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Nothing will ruin your new top or send a favorite pair of jeans to the trash faster than a stubborn stain that just won’t come out. Fortunately, all hope is not lost! Before you toss that top, try these tried-and-true stain removal tips to help you get even the most stubborn stains out easily—using everyday household products!

Using a white cotton cloth, carefully dab fabric to help absorb excess liquid. Center a bowl under the stained fabric, and secure with a rubber band. Pour salt onto the stain, and let it sit for at least five minutes. Slowly pour boiling water over the stain from a height of at least eight inches. Launder with hot water. Repeat until stain is gone. Note: Do not dry fabric until stain is gone.

Oil or Grease
Using a paper towel, blot to remove as much excess oil or grease as possible (do not rub). Sprinkle baby powder or baking soda onto the stain, and then brush it off after a few minutes. Launder as normal.

Timing is key here, so it is important that you treat the stain before it sets. Pour full-strength white vinegar onto the stain, and let it soak for five to ten minutes. Blot with a clean, damp cloth, and repeat as necessary. Launder immediately. For white fabrics, full-strength hydrogen peroxide also works wonders. Pour directly onto stain, blot until stain is gone, and then launder immediately.

Create a solution of two parts water and one part rubbing alcohol. Apply to the stain, and rub until the fabric is saturated. Launder as usual. Do not dry the fabric until the stain is gone.

Liquid Makeup
Scrape off any excess with a plastic knife, and blot with a damp paper towel. Pour a few drops of hydrogen peroxide onto the stain, and work in a circular motion with a soft brush (note: a kid’s toothbrush is perfect for the job). Launder as usual.

Create a half-strength solution of ammonia and water, and dab on the area before laundering as normal.

Let the stain dry before brushing to remove the soil. Soak in a solution of one quart warm water, one teaspoon liquid dish soap, and one tablespoon white vinegar for fifteen minutes. Rinse, and let stand for several minutes. If the stain persists, dab it with rubbing alcohol, rinse, and launder as normal.

Create a solution of one part white vinegar and two parts water. Use an eyedropper to apply the solution, and then rinse. If the coffee has milk or sugar in it, apply an enzyme detergent, and let sit for ten minutes. Launder as normal.

Soak the affected garment in milk overnight, and launder as usual the next day. For small stains, you can try spraying the area with hair spray, and marks should come right off.

Make a solution of one tablespoon of an enzyme detergent and two cups of water. Treat the spot with the solution, and let stand for twenty minutes before laundering as normal.

Chewing Gum
If space allows, place the fabric into the freezer directly. If that won’t work, put several ice cubes into a plastic sandwich bag and place directly onto the fabric. Once the gum has hardened, you should be able to peel it easily off of the fabric.

Glue or Other Sticky Stains
Look for a product specifically formulated to remove “goo.” These will easily break down stickiness to remove the stain. Apply the product directly to stain and allow to sit for ten to fifteen minutes. Begin working out the sticky residue, and then launder immediately. Note: try a test patch on an inconspicuous part of the fabric first.

Sometimes, liquid dish-washing soap and warm water are all that are necessary to remove crayon stains from fabric. If this doesn’t work, place the fabric, stain side down, on top of a stack of white paper towels. Spray the fabric with a lubricant and let sit for about 5 minutes. Turn the fabric over, spray the fabric from the other side, and allow to sit for another 5 minutes. Rinse item well and launder immediately.

Once you have the basics under your belt, you will realize most laundry stains truly are no big deal. Act quickly, think with a level head, use this guide for stain removal, and you’ll easily have those stains cleaned up in no time. For quick reference, print this printable and hang it in the laundry room!

Download Laundry Stains Guide