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How To Get Some of the Most Difficult Stains Out of Your Clothing (Yes, Even Red Wine)

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Stains are an inevitable inconvenience we all must face. Sadly, however, most of us aren't equipped with an encyclopedic knowledge of how to clean any stain...that is, UNTIL NOW. The good people at Consumer Report recently compiled a list of best-practices when dealing with blotches from three of life's most problematic substances.


Yellow Mustard




It turns out mustard's color and its difficulty in stain removal are caused by the same ingredient: curcumin. The first thing you'll want to do is scrape the mustard off as much as possible without spreading it. Then, things get a little more interesting:

Mix 1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent in 1 cup of warm water, work into fabric, rinse well, and hang the clothing item in the sun. (Curcumin is very sensitive to sunlightโ€”nature's bleaching agent.)

Red Wine



Our mothers and grandmothers have long told us the secret to washing out a red wine stain is soaking the stain with soda water or white wine. THEY WERE WRONG. This will actually leave a long-lasting brown stain, though it appears to work at first. Consumer Report claims the regretful spiller should wet and blot the fabric with water as quickly as possible. Then, they continue:

Hand-wash in 2 cups of warm water mixed with 2 teaspoons of liquid dish detergent. While the fabric is wet, liberally apply 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to the garment and then lay it in the sun for several hours to bleach naturally.

Chewing Gum



While there's some success to be found in the common advice of freezing your garment then scraping the gum off, this may end up causing as much damage to the fabric as the gum! Experts actually suggest Bengayโ€”both for topical pain relief, and to break down the chemical compounds found in chewing gum. Get ready, because these instructions are pretty heavy on the science:

Extra-strength Bengay is what you need. This analgesic rub contains methyl salicylate, which dissolves the gum base. Heat gum with a hair dryer, scrape off as much as possible with a plastic knife, work in a dab of Bengay, then use a zip-top bag to pick off the resulting goo that's chemically more attracted to the plastic than to a paper towel.

Now you're a master stain-remover!

Congratulations on your newfound skill. If possible, try to use your powers for good and not evil.


H/T - Consumer Report, Getty Images