To remove mildew:
Shake or brush item outdoors. Pretreat darkest stains with heavy-duty liquid
detergent. Launder in hot water with a heavyduty detergent. Bleach as safe
Odor: Most odors are removed by laundering.For persistent odor
problems, place calcium carbonate crystals, activated charcoal, or soda in
an open container and store with clothes in closet or sprinkle soda directly
on fabric and let stand; then shake or vacuum.
Paint-latex: Treat while wet. Soak in cold water; wash in cool
water with heavy-duty detergent. After paint has dried 6 to 8 hours, removal
is very difficult. Treat as combination stain. Wash in hot water, Rinse.
Paint-oil-based: Treat while wet. Use thinner recommended for
paint. Use spot treatment technique and thinner on spots until paint is
softened and can be flushed away in heavy-duty detergent wash. Usually
turpentine or alcohol will work as solvents.
Perspiration: Apply liquid detergent or soak in warm water with
presoak product 15 to 30 minutes. Launder.
Pesticide: If full-strength liquid concentrate spills on clothes,
handle only with rubber gloves. Discard clothing immediately. Laundering
does not remove concentrate to a safe level for reuse of clothing. Launder
other pesticide- contaminated clothing separate from general family laundry.
If visible staining from diluted spray of pesticide residues remains after
laundering, rewash using hot water, heavy-duty detergent, and a full water
level. Then line dry.
Rust: Rust stains cannot be removed in normal laundering. Use of
chlorine bleach makes them permanent. Rust removers such as RoVer or Whink
are effective and safe for most fabrics, but rust removers that contain
hydrofluoric acid are extremely toxic, can burn the skin, and can damage the
finish on appliances. A solution oxalic acid crystals in water will also
remove rust stains,-but it is often difficult to obtain the crystals.
Lemon juice and salt are more readily available and are helpful
sometimes, Sprinkle the salt on the stain, squeeze lemon juice on it and
spread the garment in the sun to dry. A word of caution: Lemon juice can
bleach some colors and many washable garments are not manufactured to be
colorfast to sunlight.
Scorch: Excess heat on cellulosic (cotton, linen, ramie, rayon),
wool, or synthetic fibers can cause permanent damage. If fabric is thick and
fuzzy, brush to remove charring. Rub liquid detergent into scorched area.
Launder. If stain remains, bleach using,all-fabric bleach. Fabric will be
permanently weakened in scorched area. Synthetic blends that are melted or
glazed cannot be fully restored.
Smoke, soot: Shake off excess soot outdoors. Launder in washing
machine using heavy-duty phosphate-based detergent or heavy-duty liquid as
recommended by manufacturer, one cup of water conditioner, and 1/2 cup of
all-fabric bleach. Use water temperature appropriate for fabric. Air dry.
Inspect for smoke odor. Repeat as necessary. Three or four washes may be
needed for cottons and cotton blends.
Urine: Rinse in cold water and launder. For stains on mattresses:
(1) sponge with cloth using detergent solution, (2) rinse with cloth using
vinegar solution, (3) let air dry, and (4) if odor remains, sprinkle with
soda or calcium carbonate; wait 1 day, then vacuum.
Water Spots: Launder. For drycleanable draperies, consult a
professional cleaner. Water marks on drapes are water soluble and not
removable by drycleaning solvents.
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.