When you get an alcohol stain on cloth materials, it can prove very difficult to remove if you don’t know what you’re doing. I worked in a bar for several years and I got just about every type of alcohol you can think of on my uniform which had to be clean and pressed for every shift. I’ve tried just about every way there is to remove alcohol stains from material and I’m going to share with you my favorite tactics for doing so successfully.
The first step is to identify the stain and the material. What type of alcohol was it? Beer? Wine? Did you spill it on your shirt or pants or maybe on a cloth purse while at the restaurant? Your favorite garment doesn’t have to become a wash rag for your car when you know how to clean that alcohol stain properly.
Your next step should be to check the label of the garment that has gotten the alcohol stain. You want to look for the care instructions first so that you know what you are dealing with and what materials the clothing is made from.
Be sure to read any warnings that may come on the label in regards to how you should not clean it. If the garment or material says “dry clean only” then you are best to leave it to the professionals and not try to remove the stain on your own. Get your garment to the dry cleaners as soon as possible for best results. If you need to wait some time before you can take it, try to blot the stain with a clean, white paper towel.
If you are able to wash it on your own, the first thing you want to do is wash it in the hottest water you can that is safe for the type of material. You want to use laundry detergent only, not a bar soap or kitchen soaps to remove the stain.
You also want to avoid any natural or organic soap because they will set with the stain and actually make it worse instead of pulling it out of the fabric.
If the stain is really bad, you will want to presoak it in an enzyme agent before you wash it regularly. Here’s how you can do that:
• Mix one tablespoon of an enzyme agent in a quart of water
• Stir the water and dip the fabric in
• Now stir the fabric around in the solution so that it all soaks in really well
• Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes and this will help lift the stain quickly
When effective, you should begin to see the color of the water change as the stain comes out of the fabric and into the solution. If it doesn’t seem to be working, you might try rubbing the stain a little to see if it helps break it up.
Always be sure there are no remnants of the stain that remain before you put it through the dryer or the heat will bring out the sugars of the alcohol and cause it to stain a brown spot. It’s also important that you don’t against what the fabric or garment says on its cleaning instructions. If you do, removing the stain could damage the fabric.
Avoid bleach unless the material or clothing was white in color to begin with and if the fabric is safe for bleach. Don’t allow it to soak for too long in the bleach or it can eat a hole into the fabric.