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Tough Stains Index

PLEASE NOTE: In our professional experience of over 50 years, home remedies can often complicate a stain, discoloring or even permanently damaging your fine garments. In fact, we have found that experimentation can set a stain and make it more difficult to remove. If you do not want to experiment on your fabrics with uncertain results, please know Davis Imperial Cleaners is here to assist you! Prompt attention to any stain by a professional always improves the chances of complete spot removal.

ACIDS (BATTERY ACID/POOL ACID)
Acids can damage textiles. Clean promptly and send the stain to a professional dry cleaner. Acids can be found in drain openers, toilet bowl cleaners, automobile batteries, vomit, and urine.
ALCOHOL
Alcohol stains can take the dye or color out of some fabrics. Clean promptly and send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning. Alcohol can be found in perfume, cologne, antiperspirant, deodorants and hair spray.
BABY FOOD/BABY FORMULA
Some of the fruit, vegetable, or soy stains can ruin rompers or buntings. The combination of fruit, sugar, proteins, and other ingredients can easily be set by washing in hot water, soap, ironing, or hot-air drying. Scrape off as much as you can, blot up any liquid, and send the stain to a professional dry cleaner.
BABY STAINS
Acids in baby spit-up can take the color out of many fabrics. Put off or ignored, baby stains can be extremely difficult to impossible to remove. Pet stains can contain protein, urea, organic waste, and bacteria. Scrape up any solid matter, being careful not to push the stain further into the fabric, and send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
BARBECUE SAUCE [SEE TOMATO SAUCES]
BATTERY ACID [SEE ACIDS]
BEER
Because of the combination of ingredients in beer, several steps are required to remove a beer stain. Beer can oxidize any fabric to cause a permanent stain, and is especially harmful to woolens. Sugar stains from beer can become permanent with heat. Proteins from beer can produce that stale beer smell. Don’t let the stain dry, blot up all you can with a clean cloth, sponge the spot, and send to a professional dry cleaner.
BERRY [SEE FRUIT]
BLEACH
Bleach stains are possibly the most difficult kind of stains. If you get bleach on something accidentally or notice a color change in something you’re spotting, flood the area with cool water immediately and show the stains to a dry cleaner. Bleach stains can be caused by chlorine bleach such as Clorox or Purex, color remover, hydrogen peroxide, oxygen or all-fabric bleach, lemon juice, vinegar, and ammonia.
BLOOD
Blood stains can be a challenge to remove. The proteins, mineral salts, and water in blood can leave a faint, permanent stain. if possible, don’t let the stain dry, and send the stain to a professional dry cleaner.
CATSUP [SEE TOMATO SAUCES]
CHAMPAGNE [SEE INVISIBLE STAINS]
CHLORINE [SEE BLEACH]
CHOCOLATE
Because of the combination of ingredients in chocolate, several steps are required to remove a chocolate stain. Chocolate can oxidize any fabric to cause a permanent stain. Scrape or blot up all you can with a clean cloth, being careful not to push the stain further into the fabric, and send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
CIGARETTES
Cigarettes can cause anything from a slight discoloration in a fabric to a hole. Professional repair is available for severely damaged articles; consult an expert to see if reweaving can save it. If only slightly discolored from scorching or charring, send to a professional dry cleaner.
CLUB SODA [SEE INVISIBLE STAINS]
COFFEE
Because of the combination of ingredients in coffee, several steps are required to remove a coffee stain. Coffee can be most problematic with light-colored wool or cotton. Blot up all you can with a clean cloth, sponge with cool water, and send to a professional dry cleaner.
COLOGNE [SEE PERFUME & COLOGNE]
CORRECTION FLUID
Correction fluid can be hard to remove from delicate fabrics. Gently flake or scrape of as much as possible, being careful not to damage the fabric. Flexing the fabric before you scrape will usually help to break up the hardened spots. Send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
DYE
Dye stains can be caused by dye transfer from washing the darks and lights together, or from belts, shoes , and purses. Other sources of dye stains are Easter egg dye, hair coloring, and meat labels. Dyes can leave permanent stains, even when caught quickly; promptly send fabrics for professional cleaning.
EGG
If set by heat, egg stains can be permanent. Gently scrape off all you can and send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
FAST FOOD [SEE GREASY FOODS]
FECES [SEE BABY STAINS, PET STAINS]
FRUIT
From red wine to grape juice, the strong red dyes in fruit can leave permanent stains, and the sugar in fruit will turn yellow with age and heat. Do not launder in hot water, don’t use real soap (it will set fruit stains), don’t use heat, and send to a professional dry cleaner.
FURNITURE POLISH
Furniture polish can cause stains ranging from light, oily stains to dark, permanent stains. Send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
GLUE
If dried, glue stains can be permanent. Gently scrape off all you can and send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
GRASS
Tannin and vegetable dye stains can ruin clothing. Don’t use alkalis such as ammonia, degreaser, or alkaline detergent — these can set grass stains. Alcohol can make the vegetable dyes bleed. Send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
GREASY FOODS
If greasy food stains are heated or left to oxidize, these can be difficult or impossible to remove. Greasy food stains can contain animal fat, vegetable oil, dyes, and other additives. Gently scrape or blot up as much as possible, being careful not to push the stain further into the fabric, and send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
GUM
Gum sticks tenaciously to fabrics and attracts dirt to form a dark, ugly stain. Send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
HARD WATER STAINS [SEE WATER STAINS]
INK
A large blot of ink is very difficult to remove; depending on the color of the ink, the last trace of dye will still be visible in some fabrics, especially cotton or wool. For an expensive garment, especially silk, wool, rayon, or acetate, the safest course is to take it in for professional cleaning and spotting.
INVISIBLE STAINS
These stains are hard to see until they are cleaned. Invisible stains include 7-Up, club soda, white wine, and champagne. The best remedy is to have garments and household items with these stains cleaned promptly by a professional dry cleaner.
IODINE [SEE MEDICINE STAINS]
JAM OR JELLY [SEE FRUIT]
KETCHUP [SEE TOMATO SAUCES]
LIPSTICK [SEE MAKEUP]
LOTION
Lotion leaves an oil stain that attracts dirt, and oxidizes and hardens with age. Lotions can contain mineral oils, vegetable oils, glycerin, moisturizers, perfume, and dye. Blot up excess oil and send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
MAKEUP
Makeup stains can be strongly colored and easy to spread. Makeup stains include stains from dye in various wax- and oil-based creams, emulsions, and powders. Gently brush up as much as possible, being careful not to push the stain further into the fabric, and send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
MEDICINE
Medicine stains can be difficult to remove even with professional spotting techniques. Davis Imperial Cleaners uses special formulas and procedures that not all dry cleaners possess.
MUSTARD
Turmeric is the bright yellow spice that creates a stain that can be difficult to remove if set by heat or alkali (ammonia). The best remedy is to have garments and household items with mustard stains cleaned promptly by a professional dry cleaner.
NAIL POLISH [SEE MAKEUP]
OIL
Oil from a salad dressing can require extra spotting techniques. Petroleum oil causes a dark, penetrating stain that attracts other soil and dirt. Gently scrape or blot up as much as possible, being careful not to push the stain further into the fabric, and send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
OXIDIZED STAINS
Oxidized stains (often called yellow stains) are stains that have set in over a period of six months or longer. These are much harder to remove, and require special formulas and procedures that not all dry cleaners possess. Davis Imperial Cleaners offers specialized treatment of oxidized stains.
OVEN CLEANER
Particularly damaging to fabrics such as silk and wool, oven cleaner can leave white spots on most colored fabrics. Promptly remove as much as possible and send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
PAINT
Paint can dry to a hard, raised spot that bonds tightly to fabrics and can be impossible to remove. Blot out as much as possible with a paper towel or dry cloth and send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
PERFUME & COLOGNE [SEE ALCOHOL]
PERSPIRATION (SWEAT)
Some antiperspirants combine with perspiration to make a stain more difficult. Perspiration stains can contain body oils, minerals, salts, and enzymes. Never iron anything with untreated perspiration stains, as the heat will set them. Send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
PET STAINS
Put off or ignored, pet stains can be extremely difficult to impossible to remove. Many stains can be removed, but the odor, especially from cat stains, cannot always be taken away, even with deodorizing. Pet stains can contain protein, urea, organic waste, and bacteria. Scrape up any solid matter, being careful not to push the stain further into the fabric, and send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
POOL ACID [SEE ACID]
RED WINE
Depending on the wine and the fabric, red wine stains can be among the toughest stains to remove. Aged stains can be impossible to remove, especially if set by heat. The sugar in wine can also set into a stubborn yellow spot. Blot to remove as much as possible, immediately sponge with cool water until no more color is being removed, and send to a professional dry cleaner.
SALAD DRESSING [SEE OIL]
7-UP [SEE INVISIBLE STAINS]
SHOE POLISH
A dry, tough stain that bonds with the fibers in fabrics. The best remedy is to have garments and household items with these stains cleaned promptly by a professional dry cleaner.
SOFT DRINKS
Like any sugar spot, can become a permanent yellow stain if heat-set. The tannin and caramel colorings in dark-colored drinks can also stain. Blot up all you can with a clean cloth, sponge with cool water, and send to a professional dry cleaner.
STEAK SAUCE [SEE TOMATO SAUCES]
TEA
Because of the combination of ingredients in tea, several steps are required to remove a tea stain. Tea can be most problematic with light-colored wool or cotton. Blot up all you can with a clean cloth, sponge with cool water, and send to a professional dry cleaner.
TOMATO SAUCES
Tomato-based stains leave a reddish-brown blotch that will set with heat. Gently scrape or blot up as much as possible, being careful not to push the stain further into the fabric, and send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spotting and cleaning.
URINE [SEE BABY STAINS, PET STAINS]
VOMIT [SEE BABY STAINS, PET STAINS]
WATER STAINS
Fabrics most susceptible to water stains are taffeta, moiré, and hard-finished silk or rayon. Water spots usually form on fabrics that contain sizing or finishing agents. Send to a professional dry cleaner for expert spot removal and cleaning.
WAX

These deep-penetrating stains from the dyes in crayons and candles can be permanent and are among the toughest of stains. Send to a professional dry cleaner.

WHITE OUT [SEE CORRECTION FLUID]
WHITE WINE [SEE INVISIBLE STAINS]
WINE [SEE RED WINE, WHITE WINE]
YELLOW STAINS [SEE OXIDIZED STAINS]

Chicago
3325 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Chicago, IL 60659
866.267.4560

Chicago Business Hours
Monday – Friday
7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Saturday
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
——–
Evanston
1920 Harrison Street
(between Prairie & Green Bay)
Evanston, IL 60201
866.267.4560

Evanston Business Hours
Monday – Wednesday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday
12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday
Closed

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