In today's article, we're going to be discussing a set of techniques that are absolutely vital for keeping your clothes in wearable condition as long as possible, how to remove any type of stain you might encounter. This video is part of a series on garment care; the previous installments in the series dealt with how to remove the musty smell from vintage clothing how to wash and maintain wool sweaters and some cheap and easy laundry hacks, you can find those videos by clicking the banners at the right. Today's video is the final part in this series and as we mentioned at the top, it covers stain removal. No matter how careful a man may be in his day-to-day life with his clothes, the occasional stain is inevitable whether it be from a plate of spaghetti and impromptu tire change on the side of the road or really any time spent with a toddler, you're bound to encounter a tough stain at some point. Fortunately, however, stain removal doesn't have to be a chore or involve the dry cleaner. As long as you understand some basic chemistry you'll be all set.
To begin, here's a breakdown of the four basic types of stains you're generally going to encounter. Stains can be organic or inorganic in nature and from there can be oily or not. In other words, the four types of stains are organic, inorganic, oily organic, and oily inorganic. As examples of each of these, stains from living organisms including plants are considered organic, things like grass stains, blood, or red wine. Meanwhile, stains from manmade materials are inorganic, things like ink, solvents, or machine dust. Oily organics are things like barbecue sauce or sweat stains and oily inorganics are generally cosmetics like lipstick. With that said, there are a few exceptions as far as treatment is concerned.
Coffee and tea are treated like inorganics, for example. For such exceptions and really for any case, it never hurts to do a little bit of searching on the web but in general, here are the best techniques we've found for getting rid of all of these different types of stains. First, standard organic stains are best treated with hot water and a substance that's commonly marketed as bleach alternative. Bleach alternative and oxygen bleach are marketing names for a substance that's scientifically known as sodium percarbonate or SPC for short. It's the active ingredient in cleaners like Oxiclean but whereas those types of commercial cleaners usually contain fillers, SPC is most effective in its pure form. Here's a related point as long as we're talking about bleach alternative, never use conventional chlorine bleach on your clothes again. Not for stains and not for whitening. Most white clothes are actually treated with agents referred to as optical whiteners or optical brighteners.
Chlorine bleach, in addition to being harmful to the body if ingested or with prolonged contact, can also remove these optical whiteners from clothing actually making them look less white and can damage the fibers of clothes over time. So bleach alternative or SPC as we'll refer to it throughout the rest of the video is the way to go. For treatment of an organic stain, start by laying a towel down on your work surface. Actually, for any of the types of stains we're about to cover, putting down a clean towel is a good idea. Next, add a bit of SPC, we used about 1/2 capful to a basin of hot water and stir to completely dissolve it. Then, thoroughly wet the stained area of the garment in question with the hot water and SPC mixture. Lay the garment flat on the towel and gently blot at the stain with a clean cotton cloth, wash cloth, or towel. You can also use a garment safe stain brush on most fabrics as we're doing here.
The exceptions to this being wool and silk, because these fabrics are often more delicate, we'll cover them separately later on in the video. After pre treating your stain this way, it can be washed as normal in your machine and if you'd like, you can also add a bit more SPC directly to the drum of the machine during the wash process.
Next, standard inorganic stains like ink are best removed by the use of a solvent. Rubbing alcohol or more technically isopropyl alcohol is best here. Although you can also use different substances like plain vodka. Applying the alcohol to the stain with a spray bottle works well after which point it can be gently blotted. Then wash as normal and as before, you can add some SPC to the machine if you'd like. All oily stains whether they're organic or inorganic in nature are best treated by first dealing with the oil. As oils often surround other staining substances, we'll be looking at these stains sort of like a stain sandwich that is oil layer, stain layer, oil layer. To remove the first oil layer, fill a spray bottle with a solution of 50 percent white vinegar and 50 percent water.
Spray the oil layer of the stain and then blot. Actually, using a stain brush may work best here. Next, apply a bit of water along with laundry detergent or better yet soap flakes and scrub again to deal with the main stain layer and for the final oil layer, spray again with your water and vinegar solution and blot or scrub a final time. To finish here, you guessed it! Wash as normal with optional SPC. Finally, in this section, we're going to pay special attention to sweat stains as they're often a combination of oily organics and the aluminum found in many commercial antiperspirants. They're best treated with a combination of SPC and a stain solution. Apply a few drops of the stain solution to the sweat stain then add a pinch of SPC, you should create a paste with either your finger or your stain brush.
Let this paste sit for at least 20 minutes or longer if you prefer and then rinse it out with hot water. In fact, boiling water poured from a teakettle works best here then wash as normal with optional SPC. Here's a related tip to prevent stains from returning to these garments, you can spray the affected areas with your vinegar and water solution before washing them as normal in your machine. So what about treating stains on wool and silk garments? As we said earlier, these types of garments are usually more delicate in nature so you won't want to apply SPC to them directly or scrub them with a stain brush. For these fabrics, it's best to pre-soak for a little while in water with a bit of stain solution and then wash as normal. Of course, these garments, if placed in a washing machine, should be individually and tightly packed in mesh washing bags. You can add a bit of SPC to the drum of the machine while washing if you'd like since the low concentration and minimal direct contact won't be overly abrasive.
For more information on washing silk wool and other delicate fabrics, you can take some tips from our previous video on washing sweaters here. Here are a few final tips for today. Whichever stain type and consequential removal method you're dealing with, know that you shouldn't expect to see a complete clearing up of the stain as you're scrubbing it. Rather aim for about an 80% reduction in stain visibility and then machine wash, the rest should come out. As we said in our sweater video, washing on warm and with the express setting should be sufficient for most garments and you can always add a little bit of SPC to the drum if you so choose. Finally, it may well be that a given stain isn't solely one type of the stains we've covered here today.
Therefore, if you've tried one removal method and the stain hasn't completely come out, just try one or more of the other removal methods and you should ultimately be successful. As an example of having to use multiple methods, we found both the fountain pen ink and the lipstick that we used for demonstration purposes in this video to be especially resilient. They didn't come out with each of the first methods we recommended so we used a few other methods to get them out. We think that they got to about the 80% stain removal threshold we were looking for and putting them through the washing machine should get the rest of the stains out. With these techniques in your arsenal then, stains should no longer pose a significant threat to you or your garments and you should be able to take care of them completely from the comfort of your own home.
As we said at the start of the video, be sure to take a look at the three previous installments in this laundry and garment care series here. Which of the techniques we laid out today were you most surprised by and do you have any alternative techniques for stain removal that we didn't mention here? If so let us know in the comments section below and as always don't forget to subscribe to the Gentleman's Gazette YouTube channel and hit the little bell icon so these videos will come straight to your inbox. in today's video I'm wearing an outfit that might be typically worn around the house taking a day to do a little bit of necessary garment care my medium blue cardigan is especially informal given its two front pockets I'm wearing it over a shirt from Charles Charles Tyrwhitt that features a gingham pattern in blue and white the shirt does have French cuffs but I'm wearing them configured in a barrel style today so that they fit better under the sleeves of the sweater my cufflinks are vintage silver ones and they feature a simple geometric pattern that complements the gingham pattern of my shirt well my plain brown trousers harmonized well with my shirt and cardigan and on that note you can check out our video on how to effectively pair brown and blue here to go along with this color scheme my socks are plain blue in color but they do feature a subtle stripe in their weave the outfit today is rounded out by my dark oxblood penny loafers which are informal in nature and also harmonize well color wise I'm not really wearing very many accessories today aside from the vintage cufflinks but if you'd like to take a look at some other types of accessories cuff links as well as tie pins collar clips boutonnieres pocket squares and so on just take a look at the Familane Shop.