In addition to bringing your items to us because you love the clean crisp appearance of them when you get them back, you bring your items to us because you’ve got a stain that professional help to remove. Our stain specialists are amazing and work wonders on all sorts of stains for you and our customers. But, if you dare to tackle stains at home, here’s our tips.

DON’T WAIT: All stains should be removed before they have time to set. Time and heat can set stains. Even a professional cleaner will have trouble getting the stain out if he or she doesn’t receive the garment soon after the stain occurred.

INVISIBLE STAINS: If you spill juice or soda on a fabric, flush it out immediately with water – even though the stain is invisible. Many fruit juices and drinks disappear into the fabric and leave no visible stain, though the sugars are deposited there. If you bring them in to the dry cleaner make sure you point out the area where you spilled the invisible (also called “clear”) stains. The normal dry cleaning process doesn’t automatically dissolve them. Then, when the item is heated, the stain turns brown and the mark is there forever.

DELICATE FABRICS: Do not attempt home stain removal on leather, suede, furs, vinyl, fabrics that are heavily sized like taffeta and organdy, nets, satins, and those with fugitive colors. These all require special handling and a trained professional will know what to do to best clean and remove stains from these items.

RUST STAINS: Approach this type of stain with great care. Rust removers are sold at grocery stores. Use them only on washable garments or fabrics so they can be laundered immediately afterward. Laundering will rinse out the rust remover. If it is not removed, it can burn the skin. Do not use a rust remover on any fabric containing metallic threads.

TOUGH STAINS: Some stains don’t lend themselves to home methods. Most medicine stains, fingernail polish, adhesives, and paint are difficult to remove and should be taken to a professional cleaner.

BLEACHING: Bleaching is a last resort if the stain does not respond to either dry-side or wetside measures. Ordinary 3 percent hydrogen peroxide bleach, available at grocery and drug stores, is the easiest to use. But test the bleach first on an unexposed seam or a sample of the material. Pour some bleach on the sample piece of fabric. Wait five minutes for a reaction. Many white fabrics contain an optical brightener that will turn yellow when bleached. Very bright-colored fabrics may contain optical brightening agents as well; a bleach may cause these colors to become dull.

The best chance your item has of looking like new is to take it to a professional cleaner and let your dry cleaner know exactly what caused the stain so it can be treated with the proper cleaning tools.

– S.O.