You’re Going To Have An Accident.
No matter how hard you try, there will come a day when your much prized dress shirt comes into contact with something that it shouldn’t.
Don’t stress. Remember that saying about accepting the things you cannot change. Well, accidents happen, and when it happens to you, you’ll be glad of the few minutes you spent here, reading about how to remove stains, candle wax, red wine and other accidents from your dress shirt.
How To Remove Stains
Needless to say, but time is of the essence here. Acting quickly is the only way to ensure success. Every minute counts and the longer you leave the stain, the more difficult it will be to remove it. It is important to note that stains are removed by blotting. Not rubbing and not smearing. Start blotting from the outer edges of the stain and work you way inwards towards the centre. By working inwards you can ensure that the stain does not spread any further. It is also important to ensure that the cloth being used is a white wash cloth. White is best so that there is no risk of any colour from the cloth also staining your shirt.
The first thing to do in treating the stain is to remove any solids from the shirt using something like a butter knife to gently scrape the offending matter away. If the stain is from an oil of some sort, then coat it with corn starch and leave it for 10-15 minutes before scraping the corn starch away.
Next, wet the white wash cloth and begin the blotting process as described above; from the outside inwards. This will not remove the stain but will lighten it a bit. Now you need to identify what type of stain it is, in order to choose the correct stain removal product.
For protein based stains, and enzyme based treatment will break down the stain for best removal. For stains such as tomato based, it may be best to use hydrogen peroxide. Make sure you always check the care label on your shirt before using any of the stain removal products.
How To Remove Red Wine From Your Shirt
Perhaps the most common stain on dress and business shirts is red wine. Once again, the key to success is acting quickly. If you leave ared wine stain too long, you can be almost guaranteed of ruining your shirt.
Begin with blotting the stain with a damp white cloth as previously described. This will remove any excess wine and start to lighten the stain. Avoid rubbing completely. Not only can it spread the stain, but is can damage your shirt fabric as well.
With the initial blotting out of the way, you have a couple of choices as to how to completely remove the stain. If you have white wine handy, pour it onto the stain diluting the red wine and making it pretty easy to remove completely with a wash. In the absence of white wine you can use club soda and use a wet cloth to damp it onto the stain until it disappears.
Another method for removing red wine stains is to mix one teaspoon of laundry detergent and one cup of hydrogen peroxide. Blot the sttain with this mix until it disappears and then put the shirt into the wash as normal.
A good tip for this process is to place something behind the stained fabric while you are treating it. This ensures that the stain doesn’t bleed through and stain another part of the shirt. Some people also recommend using corn starch or talcum powder on the stain but I have found the white wine or club soda methods to be much more effective, and, generally more available in those situations where the wine is spilled in the first place.
Special mention: never iron or tumble dry you shirt until you are 100% sure that the stain is gone. This can set the stain into the fabric and ruin your shirt for good.
How To Remove Candle Wax From Your Dress Shirt
Relax. This one is actually pretty easy and you have a few choices in how you want to remove the wax from your shirt.
The “low temperature method” will cause the wax to hard, become brittle, and you can easily scrape it off. Simply rub ice or equivalent on the wax until it becomes hard. Now take a blunt butter knife, or a credit card and gently scrape off the wax. This method usually takes way te majority of the wax, but has been known to leave a little bit behind.
To get rid of the remaining wax you will use a “high temperature method” You’ll need something like a heat proof bowl, big enough to hold a kettle full of water, but small enough to work with over a kitchen bench or table. Set the bowl on a flat surface. Place your shirt over the bowl with the candle wax area facing down into the bowl, and positioned as centrally as possible. You’ll need t secure you shirt in place using something like rubber bands. Once you have boiled some water in a kettle, simply pour it gently and slowing over the candle wax. It will melt away before your eyes.
There is another method that involves ironing, plus paper bags or paper towels. Set your iron on its lowest setting. Place the paper back over the candle wax and gently iron over the paper bag. As the wax melts it will be absorbed by the paper. Just replace the paper as required until all the wax it removed.
Personally, I have always used the ice method to get rid of the bulk of the wax and then used the boiling water method. Never failed once.
How To Remove Paint From Your Dress Shirt
Now is not the time to question why you were painting in your dress shirt, because once again, time is not on our side. Waiting too long will make removing paint from your dress shirt an impossible task.
Firstly, you need to identify whether the paint is water based or oil based. If it is water based then the fundamentals will get the job done. Carefully scrape away excess paint and then run it under lukewarm water until all the paint is gone. Either allow the running water to remove the paint completely from the shirt, or use a soft brush to assist. Then wash your shirt as normal. If you have been slow to act and the paint is dried, your shirt can still be saved. Try soaking the shirt in water for about a day and then follow the same process.
Now, oil based paint is much more difficult because water will not work and neither will most cleaning products. If the paint is still wet, gently scrape away the excess and then try using dishwashing detergent to remove the paint. Once most of the paint is gone, rinse the shirt in cold water. If the detergent does not work, then move on to trying paint thinners. Once the paint is practically all off, try washing the shirt as usual. If the oil based paint has dried already, you could consider using commercial paint removing products, but I would rather recommend taking your shirt straight to a professional dry cleaner.
Do you have any special tips for stain removal? Feel free to share your thought and questions below.