How to get food stains out of clothes

Written by morgan adams
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Food stains are an unavoidable part of cooking and eating. In the course of life you have to do at least one of those two things. Luckily, food stains are usually easy to get out, if dealt with quickly and before heat is applied. There are numerous store-bought products available to use stains. The following steps give addition ideas for removing stains from clothing.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Hot and cold water
  • Toothbrush
  • Dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Cornstarch or baby powder with cornstarch
  • Borax
  • Protein hair shampoo

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  1. 1

    Dish soap and a little water on a toothbrush can remove most stains. WD40 and baby powder (used separately) have the same effect. These tips work for all food oil, including greasy pizza, mayonnaise and salad oil stains as well as general food stains.

  2. 2

    For tea, coffee and blueberry stains, immediately run boiling water through the fabric until the stain is gone. Once a tea or coffee stain sets it is more difficult to remove. However, a paste of borax and water left on the stain for 15 minutes may do the trick. Borax and water will also work for chocolate stains.

  3. 3

    For egg or other fruit stains, sprinkle salt on the spot and then rinse with cold water. Use the dish soap tip in Step 1 as a follow up before washing normally. Grape or cranberry juice are different problems, though. Work into the fabric a mix of equal parts vinegar, water and dish soap. Let it soak for a few minutes and then rinse with cold water.

  4. 4

    For cayenne pepper stains use cold water only as hot water will set the stain. Use the dish soap tip in Step 1 then rinse in water with a 1/2 cup of white vinegar included.

  5. 5

    For food stains on silk items, sprinkle with cornstarch or baby powder with cornstarch. Let it sit for a few minutes before brushing off. Protein hair shampoo can sometimes help with stains on silk clothing if the cornstarch did not work.

Tips and warnings

  • Do your hands smell like the food your just cooked? Wash them with toothpaste or lemon juice to remove the smell.
  • Remember that stains set once put in the dryer, so do your best to remove the stain before washing and drying. If you don't catch the stain until after drying, try the dish soap method in Step 1 again.
  • Baby wipes are handy to remove stains when on the go.
  • Tomato stains, especially once set, will need a professional cleaning solvent to remove.
  • Check the label on clothing for washing instructions.
  • Before using any product to remove a stain test it on a small portion of the fabric to make sure it does not damage the cloth.
  • Check the fabric type before using any stain removal tip. Satin in particular should be dry cleaned rather than using natural or chemical remedies.
  • Color safe bleach is a great alternative, but always test on a small spot before using.

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