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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Picnic Stains

We all know that the purpose of Independence Day is to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and I love the fact most of us celebrate it with a cookout or picnic, time with family and friends, and fireworks.  I have a thing for outdoor meals, especially when they are associated with a holiday; you can do all kinds of theme-related d├ęcor and food.  But there are always two things on the menu in the Mitchell home on July 4th – that’s burgers and corn on the cob.  Sadly, when I eat food like that while standing around or sitting on a blanket, I end up spilling something down my shirt.

I’d be willing to bet that I’m not the only one that struggles with this, so A Cleaner World has come up with a list of common picnic-related food stains and how to address them.
  1. Ketchup – Gently scrape off the excess and then leave it alone until you can work on it at home; keep in mind that scrubbing a spill pushes it further into the fabric’s fibers.  When you can spend some time on it, flush the area with cold water, running it through from the back side of the garment.  Spray the area with a grocery-store spotting agent and let it soak in for 20 minutes, then launder according to the care label’s directions.  Before placing the garment in the dryer, check to see if the stain has been completely removed.  If not, try soaking in some color-safe bleach before attempting to launder again.  If the stain is still there after the second attempt, then we recommend taking it to a professional.   Too many attempts could pull the color from the garment.
  2. Mustard – Mustard is an incredibly difficult stain to remove with the ingredients of mustard seed, color from turmeric, and liquid; it’s considered a combination stain that usually requires multiple steps. Trying to clean it at home will likely remove the dried-on portion, but the discoloration from the turmeric will remain.  If you want to try at home, here’s what we recommend.  Act quickly, addressing the stain as soon as possible.  Start with removing the excess, then rinse the stain with cold water, working the fabric with your fingers.  Try pouring a small amount of liquid detergent directly on the spill and let it sit for a few minutes.  Rinse and then see how much of the stain remains.  Next try applying a stain remover, letting it sit, and then laundering in cold water with detergent (provided the care label indicates laundering as the preferred method of cleaning).  Once the wash cycle is complete, remove the garment from the washer to see if the stain is still there.  If it is, do not place the item in the dryer as the heat from the dryer will set the stain.  If it is still there, we recommend taking the garment to a professional.
  3. Butter, Grease, Oil – Grocery store pre-treaters cannot break down oil-based stains; dry cleaning solvent is a degreaser, and any professional dry cleaner can remove this type of stain easily.  If you are determined to get this one out on your own, try treating the area with a liquid detergent that contains a degreaser, launder according to the care label’s directions, and check to see if the stain has been removed before placing it in the dryer. 
  4. Mayonnaise – Mayo is oil-based so try the steps in number 3, making sure not to place the garment in the dryer if the stain still persists.
  5. Ice Cream – Carefully remove the excess, then, assuming it is a machine washable garment, wash as soon as possible after the spill.  First, rinse the area with cold water, running the water through from the back of the fabric.  Second, treat the area with a liquid laundry detergent that contains enzymes or a color-safe bleach, and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes.  Next, launder according to the care label’s instructions but avoid using hot water.  Finally, check the garment before placing it in the dryer to make sure the stain has been removed. 
Of course, A Cleaner World is always here to assist with any sort of stain challenge.  Just bring your garment by one of our locations, and we’ll be happy to offer advice or clean it for you.

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