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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

                    More by this author

                    Catherine Winter

                    Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                    Last Updated on May 21, 2020

                    The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

                    The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

                    You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

                    Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

                    Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

                    An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

                    Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

                    1. The Paleo Diet

                    The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

                    The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

                    In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

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                    How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

                    The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

                    With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

                    It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

                    Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

                    2. Whole30

                    The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

                    With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

                    During the month you are eliminating:

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                    • sugar
                    • alcohol
                    • legumes
                    • grains
                    • dairy
                    • soy

                    Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

                    At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

                    Finding Out How Food Impacts You

                    Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

                    With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

                    This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

                    3. The Mediterranean Diet

                    The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

                    For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

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                    With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

                    • Fruits & vegetables
                    • Whole grains
                    • Legumes & nuts
                    • Replacing butter with olive oil
                    • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
                    • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
                    • Moderate amounts of red wine

                    Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

                    Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

                    With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

                    4. The Alkaline Diet

                    The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

                    The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

                    Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

                    The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

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                    People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

                    One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

                    Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

                    There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

                    The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

                    What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

                    The Big Takeaway:

                    Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

                    Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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