The Notable Guide to Breaking Down Common Stains

It happens far too often – even to the most agile of us young professionals. Staining your clothes can be time-consuming, expensive, and down right annoying, and often a headache combination of all three. Today we’re breaking it down for you (literally and figuratively) to make removing the most common of stains as efficient and effortless as possible. 

Red wine
We all have that one friend who gets a little too drunk and occasionally overstays their welcome, but why is this the same friend that always insists on drinking red wine?! We don’t mind that their teeth are stained, we turn a blind eye to the purple ring around their mouth, but no matter the precautions taken, they always end up spilling all over the couch you spent far too much money on, the pillows your grandmother made you, or your new white jeans.

The key, as with all stains, is to act quickly while the stain is still wet (and don’t let them help you clean up, trust us). Treat immediately with warm water, apply salt on the stain and let it sit. Then rinse out the salt, dab gently with detergent and lay the garment face down on a paper towel. Rinse again and launder normally. Avoid bar or flake soaps, as they can permanently set the stain.

Pen ink is one of the most common but most frustrating stains to get out if you don’t know what your doing. Soap and water can actually just make it worse, but pouring rubbing alcohol on the pen stain (hand sanitizer works too) before putting it into a regular washing cycle quickly and effectively gets the ink out.

Deodorant streaks
Don’t you hate it when you’re rushing out the door for a meeting and you take a quick glimpse in the mirror to find white streaks all over your black shirt? Though rubbing water on the marks seems to do the trick mentally, the zebra stripes are usually just left looking worse. Rubbing the stain out with a pantyhose, a used dryer sheet, or the foam from a dry cleaning hanger removes all traces of deodorant.

This seems to be a common problem for women. We slather on our body lotion after showering and then quickly get dressed before heading out the door, but when we look down, low and behold, greasy streaks are spread all over our duds. The first thing to do? Blot away the oil with a paper towel and cover the spot with baby powder (salt or corn starch will also do the trick). Remove the powder and work a small amount of detergent into the stain. Hang dry (as drying in a hot dryer may cause the oil to set into the fabric).

As inevitable as accidentally liking an ex’s Instagram picture while creeping them, coffee spillage is unfortunately just one of those things that is bound to happen. The fix? Soak the stain immediately with lukewarm water. Gently dab the stain with detergent or with diluted vinegar and wash in the hottest water possible. Avoid bar or powder soap, which can set the stain permanently.

We honesty don’t know how it happens. Who in their right mind would put gum on the seat of a chair? But sitting on someone’s sticky sediments happens to the best of us. The least messy way to remove gum is to freeze it and brush/peel it off your fabric. The warmer the gum, the stickier and more malleable it gets, so by holding an ice pack or ice cubes to the mess for about 10-15 minutes, it hardens the substance allowing you to pull it up and out of the fabric. Wash the fabric afterwards to remove any residue.

Whether you had a hot and heavy make-out session or someone got a little too close for comfort with lipstick on, white shirts and red lips are typically not a good match. Because lipstick is a grease-based cosmetic, you must first absorb as much of the lipstick on a paper towel and then dab with rubbing alcohol. Using a clean paper towel, force the solution (with the stain) into it. Rinse the garment and launder as usual once all traces of the stain are removed.

#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life) 

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