Ask Nancy - Stain Removal Answers to Common Care Questions
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- Guide to Common Home Laundering
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    A Word About Stains - There's no escaping it:    
Fresh stains are easier to remove than old ones.
Avoid machine drying or ironing until you've exhausted all stain removal efforts.
Time and heat can set some stains permanently.
Laundry tests show using Clorox® bleach for stain removal produces the best results.
For washable, non-colorfast clothes substitute powdered or liquid color-safe bleach, such as Clorox 2®.
Don't forget the prewash soil and stain removers like Stain Out®, that release stains and help detergents
work more effectively.
Milk or Egg Products
Rinse well in cool water. Presoak with detergent and powdered Clorox 2® in cool or warm water. Follow Package directions for dissolving bleach. Launder in cold water with detergent and Clorox liquid bleach.

Rinse in cool water and pre-treat with Clorox Stain-Out or Ultra Clorox 2. Rinse and repeat if necessary. Launder in cool water with Ultra Clorox Bleach. Be sure to test for colorfastness. If fabric is not colorfast to regular bleach substitute Ultra Clorox 2.

Candle Wax
Candle Wax
Harden the wax by either applying ice or placing the garment in the freezer. Scrape off as much of the frozen wax as possible, then launder with Ultra Clorox 2 and detergent in the hottest water recommended for the fabric. Repeat the laundering procedure until all the color from the wax is gone. Do not dry the garment until the wax color is completely removed.

Baby Formula
Baby Formula
Soak in cool water. Pretreat with Stain Out or bar soap and rub gently. Wash with detergent and Clorox bleach, or Clorox 2.

Ink- Ballpoint
Apply Stain Out or rubbing alcohol. Rub on detergent and launder with Clorox liquid bleach and detergent in hottest water recommended for fabric. Repeat if necessary.

Ink- Felt Pen
May be impossible to remove. Apply Stain Out and rub on detergent. Rinse. Repeat as necessary. Launder with Clorox liquid bleach and detergent in hottest water recommended for fabric.

Perspiration, Deodorants
Launder with Clorox liquid bleach and detergent in hottest water recommended for fabric. If stain has caused color change, try to restore by using ammonia on fresh stains, vinegar on old stains. Do not use ammonia or vinegar with liquid bleach.

Yellowing Dinginess
Launder garment in the hottest water recommended for the fabric with Ultra Clorox Bleach and detergent. If the garment is not colorfast in regular bleach substitute Ultra Clorox 2.

Vacuum, do not brush, as much of the pollen from the garment as possible. Pretreat the area with Ultra Clorox 2. Launder normally with Ultra Clorox 2 and detergent.

Apply Stain Out and rub gently into stain; let sit 5 minutes. Then wash with detergent and Clorox bleach or Clorox 2 in the hottest water safe for fabric.

Apply prewash stain remover such as Stain Out and gently rub into the stain; let sit for 5 minutes. Then wash with detergent and Clorox bleach or Clorox 2 in the hottest water the fabric will tolerate.

If the damage is severe it may be permanent. Mild scorching can be treated to improve the color by brushing the scorched area and pre-treating it with detergent or Ultra Clorox 2. Then launder normally in detergent and Ultra Clorox 2.

Coffee, Tea, Wine, Soft Drinks
Pretreat with liquid Clorox 2. Launder right away with detergent and Clorox liquid bleach in hottest water recommended for fabric.

Mildew can damage the cellulosic structure of fibers as well as many manmade fibers. If the fabric shows no sign of permanent damage treat the mildew by first brushing the area to remove as much of the organism as possible. Pre-treat the area by rubbing with Ultra Clorox 2. Launder in the hottest water recommended for the fabric plus Ultra Clorox Bleach. Test for colorfastness. If the garment is not safe in chlorine bleach substitute Ultra Clorox 2.

Grease, Butter, Margarine, Oil, Mayonnaise, Ice Cream, Chocolate, Cosmetics
Apply Stain Out stain remover and rub into stain. Launder with detergent and Clorox liquid bleach in hottest water recommended for fabric.

Gravy, Mustard, Ketchup and Other Tomato-Based Products
Presoak in powdered Clorox 2 and detergent in warm or hot water. Launder with detergent and Clorox liquid bleach. If oily stain remains, use Stain Out on stain and launder again.

To remove crayola stains, the Crayola Company recommends: Place the stained surface down on a pad of paper towels, spray with WD-40, and let stand for a few minutes. Turn the fabric over and spray the other side. Apply liquid dishwashing detergent and work into the stained area. Replace towels as they absorb the stain. Wash in hot water with a laundry detergent and bleach for about 12 minutes (use "heavy soiled" setting if there is no minute timer on your machine), and rinse in warm water.

Fruit-Flavored Drinks, Juices
Soak in cool water. Rub bar soap into the stain or pretreat with liquid Clorox 2. Wash right away with detergent and Clorox bleach or Clorox 2 in hottest water recommended for fabric.

Dye That Bleeds
Dye transfer is caused when unstable dye colors "bleed" from one fabric to another. Their removal is often difficult. To minimize problem, sort loads by color, and always remove clothes from washer as soon as rinse cycle is complete. Re-launder affected items right away with detergent and Clorox liquid bleach. If color remains (on all-white fabrics only) use a packaged color remover or stripper sold under the "Rit" label.

Diaper Stains, Vomit
Rinse off soils. Follow presoak instructions (see sidebar). Launder in hottest water safe for fabric with appropriate bleach, To kill bacteria that contribute to diaper rash, add liquid bleach to the wash cycle.

Vitamins, Liquid Pain Relievers
Pretreat and let sit for 5 minutes. Launder in hottest water possible, using appropriate bleach.

Mayonnaise, Mustard, Salad Dressing
Pretreat, launder in hottest water safe for fabric, using appropriate bleach.

Sorting Clothes Avoids Most Laundry Problems
SortingEven in an all-baby-clothes washload it's important to sort clothing to prevent more work for you later. Sort loads by:
Whites and pastels together
Same-color brights
Dark colors together
Multicolored clothes that have lots of white and dark colors are best washed separately the first time. If the dye does not bleed or run it can be washed along with whites the next time.
Fabric Type
Separate delicate or lightweight fabrics from heavy ones
Lint producers (towels) from lint attractants (corduroy)
Heavily Soiled
These clothes need special treatment. Always wash soiled diapers separately because they have very high levels of bacteria.

Useful Smoke Damage Tips
These procedures are useful in handling smoke damage of textiles:

Washable textiles with mild smoke damage should be hung outside, at least 3 inches apart. To allow for greater air circulation, do not close fasteners such as zippers or buttons. Fresh air, particularly with at least a light breeze and sunlight are natural partners in helping to remove smoke odor from clothing. An electric fan can be used to supplement the air flow through the clothes. Clothing should be left outside four to eight hours, with repeated airings if smoke odor is still strong.

Wash items in the hottest water possible safe for the fabric with liquid household bleach (sodium hypochlorite), if not suitable with liquid household bleach then use a color-safe bleach.

Check items for odor. Usually several washings are needed to fully remove odor. Once odor is eliminated, line dry in the sunlight. Do not dry in the dryer because heat will set any lingering odor.

Note: For severely smoke-damaged textiles, consult the services of a professional drycleaner that specializes in fire restoration. If damage is severe, they may not be salvageable.

Washing Tips
When one or more of the following factors is out of balance, dull or dingy clothes are often the result.
Use the warmest water recommended for fabric -
Hot water cleans better than cold. Cold water is fine for rinsing.
Don't scrimp on detergent or laundry additives -
Measure, don't guess. For heavily soiled clothes, more may be needed.
Avoid overloading the machine -
Also set water level high enough so that clothes have plenty of room to circulate and rinse properly. You want to make sure dirt and detergent go down the drain, not back on the clothes.
  Drying Tips
To make sure stains are gone, air-dry stained clothes first -
Dryer heat can permanently set some stains. If stains remain, treat and wash again.
Avoid overloading the dryer -
Clothes take longer to dry and wrinkle more.
Don't over dry clothes -
Over drying can increase wrinkles and shrinkage. Remove stretch items from the dryer when just barely dry.
Air-dry plastic pants, bibs and rubber items -
Heat can cause rubber to deteriorate and plastic to harden.
Remove clothes as soon as they're dry -
Hang or fold right away to prevent wrinkles and time-consuming ironing.
Cleaning melted crayon off the dryer drum -
Spray a soft cloth with WD-40 and wipe the drum. Run a load of dry rags through a drying cycle to ensure that your drum is clean.

The Benefits of Laundry Additives

You can keep washables whiter and brighter longer when bleach is used in every washload. Choosing the right bleach is easy:

Clorox BottleHousehold liquid bleach, identified by the words "sodium hypochlorite" in the ingredient listing is the only bleach that disinfects. It is also the most effective bleach for stain removal and whitening. This is the bleach of choice for whites and colorfast garments.
  • It pays to do the bleach-safe test when you think a garment should be bleachable. Clorox laundry studies confirm that about 52% of all washables are actually safe with household liquid bleach.
  • Other laundry studies show how liquid bleach is safe for fabrics, when used as directed. This bleach does not wear down fabrics any more than detergent alone, washload after washload.
Clorox BottleColor-Safe Bleach is, quite simply, a bleach that is safe to use on washable, colored clothes. These bleaches, available in powder and liquids, remove stains and help keep colors bright. The powdered bleaches also have enzymes to break up tough protein stains, which is why they make an excellent presoak.
  • A color-safe bleach is not a diluted bleach. The gentle bleaching action in liquids is from hydrogen peroxide. Powders commonly use sodium perborate.
  • These color-safe bleaches also have optical brighteners. This ingredient is like an invisible layer on fabrics. It reflects light, making colors appear brighter and whites whiter.
Adding bleach to your washer
Many washing machines today are equipped with convenient automatic bleach dispensers for household liquid bleach. If a washer is not equipped with a liquid bleach dispenser follow either of these two methods:
  1. For maximum cleaning results...
    • Add detergent as washer fills, then add clothes.
    • After machine has agitated for 5 minutes, add household liquid bleach that has been diluted in 1 quart of water. Avoid pouring mixture directly onto clothes. Note: Always use this method when using detergent with bleach products.
  2. Convenient and effective...
    • While the machine fills with water, pour in liquid bleach and detergent.
    • Once agitation begins, add clothes.
Prewash Soil and Stain Removers:
  • These products are formulated to help get clothes stain free. Their special detergents and enzymes penetrate stains and break them up, helping detergents work more effectively to wash stains away.
Fabric Softeners:
  • Fabric Softeners help reduce static cling, minimize wrinkling and soften clothes. Rinse-added softeners are added to the final rinse cycle. These can be added automatically in washers equipped with a fabric softener dispenser. Otherwise, diluted softener must be added manually to the final rinse. Dryer sheets are convenient to use with one sheet added to the dryer along with the clothes.

Colorfast Test for Chlorine Bleach and Oxygen Bleach:

"In all cases, wherever the use of either Ultra Clorox® Bleach or Ultra Clorox® 2 is recommended, be sure to conduct the appropriate colorfast test before applying the product."

Colorfast test for chlorine bleach:

Solution: Combine one part Clorox® Ultra Liquid Bleach with five parts water

  1. Apply one drop of solution to an inconspicuous area of the garment and allow it to saturate the fabric. Blot if necessary to ensure penetration.
  2. Let the sample stand for one minute, then rinse and blot dry.
  3. Visually evaluate for color change.
Colorfast test for oxygen bleach:

Solution: Undiluted Liquid Ultra Clorox 2.

  1. Place a drop of Ultra Clorox 2 on the colors to be tested in an inconspicuous area of the garment. Blot if necessary to ensure penetration.
  2. Let the sample stand for one minute.
  3. Rinse thoroughly and let the dampened area dry thoroughly.

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