This spot-on advice will help you quickly erase fun-in-the-sun spills and splatters. For more clothing care tips, don't miss our solutions to six common laundry dilemmas.
1. Grass stains
2. Condiment spills (mustard, ketchup)
3. Fresh-berry spots
4. Sunscreen streaks
Tools You'll Use
- Enzyme detergent
- Chlorine and/or oxygen bleach
- Cold water; cloth or paper towel
- Boiling water
- Rubbing alcohol
- Aerosol prewash spray or solvent-based spot remover
1. Win the turf war. When gardening, picnicking, or a backyard game of badminton leaves you seeing green, here's how to undo the grass marks fast: Drizzle on a little liquid laundry detergent with enzymes (check the label) and rub it into the stain; let sit about five minutes. Then launder using the type of bleach (chlorine or oxygen) and hottest water permitted by the clothing's care label (in fact, this is the final step for all of these washable-fabric fixes).
2. Hold the sauce. Uh-oh - there's more mustard and ketchup on your shirt than on your hot dog! First, gently scrape off the blob(s). Then dip a cloth or paper towel in cold water and blot (don't rub) the stain. Once you get home: For mustard, work a dab of glycerin (found in drugstores) into the stain and let it sit about five minutes; rinse. For ketchup, flush the stain from the back side of the fabric with cold water. Next, for both, apply liquid detergent to the front of the stain and tamp down with an old, clean toothbrush to break up any hard residue. Add more detergent to the stain; machine-wash as described earlier.
3. Put up a fruit fight. The not-so-sweet truth: Juicy berries can leave hard-to-remove stains on fabric. To deal: Immediately sponge the spot with cool water. Later, stretch the stained cloth over a bowl or pot in the sink. Hold a kettle of boiling water at least 12 inches above the fabric and pour the water through the stain. The mark should disappear. If not, sponge it with rubbing alcohol before tossing the item in the machine to wash, as above.
4. Cream sunblock smears. It may be a summer essential for your skin, but it isn't for your clothes. If sunscreen lands on your favorite swimsuit or shorts, scrape off the excess. At home, apply an aerosol-spray stain remover like Shout (these contain solvents for oily stains) or a solvent spot remover like Afta (guardsman.com). And, yep, launder as above.Make It Easier Next Time
- Bring along an on-the-go stain-remover pen or wipe - particularly good on food stains - and use it immediately after your spill. Also, don't let the stained garment linger in the hamper for days; toss it in the machine ASAP.
- Pick up GHRI-tested Max Force Gel Stick, new from OxiClean ($5, oxiclean.com), for your laundry kit. It can be applied up to a week before washing (unlike most pretreaters, which should be used just before laundering).
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