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Laundry Tips - Remove Ink, Gum, Collar, Underarm Stains

Remember to always read the garment label before trying.

Removing Ink Stains

To help remove ink stains lay garment in a single layer on paper towel or rag to help absorb ink. Spray dried ink stain with a powerful stain remover. Remember to always test a hidden spot first for color fastness.

Let dry completely, spray again and launder garment using the hottest water temperature recommended by the manufacturer. For white clothes add a cap full of chlorine bleach. If the ink stain remains or the ink is large the garment should be dry cleaned.

Washing Jeans and Clothes

Washing black denim jeans inside out will prevent the white streaks from forming on the sides. Except for underarm stains, washing everyday clothes right side out will get them cleaner than washing them inside out as most stains are heaviest on the outside of garment. This also makes folding laundry quick and easy.

Stained Baby Clothes

Getting stains out of baby clothes, dipers and bibs can be difficult. First spray the stained areas with a strong baby stain remover product and then wash as usual. If the stains are not completely removed pre-soak the stained clothes with a strong baby stain soaker.

Line Drying Garments

If the manufacturer's care label reads "line dry" after washing, place garment in dryer with other clothes for 2-3 minutes (or longer for heavier fabrics) to remove excess water, decrease wrinkles and return softness to material. Hang or lay flat to dry.

Removing Gum

To remove chewing gum from fabric rub ice on gum until it hardens, peel off as much gum as possible then wash as usual. If gum didn't come out the first time, repeat process, don't put garment in dryer until it is completely free of gum or you will have a gooey mess.

Add detergent as the washer fills with water, and then add clothes. Don't pack items into the washer, clothes should move freely for best cleaning.

Preventing and Removing Underarm Stains

There are usually two types of underarm stains, perspiration (sweat) and antiperspirant/deodorant buildup. Perspiration stains tend to be yellow, brown or green in color. Colored clothes may show a white border around the stain where body salt has settled from sweating. Both types sometimes feel hard or crusty.

Buildup from antiperspirant and deodorant stains will either be white or clear, chalky or greasy. It's usually easier to remove these stains when they first appear. Stains that have gone through the washer and dryer several times may be more difficult to remove.

There are several techniques for removing underarm stains.

The two most common are white vinegar and baking soda. (Always spot test a hidden area of the garment to see if the dye will run before applying)

Turn garment inside out. Spray or sprinkle the stained area with white vinegar. Turn the garment right side out and repeat. The acid from the vinegar breaks down the sweat and antiperspirant/deodorant buildup. Wash in the hottest water recommended by the manufacturer. Another technique is to make a thin paste out of baking soda and apply it to the stained area and let stand for 15-20 minutes and then wash in the hottest water recommended by the manufacturer. Dress shirts can be sent to a shirt service.

Preventing Ring around the Collar

To prevent/minimize ring around the collar on button down cotton shirts, wipe neck with rubbing alcohol or skin toner to eliminate excess oils from skin. A build-up of oils on skin and collar attracts more dirt and makes collars harder to clean. Also, try to keep hair gels from nape of neck for they also attract more dirt and oil and accumulate on collars making ring around the collar more noticeable.

Make your Shirts last Longer

To make starched shirts look newer longer, alternate between starch and no starch whenever sending your shirts out to the cleaner. Starch builds up on shirts causing the fibers to weaken and fray a lot sooner than they would if you didn't have them starched. Alternating between starch and no starch will extend the wearability of your cotton shirts.

Removing Stains from Dry Clean Only Garments

When getting stains on your dry-cleanable garments just blot with a clean cloth. Do not wipe or rub with water or other liquids, water and dry-cleaning solutions don't mix, especially on silks. Let your dry-cleaner get it out, show him/her the stain and tell him/her what it is, they will do their best to remove it.

Removing Grass Stains

Use a presoak that contains an enzyme and follow instructions. Optionally rub detergent on stain. Wash with detergent and appropriate bleach (chlorine or non-chlorine based) if safe for fabric. If stain remains sponge with alcohol, rinse throughly and rewash.

Removing Blood Stains

Soak garment in cold water 30 minutes with detergent. Pretreat any remaining stain with a stain fighting/remover product and wash in hottest water safe for fabric adding appropriate bleach (chlorine or non-chlorine based) according to garment label.

Removing Tomato Stains

Sponge stained area immeadiately and pretreat with a stain remover. Rinse. Rub detergent into remaining stain and wash as usual. Repeat process if necessary.

Removing Grease and Oil Stains

Rub detergent on the stained area. Wash in hottest water safe for fabric. If stain remains sponge with alcohol and rewash.

Removing Chocolate and Cocoa Stains

Soak garment in cold water 30 minutes. Pretreat remaining stain with stain remover and and wash in hottest water safe for fabric adding appropriate bleach (chlorine or non-chlorine based) according to garment label.