We’ve all experienced that moment of horror: you’re in a crowded room, and someone bumps your elbow while you’re holding a glass of red wine, splashing your new silk dress, or maybe your sister’s baby burps up on your new suit at a family gathering. It’s automatic to grab a bottle of club soda and douse the stain, then rub wildly with the nearest absorbent object. But next time, stop yourself, because we’re going to give you some stain care hints and tips to make sure that your next “stain emergency” doesn’t leave lasting results.
1. First, decide whether the stain is water-based or oily. Wine and juice are water-based, lipstick and ballpoint ink are oily. Never apply water or club soda to an oily stain—if the fabric is washable, it won’t have any effect, and if the fabric is dry clean-only, you could damage the fabric, spread the stain, or cause dyes to run. This is especially true for silks.
2. This is key: gently blot the stain with a clean, dry, white napkin or paper towel. Resist the urge to rub the stain. Rubbing can fray the fibers of the fabric, allowing the stain to penetrate more deeply, making it that much more difficult to remove.
3. Bring the garment to Lemon Tree for dry cleaning as soon as you can. Be sure to point out the stain. Time is your enemy! And heat can set some stains, so avoid leaving stained clothes in a hot car while you run errands.
4. If the article of clothing is washable, you can gently rinse with cool water or even carbonated water, also known as club soda. Please don't use soaps, detergents or other cleaning agents as they can and do set some stains, making it impossible to remove them later.
Need more dry cleaning hints and tips? Try the Frequently Asked Questions on the Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute site.