Stains 101 – What Makes Up a Stain

Good Question! Most stains come in two major varieties: “Water-Based and Oil-Based.”

Water-based stains are drink spills of all kinds, sugar sprays from fruits and goodies, and anything else that is made of mostly water.

Oil-based stains are the result of spills from vinaigrette dressing, gravies, French fries, oil splatters, bike grease and anything else that contains little or no water.

Stains from ink, lipstick and paint often need professional care and may require both water and oily-type stain removers. Stains that contain color, such as chocolate and red wine, require extra steps.

What Does This Mean to Me?

It means that you can’t use the same remedy for every stain. You should never put water on an oily stain, even in an emergency. In fact, if your garment can only be drycleaned, then also be careful about putting water even on water-based stains for fear of spreading the stain, causing rings, or worse, causing the dyes to bleed especially with neckties.

The Club Soda Myth
Club soda is usually the first thing people reach for, even if the stain is oily – but of course, you now know that’s a mistake! Club soda is effective on some drink spills and assorted food stains but it can also “set” stains, spread stains, and make future removal difficult. Use it on washable clothing and, if you must, on wool with a texture, but use it sparingly.