When summer comes, so too does a whole new category of clothing stains, including those caused by grass, mustard, mud, and strawberries. If you find these stains on your clothes, don't give them up for lost; as Wayne Edelman, of Meurice Garment Care in New York City, notes, it might take some effort, but with the right chemicals and techniques, you can get these stains out. To mix the tannin solution called for in the techniques, combine 1/2 teaspoon liquid laundry detergent with 1/4 cup each of white vinegar and cool water. This solution can be used to remove stains such as those caused by ketchup, red wine, black coffee, and fruit juice.
Tools and Materials
Alcohol or lighter fluid
To Remove a Mustard Stain
Working on an overturned plate, scrape off any excess with the edge of a spoon. Apply a squirt of alcohol or lighter fluid to the stain. Soak the stain with the tannin solution, and then use a tamping brush to "beat out" the stain. Slip a towel underneath the affected area, and flush with water. If more color remains, apply a few drops of hydrogen peroxide, followed immediately by a few drops of ammonia. Rinse with cool water, apply a few drops of vinegar, and rinse with water again. Wash the garment.
To Remove a Strawberry Stain
Follow the above steps, but proceed directly to the tannin solution, and omit the alcohol or lighter fluid.
To Remove a Grass Stain
Apply alcohol or lighter fluid to the stain, and soak the clothing in a mixture of tannin solution and water. Working on an overturned plate, use the tamping brush to work the stain out. Follow the above steps for removing the last remnants of color.
To Remove a Mud Stain
Soak the garment in a solution of water, detergent, and ammonia to release the stain. Wash as usual.
Meurice Garment Care
20 Park Avenue
Manhasset, NY 11030
We used tamping brushes from Cleaner's Supply (phone: 800-568-7768).
Bonus Content: Remove a Cherry Stain
Stains go hand in hand with cherry season. To remove them and other fruit stains from washable fabric, act quickly.
Blot excess juice with a clean, damp cloth. Then squeeze lemon juice onto the stain, wait a couple of minutes, rinse, and let dry in the sun; the lemon's acid breaks up the stain, and sunlight has a bleaching effect. (Lemon juice works on cherry-juice-stained skin, too.) For big, stubborn stains, soak the fabric in a solution of 1 quart warm water, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon clear, mild dishwashing liquid for 15 minutes, then wash as directed. Make extra solution to store in a spray bottle for treating spots.