Koalaty Cleaners Blog

STAIN EMERGENCY 101

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Have you ever spilled some wine on your clothing or linens and panicked?  Or have your kids come home with grass stains on their new dress slacks and you thought “Great, these are ruined”?  Don’t panic…all is not lost if you know how to handle a basic “stain emergency”.

The first thing to do in a stain emergency is to STOP and BLOT!  Don’t begin by rubbing that stain right into the cloth harder.  STOP and BLOT, then consider the following:

Washable clothing and linens require different care than dry clean only items.  Also, oil based stains and water based stains require different types of treatment in order to remove the stains.

Oil based stains typically are absorbed into the fabric and do not usually have an outline.  Oil or grease stains require a lubricant to effectively remove the stain.  Examples of oil based stains are: lipstick, makeup, vinaigrette dressings, grease, fried food, and body oils.

Water based stains usually have an outline around them.  If these stains contain color, it usually takes two or three steps to thoroughly remove the stain.  You can go ahead and dab a little water on them if they contain no oils.  Examples of water based stains are:  coffee, wine, tea, chocolate, fruit drinks, blood, perspiration, and sodas.

Invisible stains such as hairspray, perfume, lotions, powders and deodorants start out as invisible, but over time, will discolor fabrics and cause them to yellow.  Be sure to have your clothing properly laundered after each wearing in order to avoid discoloration and fading from these types of stains.

Grass is a “dye” stain, and also requires special treatment to completely remove the stain.  If it is on a washable fabric, go ahead and use a pre-treating agent and follow directions.  However, don’t apply heat to the item until the stain is completely gone.  Otherwise, the heat will set the stain permanently.

Below are some basic “Do’s and Don’ts” in order to preserve your clothing and linens in case of a stain emergency, and to avoid making it harder for the dry cleaner to restore your items to their original condition:

Don’t – rub a stain

Do – STOP and BLOT….blot it with a dry, white towel or napkin

Don’t – apply water or club soda until you know what type of stain you are dealing with.  NEVER apply water or club soda to an oily stain or dry clean only fabrics.  Using water on a stain can cause the stain to spread, cause dyes to bleed or ruin silk and other dry clean only fabrics.  This will make it difficult for your dry cleaner to thoroughly remove the stain.

Do – have stained items cleaned within 24 – 48 hours and make your dry cleaner aware of the stain.

Don’t – wear articles of clothing more than once before having the item cleaned properly

Do – point out the stain and disclose the nature of the stain to your dry cleaner for proper removal

Don’t – attempt to remove a stain on dry clean only or delicate fabrics yourself

Do – Pre-treat a stain on washable clothing if it is a water based stain, by applying a little water and gently dabbing or soaking the item in cool.

Don’t – listen to old wives tales or follow remedies from the internet

Do – always remember, your dry cleaner is your best source for information on how to properly remove stains and to clean your clothing and linens.

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