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    9 Very Specific Stains And How To Remove Them

    Hot Cheeto dust is not your enemy.

    You’re wearing your favorite pair of jeans with just the right amount of casual cuff and an everyday white tee, possibly French-tucked. Then something catches your eye. Round or oblong, massive or teensy, whatever the shape it takes, that’s a gosh darn stain staring you in the face, mocking you, as your internal neat freak screams, “I JUST WASHED THIS!”

    Hannah Wong / BuzzFeed

    Despite the stain’s best efforts, you will not allow your day to be ruined. Your best bet is to act fast; according to Brian Sansoni, a senior vice president at the American Cleaning Institute, while it’s not always convenient, “Speed is your friend.” Quick action prevents a stain from setting, meaning it’ll be waaay less of a headache for you to remove.

    Your plan of attack? Focus on the essentials: a sponge, basic laundry detergent, prewash stain remover, baking powder, and paper towels. While the clock may be against you, if you can find a working faucet, you and your clothing will be fine.

    One pro tip that Sansoni recommends: “Don’t put clothing into the dryer if the stain persists. If your first attempt at removal wasn’t totally successful, repeat the steps until it’s completely gone. Putting clothes in the dryer will set the stain.” Now, keep your stained pants on while we walk you through the best ways to beat the worst splotches.

    Hannah Wong / BuzzFeed

    Lipstick (or Worse) on the Collar

    Ah, makeup residue: Because all-day coverage, no-smear lipstick is a total fallacy! To rid yourself of those annoying collar traces (and possible romantic indiscretions), pretreat with stain remover or detergent and cool water. You can also gently rub the smears with a bar of soap to release the stain before putting it through your normal wash.

    Dripping Pizza Grease


    While a slice of ‘za may be humankind’s tastiest treat, the grease it leaves behind is not. According to Sansoni, this is a stain you’re gonna want to treat ASAP. Rinse the grease with cold water and dish soap. If you’re looking at a light stain, you can use your trusty stain remover or detergent. The catch? If you’ve got a lot of grease going on, place the stain facedown on a paper towel and apply your cleaning fluid to the back of the stain, dab, dab, dab, and then wash.

    Hot Cheeto–Colored Fingerprints


    Dangerously cheesy and deadly in staying power thanks to food-coloring stains, Cheeto dust can set super quickly, Sansoni warns. Start off by sponging the dust with cold water, treating with your stain remover, and washing. If this isn’t enough, mix ¼ cup of chlorine bleach with a gallon of cool water and soak for at least 30 minutes, rinse, and wash.

    Last Night's Red Wine Debacle

    Grundy Television Australia

    Sip, sip, spill. It happens all the time and is one of the stains you should probably react to the fastest, Sansoni says (the other is — eeeek! — blood). If you can treat it right away, sponge the wine stain with cool water or let it soak for about 30 minutes. Treat with a prewash stain remover and proceed to launder. Depending on the fabric you’re working with, add chlorine bleach to the wash. If you’re forced to wait (maybe you’re out to dinner), use cold water to dilute the stain when you return home or send straight to your chosen dry cleaner.

    Vomit of All Kinds

    Comedy Central

    We all vom — sometimes for reasons that are more innocent than others. To start, remove as much excess puke and rinse with cold water. If your clothes are super rank, absorb as much of the odor with baking powder before washing. Let the powder soak, and once wet, remove with a spoon. Add some stain remover and wash with hot water and chlorine bleach. If you’re treating said spew the next morning, rinse under cold water for several minutes and then apply the baking powder.

    Hannah Wong / BuzzFeed

    Ink Splotches From Compulsive Pen Twirling

    Raise your hand if you’re a chewer! To win this battle against the dreaded inkblot, sponge the area around the stain with rubbing alcohol or detergent before hitting the stain directly. Place the stain *down* on clean paper towels and apply more alcohol or detergent to the back of the stain too. Rinse, then launder.

    Inevitable Period Stains

    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures

    Look, when your period hits, sometimes it can leave behind a mess — on your underwear, favorite set of PJs, pants, or even your sheets — despite attempts to avoid it at all costs. So if the stain is wet, soak in cold water; Sansoni makes a note to NOT use hot water as it will set the blood further. If the stain is dry, soak in warm water with a stain remover that contains enzymes (lil’ buggers that will break down the blood). Launder and repeat if the stain remains.

    Melted Chocolate That Doesn't Look Like Chocolate

    United Plankton Productions

    We’ve all experienced a “treat yo’self” moment gone wrong where your most recent choco-binge takes up residence on your favorite shirt. You can wear it with pride (we won’t judge), but to get rid of a stain that otherwise looks like poop, scrape off any leftover chocolate and let your shirt soak in cool water. Treat with a stain remover and wash in the hottest water temperature the fabric can handle.

    The Ring a Tide Pen Leaves Behind

    While Tide to Go Pens appear to be a convenient option for stain removal when you’re out and about, they can often leave behind residue detergent that actually draws more attention to the original stain. To correct this, rinse with warm water, cover the ring with detergent, and let it sit for 20 minutes. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, massage the detergent gently into the fabric and launder.