Here are some tips for tackling the most common stains to carry out before washing normally. Never use hot water on protein stains as this will set them into the fabric and don't rub so hard as to damage the fibres.
Another thing to bear in mind is that soaking items with metal zips for too long can cause the glue to dissolve. Also garments with hooks and eyes, or buttons may have the cotton thread shrink. Finally, you shouldn't soak wool, flameproof, elasticated and non-colourfast garments to remove stains.
NOTE: These methods are printed in many books, they aren't my own, I am just passing them on to you and cannot guarantee the effectiveness of them. Use at your own risk..
- Grass: Most light stains should come out through normal washing. For heavy stains though, you can try dabbing with methylated spirit and rinsing with water before washing them. (Don't use methylated spirit on acetate or triacetate fabrics)
- Ballpoint pen: Spot with methylated spirit
- Felt tip pen: Dab small marks with methylated spirit
- Fountain pen: Rinse immediately. Wash white cottons and linens straight away. Any residual stain should be treated by rubbing with lemon juice, then covering the stain with salt and leaving for up to an hour. Rinse and repeat until the stain has gone. For coloureds, woollens and silk – sponge and then wash normally
- Chewing gum: Use an ice cube placed in a plastic bag to harden the gum and then scrape off gently. Dab with dry cleaning solvent if available
- Chocolate: After scraping off as much as you can, soak in something like Bio-tex or a biological powder in warm water
- Candle wax: After scraping off as much as possible, put some blotting paper over the stain and iron with a hot iron. You can use a spot of methylated spirit to remove any colour
- Beetroot: Rinse immediately in cold water. For coloured's, use domestic borax solution, one tablespoon to 500 ml (1 pint) of warm water. For whites, sprinkle borax powder on the dampened stain, then stretch the fabric over a basin and pour boiling water through
- Make up:
- Foundation cream: Wipe fresh stains, soak for 5 minutes in a weak ammonia solution (15 ml – 1 tablespoon to 500 ml – 1 pint of water) Then rinse
- Mascara: Dab with diluted ammonia (1 part ammonia to 3 parts cold water) Rinse
- Lipstick: Dab with methylated spirit, followed by soap and water
- Nail varnish: Dab with a non-oily nail varnish remover. On acetate and triacetate use amyl acetate. Heavy spills should be professionally cleaned
- Heavy grease & oil: Moisten stain with turpentine and let it soak for 10 minutes. Rinse with white spirit or benzine and rinse thoroughly in cold water
- Oil based: Dab fresh stains with white spirit and sponge with cold water. If the paint has dried it will need to be dry cleaned
- Emulsion: Sponge fresh stains with cold water. If allowed to dry it will not come off