Top Tips for Getting Stubborn Stains Out of Clothes

Day to day life is full of dirty, greasy, brightly coloured hazards just waiting to stain your favourite Barbour jacket, or mess up your best pair of jeans. No matter how careful you are, it's inevitable that you'll eventually end up with chutney on your new designer shirt, wine on your jacket, or ink stains from a leaking pen in your pocket.

The good news is that most of these stains are easy enough to remove. If you keep a cool head, and treat the stain as soon as possible, then you should be able to rescue your treasured clothing. Here are a few tips to help you clean up the most common stains.

Removing Antiperspirant Stains

If you've made the mistake of putting on your designer shirt before your antiperspirant has dried, don't panic. Just rub a little of your usual detergent on the shirt, and leave it for ten minutes before you put the shirt in the wash. The stain should come straight out. In the future, let your antiperspirant dry before you get dressed.

Treating Coffee Stains

Don't panic if you end up with half a cup of Starbucks on your Barbour jacket. If you have the opportunity, put it straight in the wash while it's still wet - you should find it comes out as good as new. If you can't wash the garment immediately, pre-treat the stain with bleach before you wash it. This works best on white garments. If you're washing a coloured shirt, do a spot test on a hidden area before you use bleach.

Getting Rid of Ink Stains

Ink stains can be painful to remove, and may need more than one treatment. As your first course of action, apply rubbing alcohol to the stain, and then pre-treat it with some detergent before washing it normally. If that doesn't completely remove the stain, spray the affected area with hair spray and rub it in before washing the garment a second time.

Removing Sauce, Mustard, and Other Food Stains

Fortunately for us, food stains are easy to remove. Most commercial stain removers (such as Vanish) are quite effective when it comes to getting rid of ketchup, mustard, and other food related stains.

Cleaning Wine Stains

If you spill red wine on your clothes, the ideal way to clean it up is to pour salt onto the spillage while it's still wet, and then rinse it clean after a couple of minutes. If you can't do that, mix one part glycerine with two parts water, and rub the solution into the stain before washing the garment normally.

Some General Advice for Stains

Before you treat an expensive garment to remove a stain, read the label carefully and make sure you follow any special care instructions.

Do not iron or tumble dry a garment that is still stained, as this might make the stain set permanently. Lemon juice can work well as a gentle bleach for white garments. For coloured garments, try pre-soaking the item before washing it. Avoid bleach and stringent stain removers unless everything else has failed.