The Closet

4 DIY Tricks for Tackling Stains During Wedding Season

Anything and everything can happen at a wedding, and that includes stains on your most polished attire. While proper attention from a dry cleaning service is the only way to keep everything looking as good as new, there are a few things you can do to help yourself in a pinch. Whether it's a red wine spill or a mishap with an amuse-bouche, we've got you covered with our cheat sheet of on-the-go treatments for whatever the situation may be. Keep calm and blot away.


If the wedding entrée leaves a lasting impression on you, that's a sign of success. But if it leaves a lasting impression on your clothes, that's a different story. For the occasions when your garment encounters a little mess, handle the situation with good old soap and cold water.

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Head to the bathroom to remove the stain. Start by absorbing as much of the stain as possible with a damp towel or paper towel - be sure to use sustained pressure on all parts of the stain. For delicate, dry clean–only items like silk or acetate, alternate between dabbing with a damp and dry napkin to treat the stain before taking it to a professional cleaner.

Red Wine

This classic stain requires a more complex cleaning solution: blot, don't rub. Start by grabbing a napkin or towel and using it to soak up as much of the wine as you can. Proceed to wash out with warm water. Alternatively, another neat trick is to use some club soda (which should be easily available at the bar) to treat the stain. Put some club soda on the stain, and then use a clean napkin or towel to soak up the club soda off your outfit. 

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Tea or Coffee

These caffeinated favorites are ideal for starting the day, or as a digestif at the end of a good meal. Yet tea and coffee also make the most common and most difficult-to-remove stains. If this happens, don't panic. Blot the excess liquid, then rinse with cold water and find a napkin or towel to absorb the excess water from your clothes.. If the stain still persists, adding a little hand soap is good in a pinch.

Take care to avoid using a dryer or applying any heat as it may allow the stain to set; air dry the fabric instead, and do so away from sunlight and humidity. For the most stubborn stains, use a little soap (liquid, not bar) for a clean slate. For delicate fabrics, entrust your pieces to a professional instead of trying a DIY tactic (which might make it worse). Remember that fresh stains are the easiest to treat—so be quick!


Left a smudge of makeup on your outfit? Not to worry! For foundation, first scrape off any remaining product with a spoon. Next, blot the area with a damp paper towel. Try to find some rubbing alcohol or dish washing liquid - these are your go-tos (if you're in luck, the kitchen should have these common substances). Just make sure to dilute the dish washing liquid (six parts water, one part cleaner) when working with delicate fabrics like taffeta and silk.

Oil-based cleansers, such as dish soap, work well for red lipstick. Alternatively, try dabbing with a baby wipe or going back to club soda. Always do a patch test for finer fabrics, as the color may transfer. Be patient when tackling your stains and remember that it's an iterative process; work in small layers and with a tiny amount of liquid for best results.

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Wedding are full of surprises. Some can be welcome ones that create lasting memories, while others can leave a less desirable mark. The most important thing is to do what you can right away, but know that a dry cleaning service can provide support after the night is over. After all, nothing should get in the way of you showing off that killer wedding outfit (and those killer dance moves, too).


Photos:, Anastasia Zhenina, Serge Esteve, GraphicStock, Manu Camargo