Somebody once wrote a book entitled “When Two or Three are Gathered Together, Someone Spills Their Drink.” However, it’s not just drinks that get spilled at the table when families get together, with resulting stains on the tablecloth, the napkins, people’s shirts and fronts, and even onto trousers. Food seems to get all over the place – and that’s without a small baby in the family or food fights going on. And guess who has to wash it all off.
Some food stains are worse than others to get off. Here is the Hall of Shame for food stains – and how to deal with them.
1. Food stain: Banana. Most likely culprit: Babies – banana is excellent baby food, but the resulting spills, spits and sick-ups result in black-grey stains down the fronts of all those pale, pastel garments. Removal method: Some people swear by pre-wash stain treatments, others suggest using glycerine to treat the stain before washing, while others suggest bleaching the stain with lemon juice and leaving it in the sunlight. One of the more unusual suggestions for removing banana stains from baby clothes is to rub the banana pulp (before the stain sets) with the inside of a banana peel.
2. Food stain: Tomato sauce (including baked beans). Most likely culprit: Everybody, but especially the ones who prefer having sausage with their tomato sauce, not tomato sauce with their sausage. Removal method: Scrape off as much as possible, then rinse immediately under cold water. Using white vinegar or glycerine as a pre-treatment can also work. Also consider trying a biological washing powder and a hot wash (if the fabric can handle it).
3. Food stain: Curry, especially the ones with tumeric. Most likely culprit: Me – I love curry. Removal method: Scrape off the excess as soon as possible. Then pre-treat the stain with glycerine and wash using a warm wash (to break down the oils), preferably using biological washing powder.
4. Food stain: Beetroot. Most likely culprit: The ones who hate beetroot and remove it from their filled rolls… and put it down on the tablecloth (not again!). Removal method: Splash on a little soda water as soon as the spill happens, sponge off the excess and then wash (as soon as possible) as normal.
5. Food stain: Cherries. Most likely culprit: Everyone. Removal method: Soak in cold water as soon as possible. Use natural domestic cleaner like vinegar or lemon juice as a bleach (if you use lemon juice, put the item in the sun to let the bleach work), then wash, preferably in biological washing powder.
6. Food stain: Chewing gum. Most likely culprit: My pre-teenagers. Removal method: Ideally, banning chewing gum. Realistically, putting the item with the gum in the freezer and letting the gum harden. Then scrape off the hardened gum. Any residue can be tackled by blotting and soaking the area with meths or some other alcohol. You can also buy specialised chewing gum remover in some places.
7. Food stain: Egg. Most likely culprit: Children who like boiled eggs but haven’t realised that the further in you put your spoon, the higher the yolk rises; clumsy or novice cooks. Removal method: Scrub off excess egg. Then soak in cold water (hot water will set egg stains). Wash in cold water.
8. Food stain: Red wine. Most likely culprit: Those who overindulge. Removal method: Immediately, pour on white wine, soda water or salt to get the stain away from the fabric. If using white wine or soda water, blot up the excess – salt should be brushed away. Rinse well in cold water until the stain has gone. Don’t use soap, as this will set the stain.
9. Food stain: Tea. Most likely culprit: Chipped teapots. Removal method: Rub a paste of baking soda and water on the spot and leave it to sit for about quarter of an hour before washing.
10. Food stain: Soy sauce. Most likely culprit: My husband. Removal method: Rinse well under cold running water as soon as possible. Rub the fabric against itself until the stain as gone. Don’t use soap – it will set the stain – but you can use washing up detergent to move the stain along.
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