How to Remove a Stain

First: Never put water on a dryclean only garment in an effort to remove a stain!

Water stains are best removed with water - anything put on a stain will have to be removed. I know, most people has heard that soda water bubbles will lift a stain - Don't believe it!

Ink: Ink is combination of chemicals. One will come out with water and the other will not! Once the chemicals have been separated - the ink becomes permanent. Hairspray is water based, so even if it get the ink out - you then need to remove the hairspray stain. Most small ink stains can be removed by a skilled drycleaner. However success also depends on the fastness of the color in the garment. Natural fibers - cotton and silk for example, do not hold dyes very firmly making these sort of stains difficult to remove on brightly colored garments.

Second: If you feel the need to apply an at home stain remover, REFRAIN! Again, most of these products are water based and will need to be flushed with water. This is not a good idea for dryclean only garments.

Third: You can blot the stain with a clean towel or napkin. Do not use paper napkins, or worse, colored paper napkins - the color may transfer to the garment and cause damage.

Fourth: Do not rub a stain. This will cause abrasion or de-luster the fabric - so it is no longer a stain, it is then fabric damage. You may also work the soil into the fibers making the stain more difficult to remove. Blot or pat the stain to remove the excess.

Fifth: At home dryclean kits do not remove soils. They freshen with deodorants and at best remove dust.

Sixth: Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda are wonderful natural whiteners for your regular laundry. They are do not contain the toxic ingredients of many store bought bleaches and cleaners. Be sure to read the instructions and not over use them.

Seven: Sunshine is a wonderful disinfectant - leaving items outside in the sunshine for a short period (less than an hour) works as well today as it did in your grandmothers day. Drycleaning alone does not remove odors but sunshine will. But be warned, the sun is very damaging and can bleach garments and weaken fibers if they are left out too long!

In the end, I am advocating leaving stain removal to the professionals. They have access to more chemicals than you do at home and they have experience with all sorts of fibers and soils. Some stains that are impossible to remove at home - make-up stains and salad oil for example, are relatively easy for the drycleaner to remove because oil based stains come right out in the drycleaning process. One of the many lessons I have learned over the years is that nothing is simple. Every garment is unique - weave, material blend, dyes -- and every stain is unique, and is best left to the professional.

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