boy with stain on shirt

Spring is here and it’s a great time to do some spring cleaning, plant some flowers and open your windows for some fresh air. There is no better time to spend outdoors in Houston, Texas, unless you have allergies of course then the spring season. There are many outdoor activities, sporting events and barbeques to attend and while these may be fun often times you leave with some serious stains on your clothes. It can be difficult to get mustard or ketchup stains off your white shirt or remove pesky grass stains from your soccer or football uniform. Oftentimes it appears that your clothes are ruined for good, but don’t fret because we have some laundry tips that will have your clothes looking fresh and new again!

Below are some of the most common stains and how to get rid of them.

SWEAT STAINS – It’s Hot & Humid Houston and residents know very well about perspiration and the stains it causes. The body needs to perspiration because it helps keeps it cool, but over time this bodily fluid can start to make stains on clothes which is unattractive and may ruin your clothes. Below are step by step instructions for removing stains caused by sweat and perspiration:

Step 1: Assess whether the sweat stain is old or new. If it is old it may have started to change the color of the fabric because of the acidity of the perspiration.
Step 2: When removing an old stain you should apply white vinegar to the stain, and let it sit for approximately 30 minutes or if it is a new stain, then you should apply ammonia to it, and let it sit for approximately 30 minutes. (Be sure to test the ammonia in an inconspicuous area first to make sure it will not damage the fabric.)
Hint: Do not apply both ammonia and vinegar to the stain at the same time.
Because vinegar is a mild acid, and ammonia is an alkaline solution, they will just neutralize the effectiveness of both if combined together.
Step 3: Rinse either the vinegar or ammonia from the fabric.
Step 4: Apply a laundry pretreater containing enzymes, or blot liquid laundry detergent containing enzymes onto the stained area and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Step 5: Wash in the hottest water the garment will allow to get out the spot.
Hint: Make sure it is gone after washing, but before you place in the dryer or you may set it. Repeat if necessary.
Step 6: For really stubborn sweat stains you can also try relaundering with either chlorine bleach, if safe for the fabric, or color safe bleach if not, in the hottest water also safe for the fabric.

GRASS STAINS – Stains caused by grass are problematic to remove because they are a combination of dirt and grass and they also set in pretty quickly. The faster you act to remove the stain the better the outcome.

Step 1. Pretreat the stain with a paste of powdered laundry detergent that
contains enzymes. Alternatively, you can also use baking soda and dish soap to create a paste or one of my favorites stain remover that is super convenient is Carbona Stain remover. You may find these at HEB, Walmart or Krogers Supermarket. Carbona Stain remover is Divine!

Step 2. Wash in the hottest water possible for the type of garment being cleaned and if possible use a color safe bleach. Before you move the garment to the dryer make sure the stain is gone otherwise you the dryer may set the stain in for good. If the stain doesn’t come our then repeat the steps above or soak stain overnight.

KETCHUP STAINS – Our family loves ketchup! It’s a necessity for our outdoor barbeques and we all know that ketchup stains with kids are inevitable and some adults too. Again, on must move quickly to remove ketchup stains.
Step 1. Scrap off any excess ketchup on the garment.
Step 2. Turn the garment inside out and run under cold water to flush out the ketchup
Step 3: Apply liquid detergent to the stained area and soak for 30 minutes
Step 4: Rinse with cold water
Step 5: Sponge the area with white vinegar, make sure to use a clean white cloth. A microfiber one is best.
Step 6: Rinse again with cold water
Step 7: Pretreat the stain with prewash stain remover
Step 8: Wash in the hottest allowable water and use a color safe bleach
Note: Make sure the stain is gone before you put in the dryer. Repeat the steps above is necessary.

MUSTARD STAINS – Oh those pesky bright yellow mustard stains. Again with most stains, the quicker you begin treatment the better.

Step 1: Scrape off any excess mustard from the fabric.
Step 2: Turn the fabric, inside out, under the cold water to flush out as much of the condiment as possible.
Step 3: Pretreat the stain with a prewash stain remover.
Step 4: Wash in the hottest water the garment will allow to get out the stain, and use a color safe bleach.
Step 5: Check to see if the stain is gone. If not, then rub glycerin into the spot with a soft brush or your fingers, and let it sit for approximately 15 minutes.
Step 6: Rinse the stained fabric off with cool water.
Step 7: Repeat step 4, and rewash the item.

Note: Make sure the stain is gone before you put in the dryer. Repeat the steps above is necessary.