There are eight basic techniques for stain removal: brushing, flushing, freezing, presoaking, pretreating, scraping, sponging, and tamping. Using the right technique along with the proper solutions with help ease the removal of the stain.

BRUSHING Brushing is the first step used for removal of dry stains, ( i. e. mud). The fabric should be stretched out on a smooth surface and using a small stiff brush, brush the residue onto a sheet of paper.
FLUSHING Flushing is used to remove loosened residue and stain removing solutions from the fabrics. It is important if you are flushing on nonwashable materials, to control the spread of water through the garment. This is accomplished by applying water with an eyedropper or spray bottle trigger which allows for direct placement of minimal amounts of water. Begin applying water, an absorbent pad is to be placed under the spot. This pad should be changed before the water and stains fills it up. If the fabric is washable, the article should be rinsed with warm water after flushing is completed.
FREEZING Freezing is used to remove candle wax, chewing gum, and other gooey substances. Hold an ice cube against the stain until it is frozen. If the surface is nonwashable, place the ice cube in a plastic bag to avoid the area from becoming wet. After the stain has become solidified, it can be gently lifted or scraped off the surface.
PRESOAKING Garments that have become yellowed, grayed, or heavily soiled should be presoaked in a solution for no longer than 30 minutes. Items that are not colorfast should only be presoak very briefly. Bleach, laundry detergent, or an enzyme presoak can be used, however, do not use bleach and an enzyme together. Items should be rinsed thoroughly before laundering to remove any presoak solution left on them.
PRETREATING Oily, greasy stains should be pretreated with a spray of liquid laundry detergent, stain removing spray, bar soap, or pretreating paste made from powdered detergent. The solution should be rubbed into the fabric and then laundered as normal.

SCRAPING Solid material should be scraped away with a dull knife, spoon, or spatula before applying stain remover. Short strokes should be applied, without pressing to hard,across the surface of the stain.

SPONGING If possible, put an absorbent pad under the stain before starting. Using a sponge or pad, apply the stain removing solution and sponge the stain gently using light strokes working inward toward the center. As either pad becomes stained, it should be changed. If working on acetate, rayon or triacetate, rings can appear from sponging. The sponge or pad should be barely wet and the fabric should be touched lightly. Allow to thoroughly dry and do not iron or dry with heat.

TAMPING To remove stains from durable, tightly woven fabrics, tamping should be done with a soft-bristle brush. The stained article is place on a hard surface without a pad, and the stain is lightly rapped with he bristles until the stain is removed. This method should only be used when directed as tamping could damage fabrics.

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Eight Basic Rules for Spot Removal

There is one sure way to take the stress out of removing stains--doing it right the first time!

Here are some basic rules for stain removal techniques:

  • The quicker the better: it is best to treat a stain as soon as it appears. The longer it sets, the more likely the stain will be permanent
  • Know what you are cleaning: identify both the stain and the surface it is on. Both will have an affect on how you treat the stain.
  • Clean it off before you clean it: remove as much of the stain as possible before you begin to the stain removal process
  • Be gentle rubbing, folding, wringing, and squeezing cause stains to penetrate more deeply and may damage delicate fabrics.
  • Keep it cool: avoid using hot water, high heat in dryers, and irons on stains. The heat makes some stains almost impossible to remove.
  • Pretest stain removers: even water can damage some fabrics, always test any cleaner you plan to use on an inconspicuous place before using
  • Follow directions: read the manufacturer's labels and the directions on product containers
  • Work from the edges into the center: by working from the edges toward the center, you will not spread the stain or leave a ring

In order to identify the type of stain, you need to know the difference between the 3 types of stains:GREASY STAINS, NON-GREASY STAINS, COMBINATION STAINS.


Did you every drop the buttered popcorn bucket on your lap in the movies, or inadvertently hit the dipstick on your sleeve while checking the oil in your car? Well these are greasy stains. Sometimes a greasy stain can be removed during laundering. The stain should be pretreated with liquid laundry detergent by gently rubbing it in. If the fabric is nonwashable, the stain should be spotted with a dry-cleaning solution. The removal may take several attempts but the fabric should be allowed to completely dry between attempts.

Greasy stains can also be removed from nonwashable fabrics by using an absorbent, such as cornmeal, cornstarch, French chalk, or fuller's earth (mineral clay available at most drug stores). Dust the area with the absorbent. When it appears to be caked and dry, brush or shake off the absorbent.

Absorbents are easy to use and will not harm fabrics. However dry cleaning chemicals, detergents, and bleach can damage fabrics. Always pretest an inconspicuous area before using.

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A non greasy stain is easy to acquire and not impossible to remove. A non greasy stains include fruit juice, coffee, tea, ink, and also food coloring.

If you are treating a non-greasy stain on a washable fabric, the first thing to do is sponge the stain with cool water as soon as possible. If this doesn't work, soak the fabric in cool water from 1/2 hour to overnight. If some of the stain is still present gently rub liquid detergent into the stain and rinse with cool water. As a last resort, bleach can be used only after reading the manufacturer's label and pretesting an inconspicuous area. If the stain has been ironed or is old, it may be impossible to get out.

If the stain does not come out after sponging it with cool water, a flushing method should be used. Place an absorbent pad under the stain and flush the stain with water by using an eye dropper or spray bottle. Liquid detergent can also be applied if needed. If the stain is new, this method should remove the stain entirely. The spot can be rubbed with alcohol after it is rinsed to remove detergent residue and to speed drying. (CAUTION: If you're treating acetate, acrylic, modacrylic, rayon, triacetate, or vinyl, be sure to dilute the alcohol with water, 1 part alcohol to 2 parts water

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Combination stains can be double the trouble. Coffee with cream, salad dressing, lipstick contain both greasy and nongreasy stains. Getting rid of combination stains is a two step process. First get rid of the non-greasy stain, using the above methods, and then remove the greasy stain.
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The following explanation of terms will help you remove most stains

WET SPOTTER mix one part of glycerine, one part white dishwashing liquid, and eight parts of water. Store in a plastic squeeze bottle and shake well before using. Glycerine can be found in your local grocery, pharmacy or hardware store.

DRY SPOTTER combine one part coconut oil and 8 parts liquid dry cleaning solvent. Store in a tightly capped container to prevent evaporation. Coconut oil might be very difficult to find, if so, mineral oil can be substituted.

DRY CLEANING SOLVENT perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, trichlorethane are three of the most common and effective ingredients in dry cleaning solvents. Most solvents are nonflammable, but their fumes are toxic and should not be inhaled. These chemicals will probably be very difficult to obtain, substitute products found on the market such as Goof Off, Goo Gone. Perky etc can be used..

FLUSHING When flushig a stain, you need to control the flow of water carefully so that you don't spread the stain or get the fabric wetter than you need to. An eyedropper or spray bottle with trigger adjusted to fine stream lets you control the amount of liquid flushed through the fabric. Place an absorbent pad under the spot. Then slowly apply liquid to the stain. Work slowly so that you don't flood the pad with more liquid than it can absorb. Replace the absorbent pad frequently to prevent the deposited staining material from restaining the fabric.

TAMPING The best way to get some stains out of tightly woven fabrics is to tamp them with a soft bristled brush (like a toothbrush). Place the stained article on a hard surface, not a pad, and lightly rap the stain with the tips of the bristles. Us this technique only when it is recommended in our Stain-removal guide because tamping will harm most fabrics.

SCRAPING scrape away solid staining material with a dull knife, spoon, or spatula before you apply stain removers. Don't press too hard; move the edge of your scraping tool back and forth across the stain in short strokes.

BLOTTING using an absorbent pad and working from the outer edge of the stain toward the center of the stain, firmly press against the stain, using a rocking motion. Change the pad frequently as it picks up the stain. Do not rub!

ABSORBENTS absorbents 'soak up" grease stains. We consider cornmeal the best absorbent for light colors, and fuller's earth the best for dark colors. Spread the absorbent on the stained area and allow to work. As the grease is soaked up, the absorbent will become cakey or gummy. It should be then shaken or brushed off. You should repeat the process until the stain has been removed. This may take as long as 8 hours

AMYL ACETATE Chemically pure amyl acetate, or banana oil, is available in drug stores; it's safe for use on fibers that could be damaged by acetone, but it should ot be allowed to come in contact with plastics or furniture finishes. CAUTION Amyl Acetate is poisonous and flammable. Avoid contact with skin.

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