A Year's Worth of Stain-Removal Hints
from Heloise
Please note:  These hints are for only washable material.

January
Candle Wax on the Tablecloth
May
Clay on a Baseball Uniform
September
Ballpoint Ink on Clothing
Remove hardened wax with a dull knife. Place stain facedown on paper towels. Tackle from the back with cleaning fluid or dry-cleaning solvent. Still there? Treat with a solution of 1 tablespoon mild white hand dish-washing liquid and 1 teaspoon household ammonia in 1 cup water. Then wash according to care label in the hottest water safe for the fabric. This ball-field mark is tough, but try these. Brush off dry clay. Measure out powdered detergent (containing no bleach) for a standard laundry load, then remove a little and combine with just enough household ammonia to make a paste. Apply using a cotton cloth. Let set about 10 minutes; launder in the hottest water safe for the fabric. Repeat if needed. Ballpoint InkPlace stain face-down on paper towels. Treat from the back with cleaning fluid or dry-cleaning solvent. Move towels frequently so there's always a clean area under the stain to absorb ink. Let dry, then re-treat if needed. Last resort: dab on 70 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Once dry, launder as usual.
February
Chocolate on Clothing
June
Grass Stains on Clothing
October
Makeup on Towels
Scrape away chocolate; blot spot with cool water. Presoak using powdered laundry detergent with enzymes, following label directions. ChocolateIf needed, treat with 1 teaspoon household ammonia diluted in 1 cup water (don't do this for wool or silk blends); rinse well. Launder
 
Treat area directly with liquid laundry detergent containing enzymes or with prewash spray (follow directions on container). Then wash according to care label. MakeupPretreat with prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent. Launder in the hottest water safe for the fabric to help dissolve waxes and oils.
 

Grass

March
Coffee on Fabric
July
Ketchup or Barbecue Sauce on Fabric
November
Gravy on the Tablecloth
Rinse with cold water. Work in a drop or 2 of mild white hand dish-washing liquid; rinse well. Still there? Treat with a mix of 1 part white household vinegar to 3 parts water; rinse again. Launder. KetchupFlush or blot with water. Apply a few drops of mild white hand dishwashing liquid; rinse. If needed, apply a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water, rinse well. Launder.
 
Blot spill with paper towels, sprinkle on talcum powder, salt, or cornstarch to cover stain. Let set to absorb grease; brush off. Treat with liquid laundry detergent, Wash in the hottest water safe for the fabric.
April
Latex or Watercolor Paint on Carpeting
August
Mildew on Laundry
December
Red Wine on Carpeting
Combine 1/2 teaspoon mild white hand dish-washing liquid and 1 cup warm water. Using a clean sponge or white cotton cloth, dab at stain, working from outside in. (Don't overwet.) Blot with warm water. No luck? Dab with dry-cleaning solvent. Blot with paper towels; let dry.
* For stubborn stains. soak for up to 24 hours in a solution of 1 cup 3 percent hydrogen peroxide in 1 gallon water, then wash according to care label
Badly mildewed items (like baby bibs or wet towels) may be damaged beyond repair. Sunlight can sometimes help by killing the fungus. If the garment is bleach-safe, soak for up to 15 minutes in a mild solution of 1 ounce chlorine bleach to 1 gallon cool water. Rinse with 1/4 cup white household vinegar diluted in 1 gallon water, then rinse again with plain water. Launder as usual. Blot up liquid with paper towels. Working from outside in, dab on solution of 1/2 teaspoon mild white hand dishwashing liquid in Wine1 cup lukewarm water. No go? Combine 1/3 cup white vinegar and 2/3 cup water, dab on. Blot with water, pat dry.