One of the HIGHEST COMPLIMENTS I get on a daily basis is when my friends text me a question followed by “I feel like you know stuff like this”. I’m choosing to assume that means I am a wealth of random stain fighting and troubleshooting knowledge, not that I’ve dropped enough things on my clothing and surrounding environment to learn the hard way.
Here are a few things I have come up against, and how I combatted them:
Suede: Whether you have mud, milk (got this question!), or anything else that messes up your kicks, always wait for it to dry. If you rub suede while it’s wet, it will only damage it further. The best part about suede is that it can mostly be remedied by brushing! I once had flats completely coated in mud, but waited (painfully) for them to dry, smacked them against each other and I was good to go. If you want to invest in a suede brush you are more than welcome to, but I find a piece of velcro, nail/toothbrush or even your hand works just fine. The main goal is to get the “nap” all back facing the same way.
Blood: How you got the blood where you got the blood is not in my job description to know. I have watched my fair share of Netflix and I have my theories. Anyway. The number one way to conquer blood stains in my opinion is hydrogen peroxide. Just pour it right on, let it fizz and bubble (so rewarding) and immediately wash in cold water.
Chaptsick/grease: It might seem that in addition to golf, travel and scotch, my husband’s favorite pastime is leaving Chapstick in his pants pockets in the wash. I have tried two methods to address this: baking soda + toothbrush, and Dawn. BLUE DAWN is the antithesis of any household issue- shower scum, dirty diamonds and grease stains. Just use it in place of stain treatment and let it sit briefly before washing (again, in cold water). I don’t know why the color matters, but if it’s up to me and the tiny oil covered ducklings, you won’t keep asking questions.
A backup option for Chapstick that has been washed and dried is baking soda and a toothbrush. Just sprinkle the soda over the stain and wet a toothbrush. Make sure to go in circular motions over the stain until it gets lighter and lighter.
Overall tips: From top to bottom in stain fighting, a few things remain true. ALWAYS use cold water, even if you are out and about. Anything hot (dryer, iron, even hot water sometimes) can set a stain permanently. If you catch a stain before it hits the dryer, always re-wash it again before placing it to dry. If you need to, I recommend hanging dry or placing it outside in the sun.
Make sure to blot a stain rather than scrub and frequently move the cloth around that you are using so you don’t keep wiping the same stuff back on to your spot.
If you can wait, it’s best to let certain things dry versus tackling them wet. I have had the best luck getting blood, wine and other food spills out right away before they dry. Mud, marker/pen and grease are better treated once they have dried a bit. Paint is a mixed bag… it depends on the type and the surface. Sometimes it’s best to blot right away (don’t spread it!) and other times it’s best to wait til it dries and scrape or peel it.
My go-to tools for nearly every occasion are this stain pen, Oxyclean (in laundry or creating a paste for carpet/floor), Blue Dawn (grease, lipstick, Chapstick), a Magic Eraser (paint, Sharpie, anything on walls or hard surfaces, shower grout, stickers on picture frames), toothbrush and a thin, plain white towel.