The Mangle and Wringer guide to natural stain removal
We were so pleased to come across Mangle and Wringer and their natural cleaning products; and thrilled when Vanessa the founder agreed to write this piece for us on natural stain removal, as it is something we get asked about alot. They have a fantastic natural bleach which we would recommend for removing stains from tablecloths.
Mangle and Wringer are also offering a whopping 15% discount off their products, so you can try them for yourself. Simply pop over to their website http://www.mangleandwringer.co.uk and use the discount oando14 when you check out. Valid from October 1st until 30th November. Look out for a special giveaway from Mangle and Wringer in next months newsletter.
But for now we will hand you over to Mangle and Wringer to share some of their tricks of the trade;
There’s nothing more annoying, after giving a lovely party for family and friends, than spending days afterwards trying to get the red wine and spilt curry or spag bol off the tablecloth and napkins! And if you’re a messy cook like me a lot ends up on the tea towels as well!
The good news is that stains and spills can be removed quickly and easily, without the use of harsh chemicals, if you follow a few simple rules.
The most important one is to identify the stain you’re dealing with. Most people assume that a good – often double – dose of detergent and hot water is the answer, but in fact hot water will set protein stains permanently and you wont be able to shift a tannin stain once you’ve tried to remove it with soap.
To make it easier stains fall into four main categories:
Tannin stains are usually liquid and include: fruit juices, wine, tea, coffee, colas, tomato juice, beer and alcohol stains. They respond well to hot water but will set permanently if you use soap.
Grease stains usually respond well to hot water and soap. If a grease stain remains after washing, however, don’t iron the fabric until the stain has been completely removed as the heat will set it.
Protein stains are usually quite easy to remove but avoid any form of heat initially as hot water will set these stains. Make sure they’ve been completely removed before you iron them or put them in a dryer.
Protein stains include protein food types: milk, egg, cream, yogurt; organic stains like mud and grass and bodily fluids: blood, urine, faeces and vomit, for example.
Combination stains are a mix of the above: coffee and cream, for example or sauces that contain grease and tannin or grease and protein and which are often the most difficult to tackle.
The next essential is speed. Obvious really, but the quicker you can treat a spill or stain the more likely it is to come out immediately. Start with the simplest method first: often saturating with soda water will remove a red wine or juice stain immediately. Forget the white wine remedy! It’s just the fact that it’s liquid and as far as I’m concerned a waste of good alcohol!
Remember less is more. It’s very easy to put the tablecloth or tea towels in the washing machine, add an extra scoop of powder, a dose of stain remover and increase the washing temperature only to find the stain is still there when you take it out. Far better to spend a bit of time tackling the stain in the right way before it goes into the machine. A persistent approach is the best one. Don’t give up after the first attempt as little and often can work wonders.
It helps to have a few natural stain removers on hand, which can include:
Bicarbonate of soda is a fantastic natural stain remover. It is safe and non-toxic and works on most surfaces to clean and deodorise them. In the laundry it can be added to hand washed items to help break down protein stains. As a stain remover make into a paste with a little water and leave on for 30 – 60 minutes. It is especially effective for mud, grass and perspiration stains.
Cornflour is great for greasy stains. Sprinkle onto fabric and rub gently. Leave for 30 – 60 minutes and brush off. Launder as normal.
Glycerine is a great stain remover for tannin stains. Mix glycerine 50:50 with water and work into the back of the stain. Leave for 30 minutes. Launder as normal.
Lemon Juice acts as a mild bleach. Apply directly to the stain and leave to dry.
This is particularly effective on white fabrics and if left in the sun works doubly fast. On coloured fabrics a colour test is recommended.
Milk is the original enzyme cleaner! It is very effective on juice stains and washable inks.
Turpentine is a natural oil distilled from pine resin. It is a great solvent for oil, tar and paint stains, however it must be used with great care, as it is toxic and flammable.
Soap is perfect for greasy stains and great for collars and cuffs where it can be rubbed on prior to washing in hot water. Never use soap on tannin stains.
Soda water is a great remedy for coffee, tea, wine and other tannin stains as described above.
Washing up liquid is good for removing greasy stains. It should preferably be a colourless, biodegradable, plant based detergent, which is unperfumed.
Apply directly and agitate the fabric. Rinse in hot water.
White vinegar is another mild bleach. Perfect for use on urine stains as a deordoriser, mud and grass. Soak for 1 – 2 hours. On coloured fabric a colour test is recommended.
Tannin stains respond well to hot water but remember not to use soap of any kind until the stain in completely removed. Run hot water through the stain and if possible pull taut over a bowl with an elastic band and pour the hot water from a height to force it out. Be careful of splashes. If the stain remains use glycerine or white vinegar and work into the fabric. For older stains Mangle & Wringer Natural Bleach is very effective.
Grease stains respond well to hot water and soap. Add soap directly to fabric and agitate in hot water. Once the stain has been removed launder as normal.
Protein stains respond well to rinsing in cold water and can usually be completely removed if tackled quickly this way. Bicarbonate of Soda works well on protein stains followed by soap. For older stains Mangle & Wringer Natural Bleach is very effective.
Combination stains are more complicated. For combination stains without the tannin element tackle the protein part first. Soak in cool water and apply soap to both sides of the stain. Agitate and soak until stain is removed. Launder in warm water. For combination stains with tannin, tackle first with glycerine or vinegar. Once removed use soap and warm water and launder as normal.
For stubborn stains we recommend Mangle & Wringer Natural Bleach. It is safe and gentle and completely biodegradable. For further information see:
Please persist and be patient. It may take a few attempts to remove stubborn stains, but it often doesn’t take more effort, just a little time and it can be very satisfying.
© Vanessa Willes 2014
Vanessa Willes is founder of Natural Cleaning Remedy company Mangle & Wringer.
Launched in 2013 Vanessa was lucky enough to inherit cleaning recipes and tips from long time housekeeper Bette Smith.
Bette went into service at the age of 14 in 1934 and spent the next 15 years as a kitchen maid, laundry maid, housemaid and eventually lady’s maid. In 1949 she moved to Gloucestershire with her husband and young family where she ran a thriving laundry business, earning the name ‘Mrs Mangle’.
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