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How To Get Spots Off Clothing In A Pinch

Photo by Conor LaRocque

Nothing makes you feel more like a child than spilling food on your shirt. It can be impossible at times to lift the food without leaving a stain -- and of course these spills always seem to happen at the most inopportune time. If you don’t have a stocked laundry room or trusted neighborhood dry-cleaner at your disposal, you’ll probably have to do some MacGyver-esque quick-thinking to avoid ruining your clothes. So if you want to prepare yourself for the next time gravity fails you, here are some handy spot-fighting tricks.


Stain-Fighting 101

  • Act immediately. Don’t allow the stain to set. This will only make it tougher to remove later on.
  • Cold water is your friend.
  • In this case, might is not right - Gently dab the spot in question. Putting too much force into it could cause the stain to spread and/or set.
  • Since not all stains are the same, you’ll have to vary your approach depending on the target . . .


Pass the Salt

Plenty of accidents are waiting to happen when you sit down to enjoy a meal. Fortunately there are a few common restaurant items that can help you combat a sudden spill. If you’re dealing with a thick, glob-like spot, you’ll first want to remove the excess as neatly as possible. This means using a butter knife or spoon to gentle scrape off what you can. Move from the outside of the stain inwards to ensure you don’t spread it. Use white cloth (such as a napkin), or even bread as a substitute to absorb moisture. If you’re forced to contend with an oil-based stain or a red wine stain, reach for that table salt. Sprinkle it on the spot and allow time for the salt to absorb some of the spillage.


On the Blob

Even the tamest workplace is filled with messy pitfalls. If you’re chasing a caffeine fix by pounding back coffee or tea, you run the risk of a hot, uncomfortable spill. If/ when this happens, try to mix a little laundry detergent with cold water (dish soap can substitute for detergent). Another office stain hazard is ink, in which case the go-to solution is rubbing alcohol. Be sure to put a paper towel or cloth beneath the surface of stain so the alcohol doesn’t totally soak through. If you habitually keep pens on-hand, be sure to also carry a portable stain remover such as Tide to Go to minimize damage when you’re out and about.


Thicker than Water

Nosebleed? Trip and fall? Lose a bout at your local fight club? To treat blood, start by dabbing cold water to the spot, then blot dry. If the stain persists, try to round up a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, but remember to use in moderation as too much can damage your clothes. If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide hanging around, you can also make do with a mixture of salt and water.


Bonus Tip For Grass Stains

Rinse with warm water and hand soap. You can also apply lemon juice and salt if those ingredients are available.

This article was written and appeared on Grooming Lounge and our Founder, Mike Gilman, were quoted a lot, so we borrowed the article. Giving them credit -- hope it's OK.

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