So you are out to dinner with friends the day before a trip.
You look great in your favorite creme crepe silk blouse.
Then the unthinkable!
The answer to this question is the same as the answer to so many questions. The unsatisfying "It Depends. . . "
The good news is it probably isn't as urgent as many people believe.
It takes anywhere from 4-6 months before sugar stain caramelize. Think about biting into an apple, the apple turns brown due to the sugar oxidizing when exposed to oxygen. The same happens when you spill clear soda, juice, white wine on your clothes. It dries clear. However, if not removed it will take several months for the stain to turn brown. And once it does, it will be VERY hard to remove, if not impossible. Oil stains (body oil, butter, grease) can also oxidize and they are even more difficult to remove that oxidized sugar stains.
So the question is, How Long Can You Safely Wait?
I always recommend that you clean a garment as quickly as possible. However, stains don't set immediately.
- Try not to put water on the stain at the scene of a stain. Do not put water on any stain if you don't plan on finishing the job. Almost getting a stain out can be worse than not doing anything. Blot don't rub, and avoid using water unless you are prepared to finish the job. This is especially true with blood and wine. As for ink - please don't ever put water on ink. It will set it immediately.
- Leaving your clothes in the car. The heat that can build up in a car can cook your clothes and set a stain in the matter of an hour. Once that is done, your clothes may be done for.
- Taking a cotton shirt off after sweating and leaving it in your closet for a week. I see this from guys again and again. Men (sorry for the generalization guys, I do love you) finish a hard days work with out noticing they had been perspiring. they leave their shirts in the back of the closet for over a week. Perspiration creates a chemical reaction and weakens the fibers quickly. Especially a natural fiber such as cotton or silk. When the shirt is cleaned, the shirt tears. . . typically in the area where the shirt came in contact with the person, the underarm or the back.