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Overnight Expert: How to Remove Stains from Your Clothes

Keep your clothes looking like new with these eight tricks.

Picture this: You’re in a rush, trying to juggle coffee in one hand and text with the other, when karma from cutting off that old lady yesterday finally catches up with you. Splash. That $5 latte is now all over your shirt, and you aren’t quite sure how you’re going to get it out. There’s no need to start Googling tricks or calling your mom—Men’s Fitness has already done the dirty work for you. Here’s how to get coffee—and other pesky stains—out of your clothes.

Coffee

If you end up wearing your coffee instead of drinking it, you might be able to remove the stain immediately by just dabbing or running your clothes under cold water—it’s that easy. But once coffee sits on your clothes, it takes a little more effort to lift. Add a small amount of powdered detergent and white vinegar to the mix, then blot a few times before throwing your shirt or pants in the washing machine.

Ink

Uh, oh, forget the pocket protector? Don't worry—it's fairly easy to get ink out of fabric. There are actually two great solutions for this one: Hairspray or hand sanitizer. Pick one (hair spray is better for wool and polyester so you don’t damage the material), apply it to the stain, then play the waiting game. After 10-20 minutes, wash your clothes as you normally would.

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Red Wine

Red wine—good for your health, not so good on your favorite shirt. If you’re in a jam, like at a wedding or a nice dinner, pour some white wine over it. It should neutralize the stain and make it disappear before your eyes. If that doesn’t work and you've got some extra time, make a paste out of water and cream of tartar (typically sold in the baking aisle at the grocery store). Rub it on the stain and let it stand for a bit. After wiping away the concoction, dab the area with a damp cloth.

Blood

Treat your cut and your clothes at the same time. Soak the stain in the same 3% hydrogen peroxide you’d use to clean out your wound. Let it stay in there for a while, then try scraping away the blood with a butter knife or your fingernail before rinsing it under the peroxide once more. Don’t have time for this? Club soda could work too.

Tomato Sauce

If you don’t have white vinegar sitting somewhere in your kitchen, we definitely suggest picking up a bottle on your next shopping trip. This stuff takes out everything. If you happen to drip sauce on yourself while eating, pretreat the spot with diluted dish soap and soak it in warm water. Then apply some white vinegar with a sponge. If the stain doesn’t come out within the first round of washing, drip hydrogen peroxide on the area, let it sit, rise, and then wash it again.

Oil

Oil stains are probably the hardest to remove, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Just apply some grease-cutting dish detergent (like Dawn) to the stain and begin scrubbing with a damp toothbrush. Next, pour a little hydrogen peroxide over the area, add some baking soda, and scrub again. Let the mixture sit for a while and repeat the process, if needed.

Sweat

You’re a man; you sweat and, therefore, have to keep replacing all your white shirts due to yellow armpit stains. Not anymore. Next time you encounter this problem, crush three aspirin into a bowl and add a half-cup of warm water. Let your shirt sit in the solution for two to three hours, then wash it like you normally would.

Makeup

Lipstick on your collar can be a sign of a good time, but unfortunately, it’s kind of a pain to get off. Wipe the spot with a slice of white bread to absorb the stain (use the end piece that no one eats anyway), or dab the stain with a bit of shaving cream and rinse with club soda.

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