Food stains are not only frustrating when they happen; their removal can seem virtually impossible. But don't pitch your clothing or linens out of pessimism. Practically any type of stain—including tomato splats—can be tackled with these surprisingly simple stain removal steps.
|Detergent Type||Standard laundry detergent, stain remover|
|Water Temperature||Per care label instructions|
Before You Begin
Fresh stains are almost always easier to remove than those that have dried (one exception is mud). Give yourself the upper hand by treating food spills, smears, and splatters on your clothes or linens as soon after they happen as possible. Choose a stain removal product that best suits your situation, and follow the following simple steps for best results.
When to Call a Professional
If you have a stained garment that requires dry cleaning, resist the urge to treat the stain yourself. Dry cleaning solvents are toxic chemicals that should be handled by the pros in appropriate facilities. Plus, a professional dry cleaner will be more likely to remove the stain without damaging your clothing.
Equipment / Tools
- Washing machine
- Stain remover
- Laundry detergent, oxygen bleach
How to Remove Food Stains from Laundry
Follow the directions on your stain removal product and the care label instructions on your stained laundry. Both of these seemingly insignificant sources of information may improve your chances of successfully removing the stain without ruining your clothes.
Test a Hidden Area
Place a small amount of your stain removal product on a hidden seam or other (relatively) inconspicuous spot to test for colorfastness. Wait the instructed amount of time on the product to make sure it does not change the color of your clothing.
Don't mix stain removal products. Mixing different chemicals, like bleach and a stain remover, can create toxic odors and may damage your clothing.
Remove Stains from the Back
Lay the stained garment, stain side down, and apply a stain treatment to the "back" side of the stain. Let it sit per the stain product's instructions, then run cold water through the fabric in an attempt to drive the stain out instead of deeper into the fibers.
Wash Stain-Treated Items
Wash your stain-treated laundry after you're satisfied with your results. Again, follow the care label instructions and only dry the item if no trace of the stain remains (or it faded as much as possible). Repeated attempts at removal won't work after drying sets the stain.
Additional Tips for Handling Food Stains
Stain removal can take time. Sometimes repeat treatments may be required. Be sure to thoroughly check the garment before drying to determine if a repeat treatment is necessary. Drying will cause a stain to set.
Occasionally, a particularly stubborn food stain may resist all stain removal efforts, but even cranberry stains are worth the effort. With fast action and the right approach, you may just be able to send most of the stain on its way.