Now that the warm weather is here, it's time to enjoy al fresco afternoons with wine and cheese. Yet, too often a great outdoor dining experience is ruined by the little spills that mark up your new blouse or pants. Whether you're exploring a new city, enjoying the outdoors or savoring a summer dessert, don't sweat the small stains that you may encounter during the summer with our on-the-go DIY cheat sheet to help you along the way.
Food and drink
Whether it's a box of French macarons, fresh blueberry muffins or chocolate ice cream, summer is the time to indulge in your favorite treats. And it's no surprise that food and drinks can lead to some of the most common summer stains.
Made a mess during Sunday brunch? No worries. Soak up the stain with a napkin, ask your server for some club soda, and lightly dab the stained area. You can take common summer fabrics such as cotton, corduroy or linen to the bathroom to be washed with cold water and soap (this works for iced coffee stains too). For more delicate fabrics, such as silk or chiffon, take them to a professional dry cleaner for the best care.
Since it's also barbecue season, mishaps with ribs or burgers are bound to happen. For fresh stains, act quickly by scraping off any sauce on the fabric. Follow up by soaking the stained area in water. You can apply the same tactic for ice cream spills: rinse and repeat under cool water as necessary. For more stubborn stains, follow up with a professional cleaning.
Sunscreen, sweat and deodorant
You might take advantage of the great weather by lounging at the lake or hanging out on the beach, in which case SPF is a must. If you get some on your clothing, apply pressure with a clean towel to soak up the product and add liquid detergent before laundering as usual.
While you may look great in that poplin sundress or white linen shirt, embarrassing sweat stains can foil your outfit—especially if you're wearing summer whites. To help preempt this issue, make sure you choose an aluminum-free (or low-aluminum) antiperspirant, which won't leave a mark. If your deodorant does leave an unwelcome blemish, a quick cleaning hack is to use fabric softener sheets to remove any traces by rubbing one on the affected area. For delicate fabrics like rayon, blot the area with some water and soap before gently hand washing.
Try as we might, some sweat stains will remain. And, they tend to get darker over time becuase of continued heat and sunlight. It's best to try to prevent them before they occur!
Grass and dirt
Whether you're hiking the Grand Canyon, having a picnic in Central Park or enjoying a game of frisbee in your backyard, you might encounter a few grass or dirt stains—not too surprising if you're the outdoors type. For dirt stains, apply some dishwashing soap right away before tossing the affected article in the laundry. For shoes caked in dirt and grass, this stubborn stain can be easily removed by rubbing it with a damp cloth soaked in soapy warm water. Grass stains on clothing, however, can be extremely difficult to remove, so if you find yourself with one, we recommend a trip as soon as possible to a professional.
If all else fails, get thee to a professional dry cleaner!
Worried about keeping your swimwear in tip-top shape? We've got you covered with our guide to cleaning and preserving swimsuits.
Photos: freestocks.org, Brooke Lark, Nadia Jamnik, Kyle Ryan