Keep your cool when the kids come home from school with dirty grass stains in their jeans or a pen mark on the sleeve of their uniform. They can be removed easily with your quick attention and using these tips.
Stains from ballpoint pens and grass are tannin stains and just as protein stains come from animal sources, tannin stains are plant sourced. Tannins were many of the first paints and dyes known to mankind. But because tannin stains have plant origins, they are water-soluble and can often simply be flushed away using plain, cool water or a small amount of vinegar diluted with water — 1 oz vinegar with 1 gal clear, cool water.
“Alkaline cleansers such as ammonia, baking soda, and borax can set grass stains”, warns Deborah L. Martin, author of the helpful book, “Natural Stain Removal Secrets”. “Stick with acidic treatments, such as vinegar and cream of tartar.”
Tannin stains can be extremely persistent and aggravating to say the very least. The older they get, the harder they are to remove. Catching them early and prompt treatment is paramount to success without using bleaching agents
Grass stains on washable fabrics and clothing requires little attention provide the area has not been affected by heat. As with protein stains, heat is your worst enemy. Once grass stains have been dried, they will set and the only method I am aware of to remove the stain(s) afterwards is to boil them in hopes of treating them.
To remove a grass stain on washable fabric try one or more of the following:
For colorfast fabrics: Put a pad (clean white cloth or paper towels) under that stain. Blot area with undiluted white vinegar until gone. Launder as usual. If the stain is persistent, make a paste of cream of tartar, apply a moderate amount to the spot and allow to dry completely. Brush to remove. Launder as usual.
For acetate fabrics and non colorfast materials: Sponge the stained area with lukewarm water. Dilute 1part denatured alcohol with 2 parts water and moisten cloth. Blot the stain with the mixture until it’s gone. Test on an inconspicuous area of the garment prior to attempt stain treatment directly. Still stubborn? Treat with a paste made of unseasoned meat tenderizer and water. Once dry, brush away and launder as usual.
Stains from ballpoint pens are very common. We all have had them — whether we accidentally marked our own shirt or someone else. My personal experiences, experiments and research has provided numerous solutions for removing pen marks from hairspray to milk.
If you have the guilty pen, test potential treatment solutions by marking a piece of similar fabric and try different methods to see which works the best fro that particular pen and fabric. When the mark is on washable fabrics, remember that cheap hairspray, baby wipes and alcohol sanitizing pads are great first-lines of defense if the incident occurs away from home and you are unable to use one of the following tips right away. There are dozens of remedies and I suggest trying these:
Mark on leather? Dampen a soft cloth with milk and gently rub the mark, then sponge with warm water.
Kids wrote on the sofa? Using denatured alcohol, dab marks with a moistened cotton ball or cloth, blotting with clean cloths or paper towels in between. Change the cotton ball frequently and avoid repeatedly using the same spot on the cloth to dab the mark. This prevents spreading or recontaminating the stain while trying to remove it. Continue until the stain is lifted and repeat as needed to completely remove it.
Mark(s) on washable clothing? Deborah L. Martin in her book suggests, “Soak the stain in milk for 1 hour, then coat it with a paste of vinegar and cornstarch. Brush away the dried paste, and launder as usual.” If the stain is still present after laundering, DO NOT DRY IN THE DRYER WITH HOT AIR! Treat the stain again, this time use denatured alcohol. Then sponge with a warm water solution (add 1/4 tsp Dawn to 1/2 cup warm water) and launder again using warm water.
Another suggestion for marks on washable fabrics is to place a pad (a paper towel or clean cloth) under the stain and sponge the mark with lukewarm water until the ink no longer bleeds onto the pad — change the pad’s position often to avoid worsening the situation. Next, soak the stain with hairspray and begin blotting the spot again until no more ink can be removed. Afterwards, sponge with warm water and a squirt of Dawn dishwashing liquid, then launder as usual.
For a persistent stain, DO NOT DRY THE GARMENT WITH HOT AIR! Begin to try stronger cleaning solvents, such as denatured alcohol or nail polish remover. These stronger solvents may cause fabric dyes to bleed and/or run so be sure to test each solution on an inconspicuous are like the hem prior to applying the solution to the stain in the more visible areas.
More from Associated Content:
“How to Remove Protein Stains Naturally”
My Aunt Myrtle
“Natural Stain Removal Secrets”, Deborah L. Martin; (2007)