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A Cleaner World Blog

Springtime is in full swing, and if you’re like me, we spend most of our evenings and weekends enjoying picnics. What’s not to love about burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, salads, drinks and more? Unfortunately, ketchup drips from burgers; ice cream quickly melts, running down the cone and your arm; and juggling plates and cups leads to spills.

I’d be willing to bet that I’m not the only one that leaves a picnic with a spill or two, so A Cleaner World has come up with a list of common picnic-related food stains and how to address them.

  1. A good burger must have ketchup, and the burger is at its best when the ketchup drips off the end as you’re taking a big bite. For ketchup mishaps, take a spoon and gently remove the excess, then leave it alone. Never scrub any sort of spill because that will cause it to be pushed further into the fabric. Once you get home, place the stained area under cold running water allowing it to run through from the back side of the garment. This will flush the excess out away from the fabric. Spray the affected area with a pre-treater and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. Wash according to the care label’s directions. Before placing the garment in the dryer, check to see if the stain has been completely removed. If not, try soaking in some color-safe bleach before attempting to launder again. If the stain is still there after the second attempt, then stop and take it to a professional.
  2. Mustard is an incredibly difficult stain to remove. With its ingredients of mustard seed, color from turmeric, and liquid, it’s considered a combination stain that typically requires immediate attention and multiple steps. Just as with ketchup, remove the excess and flush from the back with cold water. Pour a small amount of liquid detergent directly on the spill and let it sit for several minutes. Rinse and then see how much of the stain remains. Next try applying a pre-spotting agent, letting it sit, and then laundering in cold water with detergent (provided the care label indicates laundering as the preferred method of cleaning). Once the wash cycle is complete, remove the garment from the washer to see if the stain is still there. If it is, do not place the item in the dryer as the heat from the dryer will set the stain. If it is still there, we recommend taking the garment to a professional.
  3. A super cold, frosty glass of beer can be incredibly refreshing on a hot summer day, but it can also lead to frustration if it gets spilled on your shirt or pants. To remove a beer spill, blot up as much beer as you can using paper towels or a dry cloth. Dilute a small amount of dish soap or liquid laundry detergent in lukewarm water. Dip a light-colored rag or sponge in the detergent solution, and dab at the stain, repeating until it's gone or lightened significantly. Launder as usual, checking to be sure the stain has been completely removed before it goes into the dryer.
  4. Greasy stains can be difficult to treat at home; most grocery store pre-treating solutions cannot effectively breakdown these types of stains. If you are determined to get this one out on your own, try treating the area with a liquid detergent that contains a degreaser, launder according to the care label’s directions, and check to see if the stain has been removed before placing it in the dryer.
  5. My favorite part of a picnic, or any gathering for that matter is the dessert, and to me, ice cream is a go-to. For ice cream spills, simply remove the excess then let it be until you can properly address it. As long as the garment is machine washable, we recommend rinsing the area with cold water, running the water through from the backside of the garment. Next, treat the spot with a liquid laundry detergent with enzymes and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. Launder according to the care label’s directions, and check to make sure the spot has been removed before placing it in the dryer.

A Cleaner World specializes in removing food-related stains and spills. So, if any of these prove to be especially difficult to remove, just stop by one of our convenient locations. We’ll be happy to offer advice or clean it for you.

a cleaner world picnic stain guide
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