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How to Treat 3 Common Summer Stains


There are a lot of good things that come with summertime, like trips to the beach, ice cream treats, and summer barbecues. However, that also means that there are a lot of chances to stain your clothes this season. Sunscreen, ice cream, and mustard are just some of the things that can leave unsightly stains on your favorite clothes. Here are some tips that can help you treat some of the most common and stubborn summer stains.


Sunscreen Stains

Sunscreen stains can look pretty bad – they appear greasy and blotchy and show up on both whites and colors. However, they’re easy to take care of by pretreating with either liquid or powder laundry detergent. Just pour some of the liquid onto the stain, or make a paste by mixing the powdered detergent with a small amount of water and apply it to the stain. Let the garment sit for at least 30 minutes before washing. 

If you have hard water, you’ll need to wash the garment with water that’s been treated with a water softener. Otherwise, elements in the water can react with the sunscreen residue to create brown stains that resemble rust. 


Chocolate Ice Cream Stains

There’s nothing quite like an ice cream cone when you’re outside on a hot summer day. But the great taste comes with an unpleasant tradeoff – ugly brown stains on your clothing. To get rid of an ice cream stain, start by scraping off any excess ice cream from the garment. Run the stained area under cold water. If you’re near a bathroom, you can apply some hand soap to the stain. Rub it in with your fingers and rinse again with cold water.  

When you get home, put the clothing straight into the washing machine with laundry detergent. Wash the ice cream stained clothing in cold water and check to be sure that the stain is gone before drying. If there’s still a stain, try soaking the garment in a small bowl or bucket of water and laundry detergent before washing again. 


Mustard Stains

Hot dogs and hamburgers taste great at a barbecue, but what about that yellow stain on your shirt from where the mustard dripped off of your food? Mustard stains can be tricky, but if you have alcohol or lighter fluid handy, you can get that stain out. 

Spray or drop a small amount of lighter fluid to the stain, then tap the area with the bristles of a tamping brush. Set the garment on top of a clean towel and flush the stain with water. If there is still any yellow remaining, you can apply a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to the area, then apply a few drops of ammonia. Flush it again with water, and add a few drops of vinegar to the stained area. Rinse with water one more time before laundering the garment.