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Stain Removal Tips - Don’t Be Afraid of “Stain Season 2022”

Removing stains from clothes, bedding, and bath linen can be easy with a few simple tips from Heritage Park.

Halloween 2022 is here, marking the unofficial start of what the Heritage Park Clean Team likes to call “Stain Season.” Whether it’s chocolate candy, greasy make-up, pre-game pizza, cranberry sauce, gravy, spilled eggnog, ground-in Christmas cookies, melted candy canes, or a puddle of champagne, the next few weeks of 2022 are bound to get a little messy.

And that’s okay. Because messes definitely happen when you’re having fun. So go ahead and enjoy without the stress, because Heritage Park Laundry Essentials is here to help. Read on for the steps and strategies you need to get through a season of spills with a smile.

Little boy in Halloween pajamas loading a washer

Ten Quick Tips for Tackling All Types of Scary Stains

  1. Read and follow manufacturer's directions for any fabric before treating any stain on a garment or linen. Your care label is the blueprint for moving forward in getting rid of any stain. Here’s a helpful guide to deciphering care labels.
  2. Identify the enemy! Okay, this is a little dramatic, but when it comes to stains, you need to know what you’re up against to figure out the best strategy for removing it. Blood, for example, comes out well in cold water, while hot water makes it “set.” Different stain families are treated similarly: grass stains and mud stains both respond to a pre-treatment and hot-water wash; greasy stains like oil and butter come out best with liquid dish soap, and so on.
  3. Always treat stains quickly. If you can, set up a “stain station” near a utility sink or with a bucket. Use water, stain spray, or pre-soak as soon as possible.
  4. Blot stains, don’t rub. Remove any solid stains (ex: a splatter of meat sauce, a dollop of ketchup) with the dull side of a knife first. Then blot with a clean cloth, sponge, or paper towel.
  5. For rinsing, wrong is right! Rinse from the “wrong” side of the fabric so the water can force the stain out back to front.
  6. Pre-soak and pre-treat. Either use a commercial stain spray or make your own with equal parts water and Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent. You can also pre-soak with Heritage Park All-Purpose Detergent in lukewarm water.
  7. Treat stains before washing so they don’t have time to set.
  8. For delicate fabrics, start with the least drastic method and work up. For example, a blood stain might rinse out with cool water alone.
  9. NEVER use bleach on stains. Bleach removes color and causes whites to yellow. Under limited circumstances, bleach can be used to brighten and disinfect white bed and bath linen, but it is not ideal for general stain treatment.
  10. Don’t attempt to use dry cleaning solution on your own at home; that type of chemical requires commercial cleaning expertise.

Treating Stains with Laundry Enzymes: What You Need to Know

Laundry enzymes are a powerful tool in the war on stains. Much like the enzymes in your saliva that dissolve food, laundry enzymes work individually and together to dissolve different types of stains. Stains can be made from proteins, fats, sugars, starches, or a combination of more than one of these. Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent is a gentle, pH-neutral liquid detergent with a proprietary enzyme blend made to target the most common stains. You can use our detergent to make an enzyme spray and as a pre-soak for treating stains before washing. Learn more about laundry enzymes here.

When NOT to Use Enzyme-Based Detergent

Because enzymes are made to break down protein, they should not be used for regular cleaning of protein-based natural fabrics such as wool, silk, cashmere, alpaca, washable leather, or fur. These washable items should be laundered with an enzyme-free formula made for natural fibers like Heritage Park Silk and Wool Detergent.

Heritage Park Luxury Silk & Wool Laundry Detergent

With that said, it is possible to use an enzyme detergent solution to remove stains from these fabrics on an occasional basis without causing damage. Use a sparing amount and test first on an inconspicuous area.

Quick Reference: Removing Common Party-Season Stains

The chart below is an easy reference for a handful of the most common stains you’re likely to encounter. You can use this for clothing, bed linen, bath linen, and even household upholstery, your carpet, and car interiors. Note: see above section for why enzyme-based stain removers should be used sparingly if at all on natural fibers like wool and silk.

 

Stain-Removal Steps

Blood

Fresh blood: soak in cold water (never hot, as this will "set" the stain) and gently rub to dissolve. For persistent or old stains, pretreat blood stain with enzyme-based stain remover or soak in enzyme-based liquid laundry detergent. Wash per instructions.
Chocolate Scrape off chocolate. Soak in cool water. Pre-treat with stain remover. If needed, rub gently with detergent. If stain persists, soak then launder in a solution of oxygen bleach or chlorine bleach (if safe for fabric).
Coffee or Tea Stains Blot the stained area with a paper towel, run under cold water. Pre-treat with stain remover or enzyme-based liquid laundry detergent. (Alternatively, soak in warm water in a solution of a capful of liquid dish detergent and tablespoon of white vinegar). Launder immediately. If stain remains, wash with oxygen bleach. 

Grass Stain, Mud Stain

Pre-treat with or pre-soak in enzyme-based stain remover. Can also pre-treat with a laundry soap bar. Launder in hot water with enzyme-based detergent (tip: for extreme stains, grate bar of laundry soap and toss a small pile of shavings into the washing machine with the item). 

Grease Stains (butter, oil, mayo)

Light stains can be pre-treated with stain remover and laundered in the hottest water that is allowed for fabric. For heavier stains, use liquid dish soap (dilute to dissolve color) and scrub with a toothbrush. Rinse in white vinegar. Then pre-treat with stain remover and follow directions above.

Wine Stain

Blot with a towel. Pre-treat with stain remover or cover stain with salt and pour club soda on top, let sit for an hour and brush off the salt before laundering. Can also soak in lukewarm water with a capful of dishwashing detergent and a tablespoon of white vinegar prior to laundering.

For a more comprehensive guide to removing stains, including things like cosmetics, dairy, ketchup, and more, check out our blog here

So go ahead, enjoy all the festivities! And if you’ve got any questions about after-party stains, feel free to reach out. We’re here to help.

Why Heritage Park Detergents

At Heritage Park, caring for fine fabric is our passion. As lifelong collectors of luxury sheets, towels, and cloths, we found many commercially available "gentle detergents" either damaged our fabrics or didn't get the job done, leaving stains. We knew we could do better. So we developed a formula with the perfect balance of powerful -- yet safe -- ingredients designed to remove tough, set-in stains while remaining gentle on luxury linens. Please connect with us at (800) 977-1841 or visit our store or email us with any product feedback or cleaning questions.

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