A waiter spills red wine on a white shirt, a child spills paint all over the couch or coffee spills over onto the carpet. Everyone has had these little accidents, followed by furiously trying to scrub the stain away.
Good Housekeeping magazine's Cleaning Lab put stain removal methods to the test to see what works best and what to skip. Good Housekeeping style director, Lori Bergamotto, appeared on "Good Morning America" today with must-try stain removal tips.
Good Housekeeping's 'golden rules of stain removal'
Blot, don't rub: Dabbing draws stains out of fabric and won’t damage it the way rubbing might.
Use an absorbent cloth:Place underneath fabric to “catch” residue as stain fades and keep it from spreading. The Cleaning Lab finds paper towels or small cotton dishtowels work best.
Try our carpet trick: Once a stain is gone, cover with a stack of paper towels and top with a heavy pot. Leave 24 hours. The towels will soak up stain residue that travels up the tufts as they dry.
What to do when...
Oil spills on a silk tie or silk blouse:
Immediately: You always want to be sure to blot the stain instead of rubbing. Dabbing draws stains out of the fabric and won’t damage it the way rubbing might. Sprinkle on a sweetener packet (can also use salt) to absorb grease; let set 30 to 60 seconds, or leave on during your lunch, then brush away.
Later: Silk ties and most silk blouses need to go to the dry cleaner.
Ketchup spills on carpet:
Immediately: Scrape up any excess with a spoon. Blot the spilled ketchup with a dry paper towel.
Later: Sponge with a mix of one tablespoon regular dish liquid, one tablespoon white vinegar and two cups warm water. Blot. Sponge with cold water to rinse. Blot dry.
Bonus tip: Once the stain is gone, cover with a stack of paper towels, layer on and top with a heavy pot or vase. Leave 24 hours. The towels will soak up any lingering stain residue that travels up the tufts as they dry.
Red wine spills on white jeans:
Immediately: Spritz or sponge with cool water or apply Wine Away (a $9 product the Cleaning Lab loves) per directions. Dry. Place a paper towel underneath fabric to “catch” residue as stain fades and keep it from spreading.
Later: Soak 15 minutes in cold water; apply laundry stain remover and wash in warm water with fabric-safe bleach.
Bonus tip: You can actually use white wine to take out red wine stains.
Cleanup tool kit:
Good Housekeeping's Cleaning Lab recommends always having in your "stain-fighting arsenal" a spray bottle of cold water, baby (or makeup remover) wipes, a spoon, clean white cloths and a dustpan and brush.