This is a compilation of QUILTNET postings about stain removal.
All comments are the OPINIONS of the person who posted the
Stain Removal FAQ
A SUMMARY OF STAIN REMOVAL TIPS - gathered 3/7/94, updated 6/13/94
A stewardess told me this, and it works. Tea and coffee stains can be
removed with club soda. The trick is to use the soda to rinse out the
stain as soon as possible. I've used it once or twice and it seems to
work very well.
I have a tried (many times) and true way of getting stains out gently. I
even use it on needlework (embroidery). Take two parts Ivory Snow (not
flakes) and one part Snowy Bleach (only this brand) and mix them in water--
enough water so that that the solution is quite soapy--exact proportions
aren't necessary. Soak the stained item. For a bad stain, you can soak
it up to two weeks. (I've heard that you can for longer than this, but
two weeks is the most I've done.) I have had this get out incredible
stains without changing the colors of the embroidery floss or fabric.
It's MUCH gentler than Clorox
All this stain talk reminded me of a juice stain removal tip - red
juices can be removed by soaking the garment in milk. Cotton will
really soak it up and a kids shirt might drink up 2 cups. I just
let it soak overnight. And from the voice of experience, don't just
throw the milky garment into your washer and forget it for a few days
- it will remind you that it is waiting!
I use the pump hairspray all the time on ink. I just spray and throw
it in the washer. I've gotten out many stains that have been washed and
dried before I noticed them. Another hint quilters could use: meat
tenderizer will take out blood stains. Dampen the stain and rub on the
tenderizer like a paste. Let it stand awhile and wash in cold water. I
won't put the stuff on my food but I keep a jar in my laundry room.
A product like Softscrub with bleach is great on whites when you don't
want to affect an adjoining color but you have to be careful when you
rinse it out. Boiling water will usually get out any fruit or pop stain.
Dry cleaning will remove most pencil marks--but you'd want to be careful
about what fabrics you have dry cleaned. I buy lots of stuff second hand
and I've gotten to be pretty good at getting even old stains out.
Someone posted a recipe for removing stains (1 cup Clorox II and 1
cup Cascade in hot water) but said it didn't get the ink stains
To remove ink stains, you can use a can of hairspray (not the pump,
but the can). Spray the hairspray on the fabric, rub together, and
run under cold water. Repeat as many times as necessary (or until
you have to leave the room because of the choking fumes). It really
works best if the stain has not been set by the dryer, but try it
(one of my mother's hints right along with vegetable oil
helping to remove bandaids...)
The Tightwad Gazette offers the following recipe: Add one cup each of
powdered Cascade and Clorox II to five gallons of the hottest water to come
out of your faucet. Soak several articles overnight, and launder as usual.
I have endeared myself to my granddaughter as I was able to soak out
a red pop or something stain from her red and white polyester cheer-
leading outfit using this recipe. The article goes on to say that
she does not use this recipe for delicate fabrics, or fabrics that are not
color-fast. It is particularly good for removing food stains.
I just soaked a bunch of old table runners and doilies and they came out
much whiter, but some old ink stains remained.
For what it's worth.
And white wine will take out red wine stains. (This one I didn't believe
until someone spilled red wine on a pale yellow linen tablecloth. I didn't
see the stain until the next day when I took the tablecloth out of the
washing machine where a helpful guest had put it, to check for stains
before washing it. I suspended the stained part over the sink, whipped the
white wine out of the fridge, poured some on the stain, and the stain just
I wanted to add my 2 cents about the wonderful uses of hairspray.
Some years ago, a pen made it through the wash with my husband's brand new
dress shirts. Out of desperation I sprayed the spots with a non-
aerosol hairspray. It worked! It also took two bottles to completely
remove all the stains from all the shirts but it worked. I didn't dry the
shirts in between for obvious reasons. When you soak the spots with spray
you can actually see the ink "bleed" as it dissolves.
Aside from this, hairspray also works wonders for stopping runs
in pantyhose and for killing spiders when nothing else is available.
Recently my husband got a lot of ball point ink on a white dress shirt. I
soaked it in alcohol. To keep the alcohol from evaporating too fast, I
sealed it in a plastic bowl with a tight lid. I let it soak over night, and
it all came out.
We had a *slight* mishap on our near white living room
carpet which left quite a bit of blood on the carpet. I
found that hydrogen peroxide followed by boiling water
took the blood out without a problem, and there was no
problem with color change.
Melissa asked about removing pencil markings from a quilt top. Last night
I found the following "recipe" in my Oxmoor House "Best Loved Quilt
3 oz. rubbing alcohol
1 oz. water
3 or 4 drops liquid dishwashing detergent
-- Place in squeeze bottle; shake well. Wet corner of a rough
washcloth w/solution and rub over markings. Wet a 2nd washcloth
w/water and rub over treated area to rinse. Let quilt air dry.
It said the lines will disappear when the quilt is dry, but a 2nd
application may be necessary.
I haven't used this solution personally, so I'd try it on a
fabric scrap before making any major commitments!
Good luck Melissa!
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