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How to Remove the Most-Annoying Food Stains from Clothes

Not all stains are created equal — arm yourself with these effective (and easy) techniques to save your clothes from drips and spills.
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Stain Removal 101

If you like to cook and eat (and who doesn't?), fighting food stains is a fact of life. Though each type of stain calls for a different removal technique, all do have some rules in common. First, time is of the essence. You'll need to act quickly for the best chance of making your clothes look like new. Also, if you're worried about damaging the fabric, test your treatment in an inconspicuous spot. Finally, heed tags that say "dry clean only," and leave that dirty work to the pros. Otherwise, try these at-home remedies — you probably already have all of the stuff you need to banish those spots.

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No one said berry picking was a clean activity. Lay the fabric over a large bowl. Pour boiling hot water (straight from a tea kettle works) through the fabric, taking care not to burn yourself. This should remove most of the stain, but some color might linger. Fight it by rinsing and dabbing the stain with white vinegar and soaking in cold water before laundering.

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Chocolate Milk

This sweet treat can certainly leave a mark. Dilute an enzyme detergent (basically any formula that claims stain-fighting qualities) with water, and gently sponge it into the stain. Let stand for about 30 minutes, then rinse and repeat as needed.

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Coffee & Tea

Rinse and dab these annoying early morning stains with a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water. Repeat until you can't remove any more. If a spot remains, treat with a stain stick and then launder as usual.

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