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HANDY HINTS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL
STAINS AND CLEANING AGENTS –

Non-Washable Fabrics
Stains on Fabrics
Some fabrics and colours can be damaged by certain solvents or spirits, so always test a small
corner of the fabric first (leave for twenty minutes).


When removing stains from fabrics, start from the edge of the stain and work towards the
centre. This will prevent the stain spreading.


A simple rule for unknown stains on fabric: first rub the stain with cold water. If the stain
persists, rub on a mixture of lemon juice and salt. If this has no effect, rub on bicarbonate of
soda. If this also fails, dab the area with methylated spirits.


Always rinse the fabric after removing a stain, or rub it with a piece of cotton wool dampened
in cold water, to remove all traces of spirit or solvent.


When liquid detergent is used on non-washable fabric, dilute the detergent with an equal
quantity of water and work it in using a very small amount. If too much is used, rinse by
sponging the stain with cold water, or by using a syringe or a medicine dropper to force the
water through.


Another way for rinsing the stain is to dab it with alcohol, as it dries faster (for material not
damaged by alcohol of course).


Many small stains on fabrics will disappear simply be rubbing them gently with the same
fabric (hem, small end of the tie etc). Persevere.

Sponging

When the directions say to ‘sponge’ the stain proceed in the following manner:
Fold clean cloth. Place the stained material over it, wrong side up if possible, so that the stain
can be melted away without having to go through the material. With moistened cotton wool or a
white cloth, gently wipe the solvent into the stain. Change the pad underneath frequently (as
soon as some of the stain has been absorbed). Do Not rub hard or the stain might spread and
the surface of the fabric be damaged. Blot dry.


On fabrics likely to form a ring, sponge with a pad hardly moistened and start from the edges
of the stain, going to the centre. Blot dry, place the fabric on the palm of one had and rub over
the are with the other; this will prevent a ring forming. Repeat the whole process if needed.
Rings on fast-coloured fabrics can also be removed by holding the area over some boiling
water.

Acids
First wash or sponge at once with running cold water; then dip or sponge the
stain in, or with, a solution of one tablespoon of ammonia to half a pint/a quarter litre of cold
water.
One tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda diluted in half a pint/a quarter of a litre of water can be
used instead of the ammonia-water solution.

Adhesive

Place a piece of cotton wool or any absorbent cloth on the right side of the stain. Then dab the
wrong side with a piece of cotton wool dampened with pure amyl acetate (obtainable from
chemists).


Epoxy resin (e.g. Araldite)
Only fresh stains can be removed. Place a piece of cotton wool or any absorbent cloth on the
right side of the stain. Then dab the wrong side with a piece of cotton wool dampened with
lighter fluid.
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Alcoholic Beverages

Rub the stains with a solution of methylated or surgical spirit (one tablespoon) and cold water
(two tablespoons). If the stains persist, rub with an equal mixture of hydrogen peroxide and cold
water.

Beer: Sponge with a solution of borax (one tablespoon) and warm water (one tea cup). Sponge
with clear water.


Animal Stains (Excreta, urine, vomit)

Scrape any surface deposit. Blot dry with absorbent paper. Sponge with a solution of powdered
borax (one tablespoon) and warm water (one pint/half a litre). Then sponge with clear water.
Blot dry. Clear any remaining trace with some methylated spirit on a damp cloth.


Anti-Perspirants, Deodorants

For light stains rub with an equal solution of vinegar and water.


Beeswax
Dab the stains with a solution of methylated or surgical spirit (one tablespoon) and cold water
(two tablespoons) rinse well.


Beetroot
Dab the stain with white vinegar, and sponge with cold water. Another method is to dab the stain
with cold water then cover with bicarbonate of soda. Leave for 15 minutes. Brush off and leave
to dry.

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Bird Droppings
First wipe or brush any deposit, then sponge with a mixture of ammonia (one tablespoon) and
water (one tea cup). Next sponge with white vinegar and rinse.


Blood
Sponge with a mixture of cold water(half a pint/a quarter of a litre) and ammonia (one
teaspoon). Rinse and blot well.
For dried stains place a clean pad underneath the stain and sponge lightly with hydrogen
peroxide or ammonia. Rinse and blot well.
Bottled Sauces (Ketchup, HP, etc)
First sponge the stain with cold water; then work some liquid detergent into the stain and rinse
it well; next wipe with methylated or surgical spirit or ammonia on a damp sponge. Rinse. If any
traces remain, dab the stain with an equal solution of hydrogen peroxide (20 Vol) and water.
Rinse.

Candle Wax
First remove as much as possible with the blade of a blunt knife, or if possible put
the garment in the freezer for an hour. You can then break the frozen pieces off. Next place the
stain between two sheets of blotting paper and press with a warm iron, moving the paper
frequently until no more grease appears on it. Sponge any remaining traces with some drycleaning
fluid, some methylated or white spirit (but not on acetate fabric). Sponge with clear
water.


Car Polish
Remove with a dry-cleaning fluid or methylated spirit. Next sponge with liquid
detergent, then rinse.


Caramel
Sponge with cool water and a little detergent. Rinse. Let it dry. If any grease
traces remain, sponge with a solution of ammonia or hydrogen peroxide (20 vol) or methylated
spirit and water in equal quantities.


Carbon Paper

Dab the stain with methylated or surgical spirit (one part) and water (two parts). If any traces
remain, rub with a little liquid detergent and rinse. Repeat if needed.
Carrot Juice – Follow instructions for Grass


Carrot Juice – Follow instructions for Grass


Cream Soup – Follow directions for Cream Sauce


Chewing Gum

Place the garment in the freezer for an hour; the chewing gum will then crack and can be
picked off easily. Treat any remaining traces with methylated or white spirit. If it cannot be put
in the freezer, hold a plastic bag with a few ice cubes in it over the chewing gum to harden it,
than pick it off.

Another method is to saturate the stain with liquid stain remover. Repeat if needed. Sponge
with cold water.

Yet another method is to hold the back of the stained fabric over the steam from a kettle. The
gum will become soft and can be pulled off easily by hand or with tweezers.


Chocolate

Sponge with lukewarm water, then with a solution of powdered borax (one teaspoon) and warm
water (one teacup). Rinse and blot dry. Clear any remaining traces with a pad of cotton wool
which has been first dampened with water then squeezed and dipped in methylated or surgical
spirit or ammonia.


Chutney
Scrape any surface deposit. Sponge the stain with clear water. Rub with a pad of cotton wool
which has been first dampened with water then squeezed and dipped in methylated spirit or
ammonia.


Coca-Cola
Sponge with cold water. Rub with a little liquid detergent. Rinse well. If any traces remain, treat
with a solution of methylated spirit (two tablespoons) and white vinegar (one teaspoon) Rinse
well


Cocoa
– Follow instruction for Chocolate


Cod Liver Oil

Sponge the stain with liquid stain-remover.

Coffee – Follow instruction for Chocolate


Correction Fluid

Dab the stain with amyl acetate (obtainable from a chemist).


Cosmetics
Blot up any excess. Sponge with liquid stain remover – eucalyptus oil, ether or methylated spirit.
For man-made fibres dilute the methylated spirit with an equal proportion of water. If any traces
remain, work some powdered detergent in to them. Rinse and blot dry.

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Cough Mixtures – See Medicines


Crayon – Follow directions for Cosmetics


Cream Sauce
Scrape the excess. Sponge with warm water. Leave to dry, then sponge with a fluid stainremover.
Cream Soup – Follow directions for Cream Sauce


Creosote
It is advisable to send garment to a professional cleaners.


Curry
Dab the stains with an equal solution of methylated spirit or ammonia and water. Rinse.
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Cycle Oil – Follow directions for Grease, oils, fats


Dandelion – Follow directions for Grass


Deodorants – Follow directions for Anti-Perspirants


Drinks – Follow directions for Alcohol Beverages or Individual entries


Duplicating Ink
and Powder – See Ink


Egg – Scrape off any deposit. Sponge the stain with some cold salted water. Rinse with clear,
cold water. Leave to dry, or dry with hair-dryer. If any traces remain, sponge with some liquid
stain remover.


Engine Oil – Follow directions for Grease, oils, fats


Epoxy Resin – See Adhesives


Eye Make-up – Follow instructions for Cosmetics


Eyebrow Pencil
Rub with some fluid stain-remover on a cotton bud or some cotton wool wrapped round
a stick. Then dab with ammonia. Next sponge with water.


Fat – Follow directions for Grease, oils, fats


Felt-Tip Pen – See Ink


Fish Oil – Follow directions for Cod Liver Oil


Flower Stains
– Follow directions for Grass


Fly Stains
Sponge with an equal solution of methylated spirit and cold water. Or dab with stain remover.
Fountain Pen Ink – See Ink


Fountain Pen Ink – See Ink


Fruits, Fruit Juice
Sponge with cold water, work some liquid detergent into the stain and rinse. If any traces
remain, dab with ammonia and then with some diluted hydrogen peroxide (20 vol) (one part
hydrogen peroxide, five parts water). Rinse and blot dry.

Another method is to dab the stain with white vinegar, and sponge with cold water. Another
method is to dab stain with cold water and then cover with bicarbonate of soda. Leave for 15
minutes, brush off and leave to dry.


Glue – See Adhesives


Grass
Sponge with diluted methylated spirit (one part methylated spirit, two parts water). Test colours
first on an inconspicuous area of the garment.


Gravy
Sponge with cold water, then sponge with some liquid stain remover.


Grease, Oils, Fats
Eucalyptus oil will remove grease spots on any fabric, even the most delicate, without leaving
any traces. Sponge lightly with water.

Another method is, if the stain is fresh, spread a layer of talcum powder over it and gently
press with your fingers. When the talcum becomes caked, brush it off. Then spread another layer
and leave it overnight. Or spray with a dry cleaning stain remover before leaving overnight.
A quicker way is to place blotting paper underneath the stain, sprinkle the stain with talcum
powder, cover it with another sheet of blotting paper, then press with a hot iron.


Hair Dye
Sponge any excess, then dab with some methylated spirit followed by hydrogen peroxide in an
equal part of water, blot dry.


Hair Lacquer
Dab first with some amyl acetate (from chemist), then with methylated or surgical spirit.


Hand Cream
Treat with a stain remover.


Honey
Sponge lightly with cold water, then sponge with some hydrogen peroxide (20 vol). Then wipe
with a cloth wrung out in cold water.


Ice-Cream
Scrape and wipe the excess. Sponge with lukewarm water, leave to dry. Remove any remain stain
with a liquid stain remover. For final traces use some hydrogen peroxide (20 vol) (one part)
diluted in water (two parts).


Ink – Ball-point ink
Dab with methylated spirit on a cotton wool bud. Rinse or wash fabric if possible. Seek
professional treatment for delicate fabrics.

On (polyester, diolene, linelle, terylene, trevira): Spray some hair spray generously on the
stain. Leave for minute then rub well with a clean cloth. Repeat if necessary.
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Felt-tip ink
Dab the stain with methylated spirit on a cotton wool bud. (Do not use on acetate fabric and
triacetate). Then rinse or wash fabric if possible.

Another way is to work some glycerine into the stain before washing in the usual way. If the
stain remains, sponge with some methylated spirit. For acetate and triacetate use an equal part
of methylated spirit and water.


Fountain-pen ink
Blot up the stain, Dab the stain with a solution of hydrogen peroxide (20 vol) in equal
proportions with water or ammonia (one tablespoon) and water (a quarter of a litre).
Another way is to blot up the stain, then sprinkle with some talcum powder, removing the
powder as soon as it is stained, repeat until the powder remains clear. Next make a paste with
the talcum and some methylated or white spirit. Cover the stain and leave to dry. Brush it off.
Repeat as many times as necessary.


Printing ink
Dab with a solution of one part methylated spirits/two parts water. Next work some liquid
detergent or washing-up liquid into the stain then rinse.


Jam
Scrape off any excess, then sponge with liquid detergent diluted in warm water. Rinse. If any
traces remain, sponge with hydrogen peroxide (20 vol) diluted in an equal quantity of water and
rinse.


Mayonnaise
Scrape off any excess, then treat with liquid stain-remover or an aerosol stain-remover.


Meat Juices
Work some liquid detergent into the stain. Rinse and blot dry. If any traces remain, sponge with
some liquid stain-remover.


Mildew
Seek professional advice.


Milk
Sponge the stain with dry-cleaning fluid then sponge with lukewarm water.


Mud
Wait until the mud is dry, then brush it off. Sponge the stain with a mild detergent solution.
Wipe with sponge squeezed out in cold water, blot dry. If any traces remain, treat with a liquid
stain-remover.

Another way is to wait until the mud is dry, then brush off. Next sponge with a solution of
methylated or surgical spirits and water in equal quantities. Or wipe the mark with water to
which some bicarbonate of soda has been added (water one teacup, bicarbonate of soda one
tablespoon).


Mustard
Wipe with a cloth wrung out in water. Next sponge with a mild detergent solution and rinse. If
any traces remain, wipe with an ammonia solution (ammonia three tablespoons, water
quarter litre). Blot dry.


Oil – Follow directions for Grease, oils, fats


Perspiration
Sponge the stain with a solution of ammonia and water in equal quantities.


Salad dressing – Follow directions for Grease, oils, fats


Tar
Scrape as much as possible and treat with eucalyptus oil.


Vomit
Scrape any surface deposit. Sponge with warm water to which a few drops of ammonia have
been added. Blot dry.

Another way is to scrape off excess, sponge with warm water, then blot dry. Next sponge with
a liquid stain-remover.


Wine
Blot up as much as possible and sponge with a solution of hydrogen peroxide (20 vol) (half
hydrogen peroxide, half water). Blot dry.

Another way is to blot up as much as possible then sponge with warm water. Blot well. If any
traces remain, sprinkle with talcum powder while still damp. Wait ten minutes. Brush off.
Repeat until clear.
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CARE OF FABRICS


Scorches on Fabric
Dab the scorch mark with a piece of cotton wool dampened in hydrogen peroxide and then
sponge with water. If the fabric is cotton, put a cloth dampened in hydrogen peroxide over the
scorched are and press with a warm iron.


Shine on Fabric
Black or dark coloured clothes become shiny with wear. They can be renovated by:


1. Brushing the shiny part with black coffee (half a teacup of strong black coffee to half a teacup
of water). Then press with a wet cloth.


2. Rubbing with a piece of clean cloth dampened with turpentine or white spirit (the smell will
soon disappear).


3. Rubbing the fabric with a soft cloth soaked in a solution made with bay leaves and
water. Leave to dry before pressing with a damp cloth. bay leaf solution: cut about two
dozen bay leaves into small pieces and boil them slowly with a half a litre of water in a
covered pan for twenty minutes. Use the solution as hot as possible to rub over the fabric.


4. Brushing with a solution of one pint/half a litre of water for one tablespoon of ammonia.

Collars
Sometimes only the collar of a coat/jacket needs to be cleaned. This can be done by rubbing it
with powder of magnesia; if you do not have magnesia, use a piece of stale bread or rub with
ammonia.


Belts
Slightly soiled light coloured belts can be cleaned with a pencil eraser. Rub with a soft cloth afterwards. For suede belts use the pencil eraser then a fine wire brush or some very fine sandpaper to raise the nap.


Torn Fabric
Place the torn part flat on a table, spread the wrong side with an egg white, place a piece of the
same fabric or a piece of fine linen on to and press with a hot iron. The tear will be almost
invisible and the repair will last for quite a time.


Buttons
When sewing button to thick material, a matchstick held between the button and the material
will ensure the shank is long enough. It is also helpful if you use elastic thread instead of cotton.
A button will stay on a garment longer if a drop of clear nail varnish is place in the middle of
the button to hold the threads together.

When removing a button, a fork placed between the fabric and the button will prevent the
scissors cutting the material (cut the thread between the button and the fork).
Packing Trousers.


When packing trousers in a suitcase, roll them instead of folding them flat.
To press trousers without an iron, lay them flat overnight beneath the mattress on your bed.
In the morning you will be surprised how neat they look.

Creases in trousers can be sharpened by rubbing the wrong side of the crease with a dry piece
of soap.

Prevent the back of a trouser leg fraying around the hem by sewing a small button half an inch
up from the bottom hem inside the back of each trouser leg so that it doesn’t rub on your shoes.

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