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When it comes to stains, knowing how to treat them properly can make the difference between salvaging a piece of clothing and throwing it in the garbage. However, all clothes should be soaked in either warm or cold water depending on the type of food or bodily fluid spilled on them. Beverages like wine, fruit juice, and coffee create tannin stains that respond best to warm water mixed with just a few drops of laundry detergent. Eggs, milk, blood, and other types of stains with a protein base should soak in cold water with nothing added to it.

Stain Removal Options

Many commercial products and home remedies exist that are effective at pre-treating stains. Spray bottles and roll-on sticks are easy to find at any drug or discount store. Shoppers should read the instructions carefully to see how far in advance they need to pre-treat their clothing prior to washing day. Other possible options include:

  • Using a small hotel-sized bar of soap to scrub the stain for up to 10 minutes before placing the item in the wash cycle.
  • A bleach gel pen comes in a small tube. It contains bleaching gel and several removable nozzles depending on the amount of liquid required and the pressure exerted on the item of clothing.
  • White vinegar makes an ideal pre-treating agent for permanent press clothing or those made from 100 percent cotton or polyester. It should not be diluted before applying to the stain.
  • Placing white undergarments in a gallon of water mixed with one-quarter cup of baking soda can remove stains and odors. However, this solution is not appropriate for other white clothing as it can cause fading.

Pre-treating stains doesn't have to be expensive, especially when using items found around the home already.