Don't worry, spilling a drink on your favourite top doesn't mean you can never wear it again - we've put together this helpful guide to removing the most common student stains to help you save your clothing when you've made a bit of a mess.
Food and Drink Stains
Sponge the stain with water, then gently rub a lemon slice onto the stain. The stain should start to lift off. If the stain is on a fabric that can be put in the washing machine, pre-soak it in a stain removal solution (mix half a teaspoon of laundry detergent and 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar into a pint of warm water) before adding the item to your next cycle.
Tea and coffee
Immediately blot the spill with tissue. Don’t scrub at the stain – this can cause more damage than good! If you get to the spillage quickly enough, cool it straight away as hot liquids will cause fabric fibres to open deeper and absorb more stain. Pour a solution of vinegar and water over the stain and gently blot until the stain no longer exists. If the problem persists, some bleach (not too much!) can also be added to the solution.
Rinse the fabric, ideally from behind the stain, with water. Then mix a strong solution of detergent and water, submerge the stain and leave to stand for at least 5 minutes before washing normally. If the stain is really set in, try sponging the area with watered-down white vinegar. Do not use the vinegar straight and wash off immediately afterwards to avoid bleaching.
Water is the best thing to use to dilute a wine stain. If you spill red wine, deal with it straight away and always try to keep the stain wet. As soon as it dries, the stain will set. Blot with water from the outside moving in to help stop it spreading. If the stain is already dry, try mixing one tablespoon of vinegar with one tablespoon of detergent and two tablespoons of water and rub the mixture into the stain. Another option is to make up a paste from baking soda and water, spread over the stain and leave it for at least 15 minutes to lift the stain.
Deodorants can cause discolouration on clothing. In order to restore the fabric's colour, try applying ammonia and rinsing the fabric thoroughly. Or apply white vinegar before washing the cloth. You can also use bleach if it is safe for the fabric.
Water based make-up
If these stains are fresh, you may be able to remove them by simply rubbing gently with a baby wipe or a clean cloth moistened with a mild, pH balanced detergent. If the stain does not budge, try using whitening toothpaste; moisten the stain then rub some toothpaste over it and leave for a few minutes. Use an old toothbrush to gently scrub the stain and rinse clean.
Oil based make-up
Lipstick and mascara are the most common oily make-up to stain clothes. These are greasy stains and therefore need to be treated first with an oil solvent to dissolve the stain. Before doing anything, however, scrape off as much of the excess make-up as you can with a butter knife. Then, apply a dry-cleaning fluid or some rubbing alcohol to the stain. Rinse again and then check for any remaining stains. Then launder as normal.
Remove as much vomit as possible. Rinse the back of the stained area with cold water. Rinse thoroughly and apply a stain remover stick, gel, or spray to the vomit stain. Let the clothing sit for 3-5 minutes. Wash in warm but not hot water with liquid laundry detergent, repeating until clean.
Cold water is best for blood stains, as it will break down and dissolve the blood. Warm or hot water will make the stain more difficult to remove. Dried blood stains can be removed by using common household products like salt, ammonia and baking soda. Removing blood stains from silk fabric: Use only the gentlest removal agents like salt and dish washing soap when trying to remove blood stains from washable silk.
Scrape excess grease off with a knife. Wash in warm water. If the stain persists, rub the stain with some white chalk. Launder on a warm wash. Alternatively, try rubbing the stain with cornmeal, cornstarch, baby powder or baking soda. Leave on overnight to life the stain. In the morning, rinse the stain and put through a cold wash.