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Foolproof Stain Removal Tricks for Every Kind of Stain

Foolproof Stain Removal Tricks for Every Kind of Stain

I think that every one of us has experienced that sinking feeling when we realise that we’ve landed in or spilled something that will undoubtedly leave a stain. Whether that’s red wine on a tablecloth, grass streaks on knees, or a smear of mustard, ketchup, chili, and sauerkraut on your shirt from the filth-dog you bought for lunch, there’s a deep resignation at the fact that that stain’s never going to come out.

There are a few tricks to getting out stubborn stains, but remember that the earlier you catch it, the easier it is to get out. If you forget about the stain for a few weeks, or put the clothing item through the wash without specifically treating the spot, it’ll be a lot harder to get rid of. One thing to remember: whenever you try to get a stain out, always blot it (press at it) gently—never, ever rub at it to get it out. If you do, you’ll just grind the stain deep into the cloth fibres and it’ll be there forever.

Grass Stains

grass image

    Did you manage to turn your knees green while working in the garden? Or did your kid decide to slide down a hill on their face? Either way, you’ll have to get those green streaks out of your clothes as soon as possible. Grass one of the more difficult stains to contend with, but it’s not impossible to get it out.

    Never use ammonia to remove a grass stain, as it’ll just set the stain instead and make it permanent. Rubbing alcohol is a far better choice, as it’ll help to dissolve the chlorophyll’s lovely green pigment. If you’re using rubbing alcohol (aka isopropyl), daub it into the stain full-strength, let it air-dry, rinse it with alcohol, and repeat. Then work some liquid dish detergent into the stain and launder the piece as you usually do. Repeate the process as needed until the stain’s out.

    You can also use regular white vinegar in lieu of rubbing alcohol, but it may not work as effectively.

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    Red Wine Stains

    red wine stain

      As soon as you spill wine, flush it with water or club soda, blot out as much as possible and then douse a bunch of salt on the stain: the salt crystals will soak up the wine, thus removing the worst of the staining properties. Launder the item as usual as soon as possible.

      If you’re dealing with an older wine stain—like, on a shirt or dress that you tossed into a corner and forgot about—stretch the fabric over a bowl and pour boiling water through the stain. It should loosen things up enough to remove the stain particles, and then launder it as usual.

      Blood Stains

      blood stain

        Whether you’re dealing with the aftermath of a nosebleed, or an unexpected early period, blood is always difficult to get out of clothing.

        For fresh blood stains, blot the item with a cold, wet washcloth, rinse it thoroughly with cold water, and then let it soak in a very cold saltwater bath for several hours. If that doesn’t get the stain out, you can treat it with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, then rinse with cold water again, and put it through a laundry cycle as usual.

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        For old, dry blood stains, use the peroxide technique first—you can even repeat it a couple of times if necessary. Milk also seems to do a lot of good on older blood stains; just be sure to immerse the entire stain in milk and let that steep for a couple of hours before throwing it in the laundry.

        *Note: when dealing with blood stains, do not throw the item into the dryer until the stain is out, or it’ll set permanently.

        Oil Stains

        oil stain

          Engine grease, cooking oil… regardless of what kind of oil you’re dealing with, this is one of the most difficult stains to get rid of. Grease tends to burrow its way into fabric fibres, and it’s difficult to coax it out of there once it’s comfortable. If you can catch the stain when it’s fresh, you have a greater chance of removing it, so act quickly if/when this happens.

          If you get a little bit of oil onto your clothes, blot the spots with paper towel or tissue to get as much out as possible, and then grab a stick of chalk if there’s one nearby. The chalk needs to be white—the kind that’s used for blackboards—and you’ll use it in strong strokes working from the center of the stain outward. Be sure to cover every last bit of the stain, and then launder the item as quickly as possible. If there’s no chalk within easy reach, you can do the same trick with a bit of dish detergent as well: the liquid kind, not the powder that’s used in dishwashing machines.

          In a pinch, you can also use talc/baby powder or baking soda in lieu of chalk or detergent, but they won’t work as well.

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          Coffee/Tea Stains

          coffee stain

            The tannins in coffee and tea make rather spectacular stains if you don’t catch spills immediately. If you manage to douse yourself in coffee (or leave a ring on your favourite tablecloth), blot out as much liquid as you can and run the stain under cold water immediately afterward, then put the item to soak in cold water for a few hours. If the stain hasn’t lifted sufficiently, you can sponge it gently with detergent, soak it again, and then wash it as you usually do.

            *Note: if your coffee had cream in it, then it’s a combination stain—cream has a fair bit of oil in it, so you’re going to have to deal with things on two levels. First you’ll blot out as much liquid as possible, do the liquid detergent bit, and after sponging that away, hit it with chalk. Repeat if necessary.

            Deodorant Stains

            deodorant

              If you use deodorant or antiperspirant, you’ve likely had to deal with those charming white stains around the armpits of some of your clothes. Strangely enough, rubbing those stains with dryer sheets seems to lift them out really well. Of course, the dryer sheet trick only really works for fresh stains; for older ones, soak them overnight in a 2:1 solution of white vinegar : water, and then launder as usual.

              If you’re dealing with yellowish underarm stains on white clothing, make a thick paste of baking soda and water and spread that all over the stain. Let it sink in and dry overnight, and then pour full-strength white vinegar over it in the morning. That should foam up gorgeously to remove most of the stain, and you can then rub a bit of laundry detergent into the area and wash as usual. You can repeat the baking soda step a couple of times until the stain’s completely gone.

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              *Note: the baking soda trick also works for “ring around the collar” on men’s light-coloured dress shirts.

              Lipstick Stains

              lipstick stains

                Another fabulous combination stain, lipstick is a tricky beast to get rid of. Ideally, you’ll want to wipe it away with one of those wet wipes people use on babies’ backsides, but if you don’t have one of those handy, you can use a washcloth dipped in rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol.

                Urine Stains

                urine stains

                  If you’re dealing with stubborn pee-stains, hopefully it’s because the puppy you’re house-training has had a couple of slip ups, and not that your housemate came home completely hammered and mistook your closet for the ‘loo.

                  If you come across a urine patch while it’s still wet, blot up as much as possible with a clean cloth or a handful of paper towels. Hey, use a ShamWow if you have one—those things are genius.

                  More…

                  stain removal infographic

                    Infographic by Partselect

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                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                    Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                    Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

                    I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                    You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                    Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                    When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                    I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                    Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                    Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                    Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                    1. The Inner Critic

                    This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

                    • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                    • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                    • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                    • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                    He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                    Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                    2. The Worrier

                    This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                    He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

                    Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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                    3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                    He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                    He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                    He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                    4. The Sleep Depriver

                    This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                    His motivation can be:

                    • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                    • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                    • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                    • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                    How can you control these squatters?

                    How to Master Your Mind

                    You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                    Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                    There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                    • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                    • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                    This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                    The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                    Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                    For the Inner Critic

                    When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                    You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                    For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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                    You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

                    “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                    If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                    • He riles up the Worrier.
                    • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                    • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                    • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                    • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

                    Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                    Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                    For the Worrier

                    Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                    Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                    You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                    • Muscles tense

                    Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                    If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                    Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                    “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                    Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                    If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                    Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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                    Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                    For example:

                    If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                    “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                    Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                    “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                    Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                    For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                    Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                    The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                    • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                    • Muscles tension

                    I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                    Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                    Breathe in through your nose:

                    • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                    • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                    • Focus on your belly rising.

                    Breathe out through your nose:

                    • Feel your lungs emptying.
                    • Focus on your belly falling.
                    • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                    Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                    Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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                    One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                    Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                    For the Sleep Depriver

                    (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                    I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                    Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                    1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                    2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                    When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                    From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                    For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                    If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                    You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                    • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                    • Shut down your thinking.
                    • Calm your feelings.
                    • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                    Becoming the Master of Your Mind

                    Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                    You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                    Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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