Simple Ways to Remove Tough Stains: Treat stains as soon as possible for a better chance of completely removing them. Clothes dryers set stains, making them more difficult or even impossible to get out. When trying to remove stains, air-dry the garment after washing to ensure the stain is completely gone. Once the stain is out, wash and dry as usual.
Treat tough stains and odors with a presoak. Start your washer. Once it fills with water, stop the cycle, and add 1 cup of washing soda. Let the clothes soak for 20 minutes before starting the washer to finish the cleaning cycle.
Soak up oil stains with powder. To remove a tough oil stain, spray stain remover on the garment, then sprinkle with diatomaceous earth, cornstarch, or arrowroot powder. The powder will absorb the stain. Let it sit for 10–15 minutes, then wash as usual.
Remove ink, oil, makeup, and even dried paint stains with natural hair spray. Spray stains liberally, let them sit for 5–10 minutes, then wash as usual. For paint stains, saturate the stain with hair spray, then rub the fabric with a butter knife, or a softbristled toothbrush for delicate fabrics, to loosen the stain. Run warm water on the stain to wash away the loosened paint. Keep repeating these steps until the paint is gone.
Scrape away paint stains with a razor. Allow the paint to dry, then scrape it off clothing fibers with a razor blade, being careful not to cut yourself or the fabric.
Remove grease and other tough stains with washing soda. Sprinkle washing soda directly on the stain, and wash immediately. Don’t allow undiluted washing soda to sit on clothes, as it can eat through fabrics and fade colors due to its high alkalinity.
Pretreat makeup stains with shaving cream. Did you accidentally rub some foundation on your collar? Squirt some shaving cream on the stain and let it sit for 5 minutes. Wash as usual.
Keep colors bright with black pepper. Add a teaspoon of black pepper to the wash to brighten colors and prevent fading. Colors usually fade due to detergent buildup. Black pepper works as an abrasive to remove dirt and detergent from clothes.
Use a crayon to free a caught zipper. Color a caught zipper with a crayon. Use a crayon that’s the same color as the zipper. The zipper will move freely along the track, and the crayon won’t stain your clothes like oil can.
Remove gum from clothes with an ice cube. Put an ice cube on the gum to freeze it hard, then scrape it out of the fabric. You can also pop the garment in the freezer to get the same effect.
Use vinegar to clean your washer almost effortlessly. To clean front-loading washing machines, fill the dispenser with white vinegar, set to hot water and largest load, and run the cycle. Use the cleaning cycle if your washer has that option. For newer toploading machines, use the cleaning cycle, if available, or the normal cycle if your machine doesn’t have that option. Fill the dispenser with vinegar, and run the cycle. For older toploading machines, fill with hot water, and add 3 cups of white vinegar. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then turn it on to run through the normal cycle. For all machines: Once the cycle is finished, scrub the drum with a cloth or sponge. Use a toothbrush to get into hard-to-reach spaces. Be sure to clean well around the seals to remove soap scum and mildew.
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