Stain Removal Tips from the Professionals

All of us have to deal with stains on our clothes: grass stains, grease stains, tomato stains, coffee stains, ink stains…the list is never-ending.

There is no avoiding occasional stains, no matter how careful we are. In fact, simple spaghetti dinners are the most searched stain on the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) website! More research by ACI found that:

  • Men are more likely to have sports, wine and food-related stains
  • Women are more likely to have food incidents and bloodstains
  • Kids are more likely to have grass stains and marker and paint stains

Thankfully, Oceanside Cleaners has 30-plus years of experience successfully removing stains from every type of garment, from work clothes to wedding dresses. And, because stains are so common, we’d like to share a few professional tips you can use at home to either remove common stains or keep them from setting before you get garments to the cleaners.

  1. Use detergent sparingly. Many customers think the more detergent they use on a stain, the better the removal. It’s the most common error we see. When it comes to detergent, more is not better. Too much detergent can linger in a garment for a long time and even attract dirt and dust. We advise our customers to do the opposite: use just a teaspoon or two of detergent on a stain and then soak the garment in a bucket of water. Pre-soaking can keep the stain from setting before bringing it to us. The more rinsing, the better the stain removal.
  2. Some special cleaning compounds work on specific types of stains. We recommend Dawn dish soap for grease and oil. Hydrogen peroxide often removes yellowing stains on whites. Neutral detergents help prevent color fade when soaking out everyday dirt. Sometimes, vinegar works on tomato stains. At Oceanside, we also have several professional-grade and targeted stain removers that have proven successful over time.
  3. Sometimes it’s better to remove stains by laundry; other times dry cleaning is best. Whether to choose the laundry or dry cleaning for stain removal depends on the stain. Because dry cleaning uses solvents, it can attack petroleum and oil stains. Dry cleaning is the best way to prevent or remove color bleeding stains. Dry cleaning also works on sweat stains. The laundry process works on most of the other stains. We have a complete line of professional-grade laundry stain removers that often work better than any home remedy. We’ve even found a way to remove a red Gatorade stain, known as one of the most stubborn stains.
  4. Know when to use hot water and when to use cold water. This is a complex question we often get from a customer trying to remove a stain at home. What makes it complex is that the answer is sometimes to use both water temperatures! Many stains respond to a cold-water soak followed by a warm or hot water wash! However, in general, our rule of thumb is to use cold water to remove stains on natural fabrics like wool, satin and silk and to use cold water on food stains. But for coffee, chocolate and wine stains, hot water works best.

As we remove stains, Oceanside Cleaners is committed to green cleaning as recommended by the Green Cleaners Council. On a side note, we were recently awarded “Best of Weddings” from The Knot for the fifth year running. If we can successfully clean something as complex and important as a wedding dress, we can tackle the more common stains you experience in your life.

So, the next time you or your family has a fabric stain, do what you can to stabilize it and then bring in the garment so we can do our best to restore it to like new!