Tackling the Top 10 Stains ... and Winning

If you've got a stain, the Good Housekeeping Institute probably has a solution for removing it.

Below are tips for removing the toughest kinds of stains from Good Housekeeping's book "Stain Rescue: The A-Z Guide to Removing Smudges, Spots and Other Spills."

Candle wax: If the wax is still soft, freeze to harden, and then scrape off the excess wax. Sponge with a dry-cleaning fluid. Place the stain between clean paper towels and press with a warm iron to transfer the wax to the paper towels. Replace the paper towels frequently to absorb more wax and prevent transferring the stain to other places on the fabric. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover. Launder. If any color remains, rewash using chlorine bleach, if safe for the fabric, or oxygen bleach.

Wine: Sponge the spot with cool water or soak for about 30 minutes in a basin of cool water. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover. Launder. If it's safe for the fabric, add chlorine bleach to the wash.

Champagne: Sponge the spot with cool water or soak for about 30 minutes in a basin of cool water. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover. Launder. If it's safe for the fabric, add chlorine bleach to the wash.

Coffee: Sponge the spot with cool water or soak for about 30 minutes in a basin of cool water. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover. Launder. If it's safe for the fabric, add chlorine bleach to the wash.

Grass: Pretreat with a prewash stain remover (one that contains enzymes). Launder using the hottest water that's safe for the fabric and chlorine bleach, if safe for the fabric.

Mud: Let the mud dry, and then brush off as much as possible. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover; launder as usual.

Pollen: Gently shake the stained item to remove as much pollen as you can. Gently vacuum the fabric to remove more. Use the sticky side of a piece of tape to lift off the remaining particles. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover. Launder with fabric-appropriate bleach.

Suntan lotion: Pretreat with a prewash stain remover. Launder, using the hottest water that's safe for the fabric.

Catsup: Working from the back of the stain, flush with cold water. Pretreat with a liquid laundry detergent, tamp the stain, and let stand for several minutes. Rinse well. Sponge with white vinegar. Rinse well. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover, and then launder. If the stain remains, rub with a liquid laundry detergent, and then soak in warm water for up to 30 minutes. Launder again with fabric-appropriate bleach.

Barbecue sauce: Working from the back of the stain, flush with cold water. Pretreat with a liquid laundry detergent, tamp the stain, and let stand for several minutes. Rinse well. Sponge the stain with white vinegar, and then rinse well. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover, and then launder. If the stain remains, rub with a liquid laundry detergent, and then soak in warm water for up to 30 minutes. Launder again with fabric-appropriate bleach.

Beer: Sponge the spot with cool water or soak for about 30 minutes in a basin of cool water. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover. Launder. If it's safe for the fabric, add chlorine bleach to the wash.

Chewing gum: If the gum is still soft, rub it with an ice cube to harden it. Then scrape off as much as possible with a dull knife. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover; launder as usual.

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