The Best Way to Remove the Most Common Stains


We love our coffee, but we prefer to drink it, not wear it. Some days we’re just clumsy, or we have the misfortune of running into someone (literally) and spilling Starbucks on our favorite shirt. Stain remover pens can be a godsend, but different stains (like chocolate, blood, or salad dressing) require different treatments to remove a spot for good.

Luckily, you probably have most of the supplies you need in the pantry or under the sink, which is good because you want to treat stains ASAP, says Jolie Kerr, author of My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag… And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha. Follow these tricks to treat 16 common stains, whether they’re on your pants or the carpet. And for washable clothes, as a last-ditch effort, follow these steps and then pre-treat with a stain remover (like Shout) and throw them in the wash as soon as possible.

Coffee Stain

If you spill your cup of joe, pour cold water on the back of the stain over the sink or a small container. If the coffee stain persists, massage the affected area with liquid laundry detergent and soak it in cold water up to 30 minutes.

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