It's one thing to consign a much loved outfit to the charity shop or the bin because you've changed your look or worn it to death. It's quite another to see one of the mainstays of your current wardrobe rendered useless due to an unfortunate accident.
There are quite a few laundry tips and tricks which will help you to save your favourite shirt from premature death by staining, here's a round up of some of the best.
Some General Stain Removal Guidelines
Act fast - The quicker you attend to a stain, the better your chances are of removing it.
Be gentle - Dabbing will get you further than rubbing, your aim is to lift the offending substance not grind it deeply into the fibres.
Work from the inside out and the outside in - That way you'll both tackle the deepest area of stain and stop it spreading.
Know your fabrics and test solvents first - Wash care labels will help you to assess what's likely to work on a specific item. If in doubt test the stain remover on a hidden area.
Always start by lifting dried on substances by brushing before applying fluids - Blot wet stains from the outside in to lift the maximum of the substance before moving onto stain removal.
How to Remove Common Clothing Stains
Chocolate - Every mum needs to know how to remove chocolate stains! Fresh stains may need nothing more than a cold water rinse before laundering as normal. Flush the stain from the back to avoid the water pushing it deeper into the fibre. It this doesn't lift the mark, soak the stain for 30 minutes with a detergent and water mix then wash as normal.
Blood - A fresh blood stain may lift when you flush from the back with cold water. Failing this, soak overnight with a laundry detergent and water mix. You can also try specialist enzyme based stain removers.
Nail polish - The simplest way to remove nail polish stains is to use nail polish remover! Just make sure to test on the inside of the fabric first. Place the item stain down on an absorbent towel and apply the polish remover or acetone from the back. Rinse and wash as normal.
Coffee - Soak for one minute with laundry stain remover, if no mark is visible launder immediately. It there is still visible staining, blot from the outside in using a half and half white wine vinegar and water solution. In this case you can apply gentle pressure in a circular movement, working from the edge of the stain towards the centre.
Ink - Start with nail polish remover on a cotton bud or paper towel, blot and dab gently. If this is having no effect, try toothpaste (yes really!). Failing this, soak the stain in isopropyl alcohol then wash as normal.
Sweat stains - These common clothing stains can be treated with a paste of baking soda and water. Work the mix into the stained area and let it sit for thirty minutes then wash as normal. On white items you can also soak the area in a one to two mixture of laundry detergent and hydrogen peroxide. Again, soak for thirty minutes, rinse out then launder as normal.
Tomato sauce - Apply washing up liquid, rub gently then rinse with cold water. It there's still visible staining blot with a towel soaked in white wine vinegar.
Wine - After blotting saturate the stain with a mix of a tablespoon of detergent, a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and two cups of lukewarm water, blot and repeat. If this doesn't work repeat the same process using an equal mix of hydrogen peroxide and soap.
Grease - Use a pretreatment laundry stain remover, allowing the item to soak for one minute before rinsing. If this isn't enough, rub the stain directly with detergent and launder immediately. Extra heavy stains can be treated from the back with a dry cleaning solvent, using the stain down technique described above for nail polish.