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5 Everyday Things That Remove Laundry Stains

Discover how you can stick it to stubborn stains with common household items like baking soda, vinegar and WD-40.

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Who has money for expensive cleaners and stain treatments? Cut out the middleman and start using everyday household things to remove even the most frustrating stains. The best part about it? You’ve already got these in your cupboard!

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1. Ammonia

If laundering with detergent isn’t enough to get tough stains such as blood, grass, or tomato sauce out of a fabric, try a clear ammonia-based spray-on window cleaner instead. (It’s the ammonia in the window cleaner that does the trick, and you want uncoloured cleaner to avoid staining the fabric.) Spray the stain with the window cleaner and let it sit for up to 15 minutes. Blot with a clean rag, rinse with cool water, and launder again. A few tips:

• Do a test on a seam or other inconspicuous part of the garment to see if the colour runs.

• Use cool water and don’t put the garment in the dryer until the stain is completely gone.

• Don’t use this on silk, wool, or their blends.

• If the fabric colour seems changed after using window cleaner on it, moisten the fabric with white vinegar and rinse it with water. Acidic vinegar will neutralize alkaline ammonia.

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2. White Vinegar Treats Salt Stains

As if a winter’s worth of ice, slush, and snow wasn’t rough enough on your shoes and boots, the worst thing, by far, is all the rock salt that’s used to melt it. In addition to leaving unsightly white stains, salt can actually cause your footwear to crack and even disintegrate if it’s left on indefinitely. To remove it and prevent long-term damage, wipe fresh stains with a cloth dipped in undiluted white vinegar

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3. WD-40 Treats Blood Stains

Oh no! Your kid fell down and cut himself while playing, and there’s blood all over his brand-new shirt. After you tend to the wound, give some first aid to the shirt too. Pretreat the bloodstains with WD-40. Spray some directly on the stains, wait a couple of minutes, and then launder as usual. The WD-40 will help lift the stain so that it will come out easily in the wash. Try to get to the stain while it is still fresh, because once it sets, it will be harder to get rid of. Use WD-40 to pretreat other stubborn stains on clothing, such as lipstick, dirt, grease, and ink stains.

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4. Baking Soda Treats Collar Stains

Are you tired of seeing those old sweat rings around your shirt collars? What about the annoying discoloration along the edges of your cuffs? Give them the boot by scrubbing the material with a paste made from 2 parts white vinegar to 3 parts baking soda. Let the paste set for half an hour before washing. This approach also works to remove light mildew stains from clothing.

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5. Vinegar Treats Sweat Stains

Want to see those sweat marks disappear from shirts and other garments? Just pour a bit of vinegar directly onto the stain, and rub it into the fabric before placing the item in the wash. You can also remove deodorant stains from your washable shirts and blouses by gently rubbing the spot with undiluted vinegar before laundering.

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Want more handy uses for your everyday objects?

Check out our 5 Things page!