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How Can I Clean Pigment And Synthetic Stains?

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The various paints, pens, and crayons used around most homes produce marks that can be difficult to eradicate, especially since it is not always clear which dyes they contain, and therefore what will remove them.

Paint Stains

Every household will suffer at one time or another from spilled paint stains, especially when homes are undergoing redecoration.

Unfortunately, paint stains are often left until the end of the day. Dried paint stains can be removed satisfactorily, but you must be careful.

Artist’s Paints
Fresh stains on clothes: Blot water-based paint stains with paper towels, then wash under a tap with soap and water. Launder as usual. Dab at oil-based paints with turpentine, holding a white pad beneath the stain. Sponge off, then launder as usual.

Dried stains on clothes
Hold a pad under the stain. Dab at the mark with a stain remover or denatured alcohol. For oil-based paints, use a paint solvent (available from art shops).

Latex Paints
• Fresh stains on fabric: Blot immediately, sponge with cold water, then launder.
• Dried stains on fabric: Recently dried stains should respond to a commercial stain remover. Apply denatured alcohol to older stains (testing first), then launder as usual.

Spills on carpet: Using a sponge and cold water, dab at the stain, taking care not to spread it. Work from the outside inward. When clear, apply carpet shampoo.

Oil-Based Paints
On clothes Dab with turpentine, then sponge with cold water. You may need to repeat this several times. Do not launder until all the paint is gone – if you do, you will set the stain. Bad stains and acetate and viscose fabrics need professional treatment.

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Oil-based paint on carpet: Blot fresh spills with paper towels, then treat the area with carpet shampoo. For old stains, try using a commercial solvent, or snip off the top of the pile.

On Carpets
Basic treatment: Add a few drops of household ammonia to some denatured alcohol in a small container. Apply on a white pad repeating several times if necessary, then apply carpet shampoo.

On Clothes
• Colorfast fabrics: Soak in an enzymatic detergent solution, then launder the item as usual.
• Noncolorfast fabrics: Sponge with, or soak in, a hydrogen peroxide solution for 15 minutes.

Other Dye Stains
Laundry color run: If you accidentally include an item that runs in a load of wash, relaunder the whole load (but not the offending item!) using a commercial color-run remover instead of detergent.

Ballpoint Pen Ink Marks
These are particularly difficult stains to remove. For bad stains, it may be worth contacting the manufacturer for a remedy for the type of ink used, since the company may sell its own solvent. Dried ballpoint pen ink is especially difficult to get out, so act quickly.

stain help

On Fabric
Blotting the stain:Press paper towels against the stain to absorb as much of it as possible. Then apply denatured alcohol using a cotton swab.

On Wall Coverings
Treating immediately: Scrub vinyl wall coverings immediately with soap and water. Ordinary wall coverings may need patching .

On Other Surfaces
• Suede: Rub the stain with a fine emery cloth, emery board, or a commercial suede-cleaning block. Seek professional advice before cleaning valuable items.
• Vinyl surfaces: Treat marks on vinyl immediately by gently rubbing the area with a nail brush and soapy water. If the ink is allowed to remain on the vinyl surface, it will merge into the plasticizer and leave a permanent mark.

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Fountain Pen Ink Marks
Most fountain pen ink is washable, and it is worth making sure that the brand you use definitely is. Always screw on the cap of your pen firmly, especially when carrying it around with you. If you use ink from a bottle, rather than a cartridge, keep the top screwed on.

On Carpets
1. First dilute the stain by repeatedly sponging with clean water, or squirting with a soda siphon. Blot the area well with paper towels.
2. Make a hot, thick solution of soap flakes, and apply liberally on a white fabric pad. Let sit for 15 minutes.
3. Wipe off the solution. If the mark persists, repeat Step 2 until it disappears.

Dried Stains On Clothes
If a fountain pen ink stain remains after you have washed a garment, rub the mark with half a lemon, or squeeze lemon juice onto it.

Press the stained area between two pieces of white cotton cloth. Repeat as necessary, then rinse. Launder according to the fabric.

On Skin
Removing marks: Scrub with a nail brush dipped in vinegar and salt. Or rub marks with the inside of a banana skin.

Traditional Tip
Natural ink removers: Traditional wisdom recommends treating ink- stains with milk or tomato. Cover the stains with a little milk, or rub with the cut side of half a tomato. Rinse both treatments out well.