Absorbents are not usually effective on a stain once it has dried. They must be used immediately so that the powder can absorb the spilt fluid. These powders brush off readily afterwards, and are safe on all light coloured materials. Avoid using salt for treating stains on carpets, as it is difficult to remove all traces and a damp patch may develop.
To remove a stain with an absorbent powder, sprinkle a layer of powder over the stain. Spread the powder round, and as soon as it becomes gummy lift, shake or brush it off. Repeat this until nothing further is being absorbed. If a mark still remains after this, mix the powder to a paste, using water for non-greasy stains and a grease solvent (see "for greasy marks"). Leave standing till dry, then brush off.
Absorbent paper is useful for ink or grease stains on carpets and upholstery. For grease marks, cover the stain with the paper, or in the case of a smaller article, put the stained part between two layers. Press with a warm iron, shifting to a fresh portion of paper until absorption ceases. Do not use on upholstery fabrics containing polyvinylchloride (P.V.C.) fibres.
Important: Start always with the mildest bleach on coloured or delicate fabrics. Use stronger ones only if absolutely necessary.
To use bleach, stretch the stained part over a basin of cold or tepid water. Apply the bleach with a glass rod, clean stick or medicine dropper. Use only plastic, glass or earthenware containers. Every minute or two slip the stain down into the water, then apply the remover again. When the stain disappears, rinse well in fresh water so that no trace of chemical remains, and neutralize where necessary.
All bleaches must be very thoroughly rinsed out to avoid damage to the cloth.
These dissolve the staining substances and so remove it.
To use solvents, e.g. to remove a grease stain, lay the stained area face downwards on a pad of clean absorbent cloth. Apply the remover to the back of the cloth, so that the stain is washed from the cloth without having to pass through it. Brush lightly from beyond the outside of the stain towards the centre. Work rapidly and use the solvent sparingly. Several quick applications are better than one long one. Shift the underneath pad as it becomes soiled.
NOTE: Always use a solvent on dry material. If stain has already been treated with water, wait for it to dry thoroughly before applying a solvent, unless otherwise directed.
CAUTION. Many solvents are FLAMMABLE. Use flammable solvents out of doors only, away from all naked flames. Do not rub as friction may cause solvent to ignite.
Washing Agents - for washable fabrics.
Once you know that water will not leave a ring on your cloth you can go ahead. Place a pad of clean absorbent cloth beneath the stain. For sponging, use a clean cloth and not too much water. Work with a light brushing motion from beyond the outside of the stain towards the centre. If the stain is not greasy, first try cold water. Hot water tends to set many stains.
If cold water is not sufficient, or the stain is slightly greasy, use warm water and a mild soap, or a good quality Quilt/Wool Wash or a good quality laundry liquid. Rinse well in fresh, warm water. When using liquid detergents, follow the manufacturer's instructions for amount to use, usually 1 tsp. : 1 c water.
Rub the outer edges of the wet area with a clean, dry towel. Dry as rapidly as possible. An electric fan speeds drying and even blowing on it helps. Ring marks once formed can often be removed by placing the material right side up over a pad or cloth and rubbing the edge of the ring with the fingernail or the edge of a spoon.
Another effective treatment is to boil a small quantity of water in a closed kettle, the spout of which is covered with butter muslin. The ringed spot is then held over the muslined spout just long enough to become moist, but not wet. The material is then shaken dry and pressed.
Be Prepared - Supplies of stain removers and equipment kept at hand ready to go into action in an emergency will save time and make success surer. In a box, or on a handy shelf, collect these items into a Stain Removal Kit: