Check the materials that constitute the item of clothing. Synthetic fiber fabrics -- including nylon, polyester, acrylic and olefin -- hold on to oil stains. Do not allow synthetic fiber pieces to go through the dryer until you are sure the stain has been effectively treated, as once heat is applied, lifting spots becomes far more difficult, notes the Iowa State University Extension.
Dry clean a dry-clean-only fabric as soon as possible after staining. The Ohio State University Extension recommends acting within 24 to 48 hours.
Treat ink, shoe polish, tar, makeup and furniture polish stains with a stain stick, followed by heavy-duty liquid detergent and a hot water scrub..
Wash dye stains in hot water with detergent and a fabric-safe bleach. An alternative method includes pretreating the stain with detergent, rinsing, and then soaking it in dilute all-fabric bleach before washing.
Treat tannin stains with a hot water wash. These include washable ink, felt-tip pen, tea, coffee and berry stains.
Act quickly to treat oil-based paint stains before they dry using a thinner appropriate for the paint before washing the garment. The Iowa State University Extension recommends turpentine, paint thinner and alcohol as solvents. Treat latex paint stains while wet with a soak in cold water followed by a cold water wash.
Attempt to remove soot before washing stained fabrics in a combination of detergent and bleach safe for the fabric. Allow the item to air-dry, and repeat until the fabric is free of odor and stains.
Take fabric contaminated by mildew outside to remove as much mildew from the fabric as possible before pretreating and then washing. Use hot water and a fabric-safe bleach. The Iowa State University Extension warns that, because mildew destroys fabric fibers, white items may not bleach to their original color.
Things You Will Need
- Stain stick
- Heavy-duty laundry detergent
- Fabric-safe bleach
- Absorbent material
- Pat a spreading stain with an absorbent material. The Ohio State University Extension recommends removing such stains by placing the stain side down on a padded surface, then using a cloth lightly soaked with solvent to press the stain from the back side. Work from the edge to the center of the stain, moving the fabric often to a new, clean spot on the padded surface. Once the stain is no longer visible, wash the fabric to remove the solvent.