What do you do when you spill something—for example, wine—on your clothes? Do you rush to the cleaners or head to the bathroom and try to scrub it off with a home remedy? While there are home stain removal techniques and products that work, most of them are fraught with dangers. Here are four examples you should know about:
Alcohol is one of the most common products for removing stains at home. This is partly because it is easily available (you can purchase isopropyl alcohol from most drugstores) and works most of the time. However, there are dangers of using alcohol as a stain remover, especially if you aren't a skilled cleaner.
For one, some alcohols contain fragrances and colors that will damage your clothes' original colors. Secondly, according to Health Guidance, alcohol damages some types of materials such as acetate and acrylic. If you must clean with alcohol, confirm first that it will not damage the material.
People use hairsprays mostly to get rid of ink stains. This is more of a gamble because sometimes it works and sometimes it fails; it depends on the type of ink and spray. Most people agree that it works best on polyester and its blends. Even if it does work, it often leaves a gummy residue on clothes, which is why you must rinse your clothes thoroughly – more than the usual rinsing after using alcohol on them.
Saltwater is also a common cleaning solution, especially for red wine stains. Saltwater may work well for colorfast fabrics, but it also has its dangers. According to James (a British company that specializes in cleaning and maintaining rags), failure to rinse the cloth thoroughly may set the stain and make it even harder to remove. In some cases, you might even end up with a darker stain. Secondly, your cloth may fade the next time you wet-clean it without saltwater.
Many people use lemon juice for cleaning rust stains. Just like the examples above, this may work, but not without undesirable consequences. Lemon juice is primarily acid, which is very good in oxidation, which means it can oxidize and discolor your clothes. What is more, the oxidation may not be apparent immediately, but you will definitely notice it after some time.
From these four examples, it is clear that it is not advisable to treat your stain removal endeavor as a DIY project, especially if it concerns delicate or cherished clothes. Even approaches that work have conditions that must be met, otherwise, you risk ruining your clothes. A better approach is to contact professional cleaners who understand all these risks, and know what to do to mitigate them.