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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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                    Catherine Winter

                    Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                    Last Updated on October 15, 2019

                    How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                    How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                    What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

                    To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

                    All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

                    There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

                    With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

                    What follows is a list of thirteen of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these 13 tips are essential:

                    1. Think Big

                      From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

                      “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

                      There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

                      Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

                      Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

                      Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
                      Instead be ambitious.

                      2. Find What You Love to Do and Do It

                        From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                        “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                        This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                        Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                        If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                        Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                        Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                        Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                        3. Learn How to Balance Life

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                          From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                          “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                          All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                          If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                          However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                          If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                          In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                          To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                          4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

                            From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                            “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                            There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                            Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                            His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                            He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                            Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                            Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                            If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

                            5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed

                              From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                              “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                              This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                              It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

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                              If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

                              Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                              6. Be a Person of Action

                                From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                                “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                                Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                                Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                                When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                                You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                                All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                                Applying this to you?

                                Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                                7. Cultivate Positive Relationships

                                  From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                                  The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                                  The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                                  People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                                  This is key to good leadership.

                                  It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                                  But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                                  What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                                  As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                                  8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas

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                                    From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                                    “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                                    It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                                    Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                                    If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                                    9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed

                                      From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                                      “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                                      Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                                      It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                                      Keep dreaming!

                                      10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

                                        From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                        “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                        Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                        Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                        If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                        However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                        11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On

                                          From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                          “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                          It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                                          When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

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                                          Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                          If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                          This is How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

                                          12. Be Willing to Work Hard

                                            From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                            “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                            You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                            Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                            True success comes from work.

                                            You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                            Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                            13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition

                                              From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                              “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                              In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                              If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                              It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                              Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                              Final Thoughts

                                              What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                              Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                              More to Help You Succeed in Life

                                              Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

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