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You’re at your favourite bar and you’ve spilled your drink down your favourite shirt – what a mood killer. But fret not, it won’t last forever and many alcohol stains can actually be removed, without a trace and with your clothes still intact. One trip through the washing machine won’t always be enough, so we’ve created a list of top tips for pretreatment and topical remedies to ensure you can wear your favourite clothes again!
Champagne, prosecco & white wine
If champagne, prosecco, or white wine is your tipple of choice, then you won’t be fighting too hard to remove the stain – if you act quickly.
Immediately after spilling your drink, use a clean white cloth or paper towel to blot away as much excess liquid as possible to buy yourself some time before you’re able to get to a washing machine. Even a slice of white bread will soak up the stain if you’ve got that handy instead – weird, we know! The area should then be flushed with a clean cloth and cool water to help dilute the stain further.
When it comes to throwing your clothes in the machine, make sure to use a quality laundry detergent and preferably one that contains enough enzymes to remove the stain. Fabric depending, we then recommended washing on a hot cycle. Just make sure to check what your care label says first!
Note: Never use bar soap or soap flakes because they can actually mix with the pigments in the wine to set the stain.
Think you had to act quickly for the white wine stains? Now think even quicker! With red wine stains, the key is to treat immediately if possible. Due to red wine’s colour and the tannins that it contains, red wine can be an absolute nightmare to remove! If you’re out and about, follow the same steps as above; blot with a white cloth or paper towel and then flush the stained area.
Top tip: Soda water or sparkling water is great for this as the bubbles help push the stain out.
When it comes to washing your item, start by rubbing liquid laundry detergent or dish soap on the stained area and then let it soak for at least 30 minutes in cold water. Then proceed to wash the piece of clothing on a normal cycle.
Note: We often read that you can remove red wine stains by sprinkling salt on them but this is a complete myth! Due to tannins we mentioned earlier, salt can actually cause the stain to set in the clothes and make it forever impossible to remove. For this reason, avoid the salt!
Beer is an oxidisable stain, which means they are brightly coloured and will need an oxidising agent, i.e bleach, to remove – unless you act quickly. We recommend trying to remove the stain as quickly as possible, and doing so in cold water. Hot water will set the sugars in the beer stain into the fabric and make it tricky to remove. We’re starting to sense a theme here!
If you’re out at the pub or in your favourite bar and have spilled your beer, remember the golden rule. Blot and rinse! Use a clean cloth or paper towel, and then flush the stain out with cold water. Then when it comes to washing your stains at home, pretreat with a few drops of liquid laundry detergent, rub it into the stained area and let it sit for 5 minutes before throwing it into the machine on a cold water cycle. We recommend using a detergent with those enzymes that we go on and on about…
Top tip: Beer stains can start to leave an odor if left too long. If this is the case, pretreat it with some baking soda too. This will help absorb the odor and the stain.
If dark liquors are your drink of choice, whisky, bourbon, scotch to name a few, then the same blot and rinse method is going to be your best friend when it comes to removing stains. Immediately blot away the excess liquid and flush the stain promptly with cool water.
When it’s time to throw the stained clothes into the wash, presoak beforehand for at least 30 minutes and work undiluted liquid laundry detergent into the stain. Rinse well, and then launder as soon as possible. Keep the temperature low on your washing cycle, too.
Top tip: Add half a teaspoon of white vinegar when soaking your garment. White vinegar is a great household item for removing stains!