We all know the frustration of having our clothes and fabrics ruined by dreaded stains. But, it doesn't have to be a total disaster if you know what type of stain is on your item and how to tackle it with the right materials!
We're going to break down the major types of stains, so you can learn how to identify them and begin the removal process quickly. So let's dive right in and discover all you need about these common stains.
Most Common Stains
Stains are an inevitable part of life, but thankfully there are effective solutions to eliminate them. Whether caused by spilling coffee, paint, or something else, the key to removing any stain is knowing its type and choosing the right product for the job.
First things first, we will go over the various types of stains, what causes them, and what needs to be done to remove them.
Acid Based Stains
Acid stains are caused by things such as perspiration, deodorant, antiperspirant - including organic or natural brands - and even fruit juice and hair dyes. These types of stains can cause discoloration or fading in certain fabrics. This is because of the various chemicals present in these substances which can weaken the fibers of the fabric over time.
This effect is more pronounced when such substances come into contact with natural fibers like cotton, wool, and silk, as well as synthetic materials like nylon and polyester. Additionally, when high amounts of perspiration are absorbed by a garment it can lead to wear and tear on the material due to frequent washing.
Salt Based Stains
Salt-based substances are common culprits of color loss or discoloration, especially in woolen fabrics. These substances can be found in everyday items such as beverages, and food, as well as medications and even the salt that is used to de-ice roads during the winter season.
The presence of salt can cause a chemical reaction with dyes used in woolen fabrics that causes them to fade or become discolored. This process occurs over time, but it can be accelerated when exposed to high levels of humidity or heat.
The effects are usually more pronounced on darker colors, as light colors tend to be less affected by these reactions. To prevent this from happening, it's important to take proper care of your woolen clothing by regularly washing and drying it according to the label instructions. It's also best to avoid exposing your clothing to high levels of salt or other corrosive chemicals whenever possible.
Alcohol Based Stains
Alcohol-based stains can be caused by perfume to cologne and skin fresheners to aftershave and hair spray. Even some medications and adult beverages contain alcohol that can result in an unwanted stain.
Many of these stains are difficult to remove, as they can become permanent or cause significant color loss. Stains caused by alcohol-based products can also be very stubborn, so it is important to take steps to avoid them in the first place.
To prevent staining, it is recommended to keep alcohol-based products away from fabrics and furniture, or use a protective cover such as a cloth napkin.
Sugar Based Stains
Sugar-based stains can consist of product items such as fruit juice, cola, sport drinks, canned fruits, jams and jellies, syrups and other sweet condiments. These types of stains are often invisible when they dry but become quite visible with laundering or cleaning.
As soon as the stain dries on the fabric fibers it begins to crystallize and firmly locks into place which makes it difficult to remove. The longer the sugar based stain sits on a fabric surface the more difficult it is to remove. Removing these types of stains requires immediate attention to prevent them from becoming permanent.
Oil Based Stains
Oil-based stains can be caused by a variety of common everyday substances, such as margarine or butter, makeup, oil, mayonnaise, gasoline and the dreaded 'ring around the collar'. While these kinds of stains may not be immediately obvious - they tend to leave a slightly darkened area rather than brightly stained one - it is important to treat them correctly.
If water or incorrect cleaning products are used on an oil-based stain, the result could be permanent damage. A combination of correct cleaning products and technique should be used in order to effectively rid fabrics of oil-based stains. When done correctly, the stain can usually be removed without any residual marks.
Tips for Stain Removal
When it comes to stain removal, experts recommend taking immediate action when a stain occurs. Below we will list some helpful tips and tricks for getting rid of stains on clothing as quickly as possible.
By following these tips you should be able to get rid of just about any stain!
- Address stains as soon as possible – even the most effective stain removers will have a harder time removing a stain that has been left to dry out before being treated.
- Be sure to check labels or test before treating a stain, especially on fabrics that require dry cleaning only. For carpet stains, do a test on a small area first.
- When dealing with stained items, it is important to use the right technique when attempting to remove them - instead of rubbing or scrubbing, blot the affected area with a paper towel or clean white cloth.
- Blotting is essential for stain removal – if you rub, the strain may spread into the fibers of the fabric and become harder to remove.
- Focus on treating small sections of the stain at a time; do not attempt to treat an entire garment or item all at once as this can cause further damage and make it more difficult for your chosen method of stain removal to be successful.
- For tougher stains, consider pretreating before washing – this will help break down tough residues and make it easier for your laundry detergent to get rid of them in the wash cycle.
- Always use cold water when trying to remove a stain, as it is least likely to set the stain. Hot water should never be used on stains of unknown origin, as it may set protein stains like milk, egg, or blood.
- When dealing with stained garments, keep them away from direct heat sources such as lamps, and never put them in the dryer until after the stain has been fully removed. The heat can set the stain.