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Caring for clothing often seems like a lost art, but it’s easy to learn the skills that can make your clothes look better for longer.
Most of us wish to make our favourite garments last as long as possible, but we also need them to be fresh and fragrant whenever we want to wear them. Washing your clothing properly can prolong its life:
Have you ever had to give up wearing a favourite piece of clothing because of grease or deodorant stains? This guide helps you remove stains from clothing and even shows you how to avoid them!
Deodorant stains Deodorant stains on black clothing such as T-shirts or cotton shirts often appear as white streaks or crusted areas. You can solve the problem by not allowing the stain to develop in the first place: it's caused by aluminium salts contained in the antiperspirant element and if you apply the deodorant the night before, or early in the morning, so that it dries completely before you dress, the risk of staining is reduced. Household salt is the simplest way to remove such stains from dark clothing. Wet the area of the stain with cold water and pour table salt thickly over it, gently rubbing it into the stain. Leave overnight. Next morning, add about 25 grams of salt to the wash water. If, on the other hand, you need to get rid of a stain on a black T-shirt to wear immediately, there's a 'first aid' method: use a black cotton sock to rub the stain until it disappears. It really works! Alternatively, yellow deodorant stains on white cotton clothing are quite easy to remove using hydrogen peroxide which you can buy from a pharmacist. This is a form of bleach that returns white cotton to its pristine state, but it doesn't contain chlorine which is the active ingredient in domestic bleach and which damages fabric as well as being bad for the environment. Simply pour a teaspoon or two of hydrogen peroxide on the stain and rub it in slightly, then let it sit for ten minutes before washing. Don't wash white clothing treated with hydrogen peroxide with coloured garments as it may strip them of their dye.
Grease and oil stains It's best to treat grease or oil stains as soon as you can – the longer you leave them, the more ingrained they will become. Cover an entire grease spot with undiluted washing up liquid – try to use lemon or unscented liquid, not because of the smell but the colour – the green and blue dyes used in some washing up liquids can leave a tint on your clothing. Gently work this pure detergent into the grease from the outside edge of the stain inwards. Rinse with white vinegar to remove the washing up liquid then wash as usual. If the stain is really stubborn, simply repeat the washing up liquid/vinegar process as many times as necessary. For grease or oil on clothing that can't be washed – try placing a sheet of brown paper, dull side down, on top of the stain and iron over it using an iron on a low heat and with the steam component switched off – keep moving the brown paper so that each new area takes up some of the grease spot.