Take some simple steps to solve stain problems

Common stains can often be easily removed.
If you pay attention to fashion forecasters you know that black is the new, well, black.
For fall, designers are focusing on the shade, and thank goodness for that. It goes with everything. It's slimming. And, most important, it's forgiving. See, if you're anything like me, a white blouse is just an invitation to a giant stain. If I don't manage to squirt myself with ketchup or drag my sleeve through wet ink, my 9-month- old daughter will almost certainly leave a tiny, sticky handprint on my shoulder.
With black, those stains are easier to disguise, but it's late summer, and wearing something light still seems right. So here are a few stain solutions from Norma Keyes, Cotton Inc.'s resident stain guru.
* Barbecue sauce: Try a spot remover or pretreat with a liquid detergent, followed by the recommended laundering procedure. Air dry and repeat if necessary.
* Grass: Begin by soaking the garment for 30 minutes in a bucket with a little regular-use detergent (powder or concentrated dry detergent works best) mixed with one gallon warm water. Weigh the garment down with a white cotton towel to ensure the whole garment stays in the solution. Wash according to the detergent manufacturer's instructions. Air dry and repeat if necessary.
* Sunscreen: Apply a spot remover on the stain. Pretreat the garment with a liquid detergent and wash items in warm water as you normally would.
* Mud: Remove as much mud as you can with a soft-bristle brush. Rinse item in cold water to dilute remaining stain. Next, wash the garment in warm water using a powder or concentrated detergent. If the stain is not completely removed, rub glycerin or white shortening onto the stain and leave for several hours or overnight. Once the time has elapsed, turn the stained item inside out onto a paper towel and pour a cleaning fluid on top. Follow with a regular laundering.
* Ketchup: Apply a pretreatment to the stain. Use an eyedropper and diluted vinegar (one part water) to get rid of any remaining color. Finish with a regular wash cycle.
* Sweat: For new stains, pretreat the stain with a liquid detergent and wash regularly. If the stain does not come out, sponge the area with a solution of one tablespoon ammonia and a half-cup of water. For older stains, sponge area with one tablespoon white vinegar and a half-cup of water. Wash shirts with a bleach-free detergent, in the hottest water safe for fabric.

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