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Although some stains may be discreet and not very noticeable, a red stain is an eye-popper that will be impossible to miss. If you've made a faux pas and your white blouse or dress has been the victim of an unfortunate accident that involves red dye, red lipstick or red wine, you should be able to remove the stain if you act quickly. Armed with a little stain-removal knowhow and a bit of luck, your white clothing will soon look as good as new.
Removing Red Inks
Soak red ink stains in warm water and detergent, which also can be used to remove other unfortunate red stain incidents, including those involving red hair dye, red food coloring and red fabric dye. Put 1 quart warm water in a sink or large plastic basin, then stir in several drops of liquid dish detergent and 1 tbsp. ammonia.
Soak your white garment in the solution for about 15 minutes to loosen up the stain. Remove it from the water, then use a white cloth or a soft brush to scrub the stain away. Working on the wrong side of the fabric is the best approach. Don't scrub too hard or you could end up with a worn-out spot or a rip in addition to the stain.
Soak your garment for another 15 or 20 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water. If you can still see the red stain but the soaking and scrubbing helped, give the process another try. Sometimes a second effort will help do away with what's left of the stain.
Wash and dry your white garment if the red stain is gone, but read the washing and drying directions on its care tag first; some pieces of clothing should be washed in cool water or washed only by hand, and some should be hung up to dry. Don't put your garment in the dryer if the stain is still visible. Once the heat sets in the stain, you'll probably never be able to get it out.
Removing Red Lipstick
Moisten a white cloth with a bit of rubbing alcohol or ammonia. Blot the lipstick stain with the damp cloth. Don't rub, as rubbing will spread the stain and make it worse.
Try a grease-cutting liquid dish detergent if ammonia or rubbing alcohol doesn't do the trick. Place a few drops of the detergent on the stain, then wait about 10 minutes so the detergent can penetrate and loosen the stain. Blot the stain with a clean, which cloth, working from the outside of the stain toward the middle.
Wash and dry your white garment according to instructions on the tag. Be sure the lipstick stain is gone before you put your garment in the dryer. Otherwise, the heat will set the stain and you'll be stuck with it forever.
Removing Red Wine
If it's red wine (or red juice) that got your your clothes, mix up 1 quart warm water with 1 tbsp. white vinegar and 2 tsp. liquid dish detergent. Soak that stained white garment for about 15 minutes, then rinse it with warm water. You can also try soaking the garment for 30 minutes in 1 quart warm water and 1 tbsp. commercial pre-soak with enzymes.
Sponge the stain with rubbing alcohol if you can still see it after the detergent soak. Moisten the corner of a white cloth with rubbing alcohol, then blot the stain from the edges toward the middle.
Repeat either of the treatments of the stain remains. If the stain has disappeared, it's time to wash and dry the white garment as directed on the care tag.
If stain-removal techniques don't get the red out, you may be able to bleach the fabric. Check out the garment care label, as many fabrics are damaged by bleach. If you decide to use bleach, follow the directions on the container. Always dilute the bleach, as full-strength bleach weakens fibers.
Never combine bleach with ammonia or any other chemical cleaning products, as the combination can create toxic fumes.