When dealing with stains, people like to act fast. Poured coffee on your oriental rug? Youíre probably dashing down the kitchen to get the mop. Dropped some ketchup on your brand new couch cover? Thereís a good chance youíre grabbing for the nearest tissues and wiping them off. After all, stain can get terribly difficult to remove when left unattended.
Problem is, much of what we immediately do to remove stain is all wrong. Too often, we end up spreading it over a wider area. If weíre not careful, we can worsen it with additional stains. Sometimes, we end up setting the damage more permanently.
To ensure proper management of stains, keep the following things in mind:
1. Stains should be kept dry. Avoid the knee-jerk reaction of applying water onto stains. A soft, dry brush should work better for you.
2. Donít rush. When you rush, you barely think. When you donít think, you can end up doing stupid things to your stain. Work calmly and you will likely be fine.
3. Blot, donít wipe. Wiping can spread stains in a wider area. Blotting from the middle should help keep it confined.
4. Use strictly white cloths to blot stains. Colored tissues, newspapers, and non-white fabric can bleed and create a second stain, making it worse.
5. When in doubt, use tap water to wash it off. While some stains can be better cleansed with warm or hot water, they will cause others to fasten more permanently. Unless youíre sure, get on the safe side and use tap.
6. If there are solids along with the stain, such as when steak falls on you carpet with a heaping of sauce, life it off with a knife, spoon or fork before working on the stain.
7. Most stains will eventually come off using strong detergents, fabric cleansers and numerous washings. To put it simply, donít go overboard when trying to clean stains immediately. Youíll always have a second, third, and fourth chance to do it.
For older stains that can seem permanent, there are new and modern solutions. Stains from chocolates, coffee and grease that seemed impossible 20 years ago can easily be lifted off with commercial bio-detergents. Why not pull out those long-buried rugs and furniture covers from the attic and give them a try.
You can purchase specialized stain removers formulated for individual types of blemish and blot from wine to grease and more. The harder the stains they have to treat, however, the more expensive they likely are. If you can handle the price, they should work in amazing ways.
If All Else Fails
Despite all the recent advancements in stain removal, there are just some stains that continue to defeat our best efforts. In the absence of a clear solution, just learn to live with it. Thereís not much harm in a small patch of blemish in an otherwise perfect drapery or furniture cover. You can try to mask the damage or just leave it out in the open. Functionally, the stain is likely to cause no harm.