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So you’ve stained your work uniforms, now what? Stains are unavoidable at work. Whether you work in a fancy office, on the road, in a grease-filled shop, or a commercial kitchen, there is always something that can ruin your immaculate uniforms.
For most stains, time is of the essence and how you deal with the stain in the first few minutes can mean the difference between saving your garments and living with an unsightly spot for eternity. For when the inevitable happens, here’s a quick and handy first-aid uniform stain removal guide for some of the most common stains.
No two stains are ever the same. The best treatment for different stains always depends on the combination of stain and fabric. What we’ve listed down here are common fresh stains and their generic stain removal remedies. Some of these remedies may not be applicable to all types of fabrics so check the garment label before applying any of these solutions. Here is your handy uniform stain removal guide for fresh stains:
Blood – the most important step in ensuring that blood does not stick to fabric is to rinse the stained spot immediately with cold water. Hot water causes the blood to set so blot or rinse only with cold water before washing in room-temperature water and enzyme-based detergents. You can also soak your stained garments for up to four hours in cold saltwater.
Bodily fluids – like blood, soaking in an enzyme-based laundry soap is the most effective way to remove bodily fluids on fabrics.
Rust – lay the garment on an old, clean fabric, pour a small amount of white vinegar on the stained spot and blot out gently with a sponge or clean white cloth. In lieu of vinegar, lemon juice will do. Blot thoroughly but carefully.
Cooking oil – use spoon or dull knife to scrape off excess grease from the fabric before spot-treating with liquid dishwashing soap. Pick the kind that has a grease-removing feature. Let the detergent soak for up to ten minutes. Rinse the spot with water at the safest high temperature prescribed for the kind of fabric you are washing. Repeat steps until grease marks disappear.
Engine oil/grease – start by scraping off excess grease using a spoon or dull knife. Make sure the stained surface does not touch the back fabric of the garment or you’ll risk the grease ‘bleeding’ onto it. ‘Lift’ more grease off the fabric by pouring baby powder onto the stained area and letting it sit for five to ten minutes. In lieu of baby powder, flour, cornstarch, or salt are great alternatives. Carefully remove the powder with a paper towel or a soft-bristled brush (nail brush or baby toothbrush), making sure you stay within the stained surface so as not to ‘bleed’ through the surrounding spots. Pour a small amount of grease-fighting liquid detergent plus water and spread onto the stained area using your fingers. Scrub off in a circular motion using the soft brush until the stain disappears. Wash as per fabric directions but do not place in dryer.
Ink – hold stained spot over the mouth of a solid cup/bowl. Pour alcohol directly onto the stain and let the alcohol drip to the container below. Rub spot with clean paper towel until stain is lifted then rinse thoroughly.
Tomato-based stains – tomato sauce and/or ketchup stains tend to spread when rubbed so start by scraping off excess stains using spoon or dull knife. Be careful not to spread the stain onto other areas of the fabric or scrape too hard as to damage the cloth fibers.
Gravy – remove excess gravy and avoid staining other parts of the fabric by scraping off with a spoon or dull knife. Sop up excess starch using a sprinkle of cold club soda. Salt or baking soda are great alternatives as well. Remove with paper towels using a gentle dabbing motion. Spot-clean with a little bit of liquid detergent before washing as per label instructions. Use enzyme-based detergent.
Grass – rubbing alcohol diluted in water (50:50 ration) is a great emergency uniform stain removal treatment against grass stains. Rub carefully or use soft-bristled brushes. Grass-stained whites can also be treated to a gentle chlorine wash. Do not use ammonia as it may set stain.
Soil and Mud – for wet mud stains, let the stain dry and cake out onto the fabric. Once dry, shake your uniform outdoors to remove excess. Spot-clean using cheap vodka or rubbing alcohol. If the garment permits, you can also use a solution of 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% water. Rinse the spot and clean area with liquid detergent then brush carefully. Wash as usual. Repeat if stain does not come off.
Chocolate – scrape off chocolate stain carefully as soon as it lands onto the garment. Soak area in cold water promptly. Pour a small amount of diluted liquid detergent and scrub off carefully. Use enzyme-based detergent.
Wine – dab spot with sponge/clean white cloth soaked in cold water to flush the stain. Spray area with diluted liquid detergent and scrub using soft-bristled brush. Apply white vinegar if stain does not go away and flush with cold water.
Wax, Chewing Gum, and Common Adhesives – dab spot with ice/ice water or place garment in freezer to allow stain to harden. Using a dull knife or the edge of a spoon, scrape off as much of the stain as you can. Rinse with rubbing alcohol. Let dry before washing as usual with enzyme-based detergent.
The aforementioned treatments are only good for certain types of fabric and if applied immediately after staining occurred. We all know this is not usually the case. For effective and safe uniform stain removal, leave the cleaning to expert uniform laundry service providers.
These companies have an unmatched level of expert experience in treating all kinds of stains for all kinds of fabrics – saving you time and money!
Leave the cleaning to experts like Century Linen. We have more than 103 years of hands-on experience in treating the most delicate fabrics and saving them from even the hardiest of stains. We’ve cleaned it all. Call us today at 800-721-7648 to learn more about how we can help you get the cleanest clean for your company uniforms!