IS YOUR day ruined when Mary spills fruit juice on her clean frock or someone upsets a cup of tea over your best tablecloth? Are you out of sorts when John gets grease spots on his sleeves as the tinkers with the car, or when Junior can't resist a fresh paint sign? You have
really it may nj know sometí move them.
The thing is to gefijgpTliem as soon as ]X)ssible, so it is best to W prepared for the accident that will happen in spite of all the usua precautions. Lay in a little stock of materials to banish fhos^ugly marks, and keep them in some on^>l;i^®uAre you can put your hand on them whenevcWhev’re needed
Every unwanted s]x>t requires« own particular treatment, and this, of coiMe, depends on the nature of the stain. But.you need to know more than the cause; youihhould understand the fabric and the method of applying the bleach or solvent, or the cure may be worse than the blemish. Sometimes, of course, you’ll Bmne across an ugly mark without knowing wnat it ia of how it got there, and that’s when you ha^Pto proceed ^th caution, try¿ ing first this, then that till . oi| hit on the thing. Begin with mild meaPires, then i essary more drastic ones.
Even a simple stain may give a little trouble if it has become set. Others are pretty obstinate from the start, though usually you can get the better of them if you have the knowledge and the patience to persevere.
Don’t try to hurry matters along by using Ux) strong a solution. Repeated applications of a wwWer bleach is the better plan, and is more likely to do the trick without proving disastrous to the material. Then, too. you must rememk«that silks and rayons will not stand certain ffemicals which can safely be used on cottons and linens. In the case of colored materials you have to consider the dye, and that presents another problem.
Now the technique: For fresh, loose stains _ on washable material, put the soiled part of ■ the goods over a bowl and soak in cold or tepid v waiter, or ix>ur hot water through the material from a height. See directions as to which to use.
If it does not yield to this treatment, go after it with other solvents advised, using a glass medicine dropper. It may be necessary sometimes to apply two solutions to the mark —an acid one to remove it and then an alkali to counteract the action on the fabric. In that case it is advisable to have two glass droppers, one for each solution.
Nonwashable material may be laid over a thick pad of towelling or absorbent paper and sponged lightly and carefully with as little water solvent or bleaching agent as possible, working from the outside in to stop “ring” formation.
Do not allow any acid or alkali to remain on the goods, as it will weaken the fibre. Rinse it off thoroughly.
As I’ve said before, an old stain is more persistent than a fresh one, and the sooner you treat it the better success you’ll have. Don’t wait until after the clothes are washed or it will be twice the job and sometimes imixxssible.
Every laundry should have its supply of stain removers. Label them clearly, and take pains to store and use inflammable ones with special care. If you are prepared with materials and knowledge, the inevitable accident isn’t such a serious matter. Detailed instructions are given for the treatment of various types of stains.
Fruit—For fresh stains on white cotton or linen, pour boiling water from a height on to the stain.
For delicate fabrics, sponge with a clean cloth and warm water. Old or stubborn stains must be bleached out. Use hydrogen peroxide carefully and rinse thoroughly. Alternate repeated applications of oxalic acid solution diluted and ammonia solution should remove the most stubborn stains.
Tea and Coffee—If fresh, will disappear when boiling water is poured through the stain. Stubborn stains may be removed from white table linen by bleaching with Javelle water.
For more delicate fabrics sjxmge with warm water.
If a grease spot remains from cream in the tea or coffee, use a little mild soap to make a suds and sponge. Rinse thoroughly by sponging with clear water.
Chocolate or Cocoa—For washable materials, use hot water and soap. I fold and stubborn, use a bleach. For unwashable materials, sponge with clear warm water first, then remove the grease spot by sponging with a grease solvent gasoline, carbon tetrachloride, etc.
Cream. IceCream, Salad Dressing, Butter, Gravy—If material is washable, use warm water and soap.
For delicate fabrics, sponge with warm water, dry, then place the sjxA over a fresh absorbent cloth and sponge with a grease solvent, working always toward the centre to prevent the formation of a ring.
Six)ts in extremely delicate fabrics may be treated with an absorbent powder such as fuller’s earth (for darker materials), magnesia or French chalk. The powder is spread thickly on the spot and left for several hours, then brushed off. Two or three applications may be necessary.
MilkCold water and soap. (Hot water sets the stain). Water Spots—Removed by washing if the garment is washable.
Unwashable garments may be steamed over the spout of the tea kettle. Cover the spout with two or three thicknesses of cheesecloth to keep in the excess moisture, and shake the garment in the jet of steam. Sometimes water spots will disappear if the garment is pressed under a cloth wrung out of hot water.
Grass StainsOn washable materials, fresh stains will yield to soap and water. Old or very bad stains should be softened first by rubbing with lard or any cooking fat. For unwashable materials, sjxmge with a clean cloth dipjK-d in alcohol. Dampen the cloth —do not soak it—with alcohol and sjxmge carefully, working toward the centre.
Blood Stains—Soak first in cold water, then wash in warm soap suds.
Scorch—Soap and water and sunlight for white materials.
Mildew— Soap and water for a mild stain. If old and stubborn, bleach in Javelle water or hydrogen peroxide, wash in hot water and place in sun.
Grease — On washable materials, soap and warm water will suffice.
On unwashable materials, a solvent such as gasoline, kerosene, carbon tetrachloride may be used. Moisten a clean cloth with the reagent and sponge the spot carefully, working from the outside in, keeping the sjxA over blotting paper or absorbent cloth. Crease on delicate fabrics may be absorbed by fuller’s earth, or mag nesia, or by placing the spot between two pieces of clean blotting paper and pressing with a warm iron. Old grease stains, motor oil. etc., should be softened first with lard.
Ink Clear warm water immediately. For fresh stains, moisten with salt and lemon juice or soak in sour milk or buttermilk. Wash. Oxalic acid solution applied carefully and neutralized with pure diluted ammonia solution. Hydrogen peroxide may be used on white materials.
Iron Rust—Salt and lemon juice and sunshine on white materials, or oxalic acid and ammonia as for ink.
Iodine—Wash in warm soapy water to which a_ little ammonia has been added. Cover stain with a paste made of laundry starch with cold water. Rinse in warm water and repeat if necessary. Alcohol is suggested for a badly set stain.
Cod-liver Oil—Apply carbon tetrachloride freely as soon as the garment becomes stained. Follow by washing in warm soapsuds. Old stains are extremely difficult to remove.
Perspiration Sponge with soap and water, adding a little ammonia to the suds. Then expose to sunlight. Odormay be removed with chloroform. If the color is gone, there is no way of restoring it other than dyeing the whole garment.
Paint or Varnish—Wash in cold water and soap if stain is fresh. Old stains may be softened with kerosene and sponged with turpentine or with turpentine and ammonia. Several applications may be necessary. Paint stains on delicate materials may be sponged with carbon tetrachloride, working toward the centre of the spot.
Recipe for Javelle Water
2 Cupfuls of washing soda
1 Quart of boiling water
1 Cupful of chloride of lime
2 Quarts of cold water
Put the washing soda in a granite pan and add the boiling water. Mix the lime with the cold water. Pour the lime solution into the soda solution, mix and allow to set until clear. Pour the clear liquid into dark bottles or keep in a dark place. The white residue may be poured down the sink and serves to clear the drain.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.