Picture this – you’re out shopping and a flirty white dress caught your eye, and you must have it in your closet. Or maybe it was that chic blouse that your colleague wore to a meeting that made you go out and pick one out for yourself. Now that photograph of you in white is getting all the hearts on Instagram, and your friends love that white shirt you wore to the party when everyone else is dressed in black… till you spilled some salsa on yourself, and that accidental shove sent some mint chutney flying onto your gorgeous white skirt.
Time for a rescue mission – but the stain is going to set soon, and you only have your home supplies. You love your white, but who has the time to go buy cleaning supplies? Don’t worry, we share your sentiment – this blog is a lazy person’s guide to stain removal from whites (and we’ve tested it all too!)
We’ve used white cotton fabric, and things we have handy around the house – dish soap, handwash, toothbrush, fabric whitener (Ala for you 90’s kids) and stain remover!
1. Lipstick – Probably the easiest way to mess up your clothes before you even set out the door! Easy solution – handwash and water.
Dab off the stain with cotton buds. Place the stained side on an absorbent fabric and rub the back side of the stain gently with handwash using an old toothbrush till stain lightens. The stain should be slowly absorbed by the fabric kept under, but ensure that it doesn’t transfer back onto your garment. Wash the stained area with cold water – warm water allows stains to set. Dry only after the stain is completely removed, else it’ll set in the heat of the dryer.
2. Foundation or kajal (oil-based) – Don’t fret if you drop that stick, just follow these steps and you’re good to go!
Blot off excess stain with cotton buds – don’t scrub as it would set the stain in (no matter how frustrated you feel!) Then lay the stained side down on an absorbent cloth and use dish soap (liquid or a bar soap mixed with water) and scrub gently on the back side of the stain with an old toothbrush. Don’t use too much pressure as it will ruin the fabric. The stain will start coming off on the cloth kept under – ensure it doesn’t transfer back to the garment. In the end, turn it over and scrub on the stained side too, then wash in cold water. In case of any residual stain, soak it in a mixture of stain remover and water for 10-15 mins (follow instructions on the bottle) and dry after the stain is entirely removed.
3. Ink – Preparing for a meeting and swiped a pen on yourself? Don’t worry, plenty of ways to get it out!
First method – Dab some glycerine on the stain and let it rest for 10-15 mins. Mix a little liquid detergent in some water and dab that on, then machine-wash it with cold water. Repeat the process if the stain isn’t removed the first time. If there’s a weak colour left behind in the area – soak it in whitener or any other bleach for 15 mins, then dry.
Second method – Dampen the stain, apply stain remover and let it set (follow the instructions on the bottle). Dab the stain again to get the ink off slowly. Wash the garment in the machine, and repeat the process if needed.
OR, the easiest solution if it’s right before a meeting or you’re out – just use some handsoap and water, and scrub continuously and dry. Nothing more needed!
4. Food stains – We’re all guilty of snacking on the couch and spilling on yourself. Don’t have to throw away those clothes over your secret pleasures – just use these basic supplies you’ll find in your house!
Blot off excess stain with cotton buds (don’t forget to dab, not scrub!) Then lay it face-down on an absorbent cloth and use dish soap (liquid, or bar soap but in a liquid form) and scrub gently on the back side of the stain with an old toothbrush. Don’t use too much pressure or it will ruin the fabric. The stain will start coming off on the cloth under – ensure it doesn’t transfer back to your main fabric. In the end, turn it over and scrub on the stained side too. In case of any residual stain, soak it in a mixture of stain remover and water for 10-15 mins (follow instructions on the bottle) and dry after the stain is entirely removed.
Dust, blow, dab or scrape off the excess. Rinse the back side of the stain in cold water – this will allow the excess to be flushed out, and putting the stained side directly under a tap may cause the stain to set. Apply detergent or stain remover gently, or use a bar of soap. Rinse the stained area, and then wash in hot water containing bleach to whiten fabric. Check that stains are gone, then dry.
- Sweat stains – These are relatively easy to remove by soaking the garment in fabric whitener or bleach (or even lemon juice), and then throwing it in the machine!
A few pointers –Use colour-safe bleach if it’s not a white garment.
Don’t rinse stains in warm water as it may cause stains to set – only use cold water!
If it’s an oily stain, first blot off as much oil as possible. Running the stain under water may cause it to spread further.
No need to throw out your stained whites, or empty your pockets trying to salvage them – you can just use your everyday cleaning items and save yourself the trouble!