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Stains

Stains around the collar

Dab with a cloth soaked in a mixture (3 equal parts) of washing-up liquid, ammonia, and wear. Scrub with an old toothbrush. Rinse. Dry. Or use a cloth dampened with warm water with added white vinegar (a tablespoon of vinegar to a bowl of water).

Butter or greasy stains

On white cotton or colourfast fabrics, use soapy water with a little ammonia added. Don’t forget to place a sheet of absorbent paper or a clean cloth above the fabric. – For silk, sprinkle talcum powder on the stains. Sommières clay powder can also give good results.

Alcoholic drink stains

Dab the stain as quickly as possible with a cotton cloth soaked in a little water. If the stain is a little older, dab it with a cloth containing a 50% water-alcohol blend. Rinse, then dry, or scrub with a small amount of dry Marseille soap. Leave it for a few hours, then rinse.

Candlewax stains

Gently scrape marks away using a spatula or a spoon, then place a blotter on anything that’s left over before running over the mark with a hot iron. If an oily stain remains, apply a cloth soaked in benzene.

Coffee stains

  • Apply warm glycerine to the stain then rinse with a mild vinegar-water blend.
  • Or rub it away using very lightly dampened Marseille soap.
  • Alternatively rub the stain using a cloth moistened with warm water and egg yolk.

Let the solution act, then rinse again with warm water. Water with 90-degree proof alcohol added gives good results with silk and wool.

Cherry stains

Wash the stain with a cloth moistened with milk, then let the solution take effect for at least two hours before washing with warm, soapy water, then rinse off and dry.

Chocolate stains

Often, cold water is enough. If the stain has become crusty, scrape the dried chocolate then dab it with a cloth moistened with soapy water and, if the stain still remains, rub it using a cotton cloth moistened with benzene, diluted ammonia or white vinegar.

Cola stains, or stains from other sugary drinks

If you act instantly, all you have to do is sprinkle flour on the stain, or even better – Sommières clay. Once the stained area has dried, brush it, then dab it down if required with a cloth moistened with a small amount of soapy water. If the stain is old, dab it with a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol or ammonia dissolved in water. Don’t forget to rinse.

Curry stains, or other coloured sauces

Dab with a cloth moistened with benzene or 90 proof alcohol, or soak the stain in warm glycerine.

Ammonia diluted in a small amount of water can also be very effective.

Don’t forget to rinse the treated area in warm water.

Ink stains

Moisten the stain using milk. If the stain remains, rub it gently with lemon juice with salt added. On white or colour-fast cottons, 90-proof alcohol or water with bleach dissolved in it is also very effective. Water with alcohol vinegar dissolved in it gives good results on coloured cotton fabrics. Hair lacquer can turn out to be very effective at dissolving the ink. Treat with steam and then wipe away immediately using a clean cloth. Repeat until the stain has disappeared completely.

Red ink stains

Apply a thick layer of mustard, and leave it on for an hour or two. Wipe and rinse.

Spinach stains

Rub with half a raw potato, then wash using soap. Rinse with plenty of warm water.

Fruit or vegetable stains

Fruit or vegetable stains can be removed from fabrics made with natural fibres using a mix of equal parts water and alcohol, then with acetic acid (25%). On white cloth, water with a very small amount of added bleach is very effective. If stains persist, you can try to remove colour from the stained area using 10 parts of hydrogen peroxide. Don’t forget to rinse as soon as possible.

Red berry stains

Apply a cloth moistened with lemon juice to the stained area. Don’t forget to rinse the affected area.

Make-up or foundations stains (very useful)

Remove these stains by dabbing them with a cloth soaked in ether. Repeat the process until the stains have disappeared altogether, then rub with soapy water, or pour a small amount of make-up remover onto the cloth. Lather and wash with soap, rubbing gently.

Engine grease stains

Scrub with a toothbrush soaked in hand cleanser that can be obtained from garages and mechanics, diluted in a small amount of cold water. Rinse and wash.

Fruit juice stains

Moisten the stained area with milk that is as hot as possible. Vinegar or carbonated water can also be very useful. If the stain does not disappear, rub the fabric with glycerine. Leave for quarter of an hour before washing with warm water.

Ketchup stains

Rinse with cold water, then soak the stain in white vinegar diluted by 50%. Leave and allow it to act. Soak it once again. If this does not generate the desired result, allow it to soak for two hours in undiluted vinegar or hot milk, then wash.

Milk stains

Dab with a cloth dampened with 28% ammonia.

Mustard stains

If the stains are fresh, remove the excess with a spoon, dab with a cloth moistened with water with added soap, then with another cloth soaked in a hydrogen peroxide and ammonia solution. If the stains are particularly crusty, they can be removed or at least made paler by dabbing them with a cloth soaked in lemon juice.

Beef stains

In theory, cold water is enough. If the stain is very old, dab it with a cloth soaked in a small amount of water with added bleach. If this is not enough, dab with a cloth soaked in mildly diluted hydrogen peroxide.

Paint stains

Delicately remove the excess from the stain using the blade of a knife, then dab the stained area with a cloth soaked in white spirit, or take extreme care and use oven cleaner. Leave for quarter of an hour then wipe away. Don’t forget to protect your hands with rubber gloves.

Acrylic paint stains

If the paint is fresh, scrape away the excess using a spatula then wash in cold water and soap straight away. If the paint is dry, dab with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol, then wash.

Stains caused by ironing

Lime scale stains caused by ironing can be removed by passing over the shirt with a cloth soaked in a 50:50 mix of water and hydrogen peroxide.

Lipstick stains…

Dab using a cloth soaked in ether or butter. Spread the butter over the stain and scrape. Wash using water and detergent, or soak the stain (without spreading) in non-greasy make-up remover.

Blood stains

Dab using a cloth soaked in a 28% ammonia mixture, then using hydrogen peroxide as required.

Soya stains

Rinse in cold water. Wash with soap or a paste made up of bicarbonate of soda and a little water. If the stain persists, soak the stained area in white vinegar with a little water added. Leave for an hour before rubbing with soap to clean.

Greasy and sugary sauce stains

Dilute the stain in cold water, then rub with glycerine and a drop of liquid soap. Rinse. Lightly diluted white vinegar can also be effective, or sprinkle the stain with bicarbonate of soda or corn-starch, then brush delicately without rubbing. Rinse in hot water. Alternatively, apply a paste made from water and soda crystals. Leave for a quarter of an hour then rinse in very hot water.

Stains from sugary foods

These can be removed using warm water.

Ballpoint pen stains

On white cotton, lemon juice works miracles. Otherwise, dab with a sponge soaked in acetone or 90 degree proof alcohol, or even rubbing alcohol, then finally, lemon.

Marker pen stains

Rub with a cloth soaked in 90-degree proof alcohol. Wash and rinse, or cause the steam to evaporate using hair lacquer. As soon as the ink starts to detach from the fabric, rinse in plenty of water.

Hair dye stains

Dab with a cloth soaked in a hot aqueous 5% solution of hydrogen sulphite, then rinse and dry.

Tea stains

By acting quickly against these stains, they can be made to disappear using soapy water. Old stains can be removed with lemon juice or warm glycerine and soapy water. A blend of equal parts of white vinegar and 90-degree proof alcohol is also highly effective.

Tomato stains

Dab with a cloth soaked in water, then sponge and wash away.

Sweat stains

If you are unable to rinse the stains in water immediately, they can be removed by dabbing them with a sponge soaked in white vinegar or ammonia diluted to 28%. You can also pass over the stain with a cloth soaked in hydrogen peroxide. Delicate fabrics should be dabbed with a cloth soaked in somewhat diluted lemon juice; let it dry, then wash. If the garment is discoloured by sweat, soak it in a 50:50 mix of water and white alcohol vinegar.

Sweat and deodorant stains

If the deodorant has formed a crust, remove it by applying absorbent paper towels to the armhole area and then ironing it with a hot iron. The paper should absorb the entire stain. All you have to do then is remove the yellow perspiration stains by dabbing them with a cloth moistened with a mixture of water and 28% ammonia solution. White shirts can also be cleaned by running over the stain with a cloth dampened with hydrogen peroxide.

Wine stains

Sprinkle a moist stain immediately with corn-starch or Sommières clay. Once the stained area has dried, brush it and dab it with a cloth soaked in milk. Add a little soapy water and the stain will disappear. If the wine has just been spilled, pat the wine down with a clean cloth and rub it immediately with a sponge soaked in carbonated water. If the stain remains, soak it in hot milk or vinegar for an hour, or longer if required, then rinse.

Vinaigrette stains

Sprinkle the stains with talc, corn-starch or baking powder in order to absorb the excess fat. Leave the addition to take effect, then brush lightly without rubbing heavily, then finally rinse in running water.

Vomit stains

If you are unable to rinse these stains immediately using warm water, they can be removed with 28% ammonia.

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