Clothing stains are a nuisance. And it gets costly when clothes are cleaned professionally or I have to buy a new dress because of the giant tomato sauce stain on my old favorite!

The best way to get rid of a stain for good is to treat it right away. That's why I have learned how to turn common household products into stain fighters.

How to Treat Stains Using Household Products

  • Beverages: I'll admit I'm clumsier than an elephant in an antique store. I can't count the number of times I've spilled wine, juice, chocolate milk or coffee all over my favorite shirt. To get rid of stains like these, I like to sprinkle a thin layer of regular table salt over the wet stain to help draw out any of the remaining moisture. After a few minutes, I rinse off the salt and launder as usual. For trickier stains, I mix together one part dishwashing liquid, one part white vinegar and one part water. Just be sure to dab the mixture onto the fabric rather than rub it in, which can actually spread the stain!
  • Ink: My four-year-old loves to draw – on paper, on the table, on the walls and on her nice church pants. To remove stains from a marker or pen, I completely saturate the spot with rubbing alcohol. I  soak cotton balls in alcohol and then dab at the stain. Once the stain is almost all gone, the clothing is ready to be washed.
  • Perspiration and Blood: I treat sweat and blood stains with an item found in almost anyone's medicine cabinet – aspirin! Crush up two or three aspirin and then dissolve completely in one cup of hot water. Pour the mixture over the stain, allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then launder as usual. If the stain is particularly tricky, mix together 1 oz. peroxide, 1 oz. ammonia, 1 oz. color-safe laundry detergent and 5 oz. water. After blotting the mixture onto the stain, it's ready to be washed.
  • Food Stains: My daughter – and sometimes my husband – tend to wear more of their meal than they eat. To get out that ketchup or spaghetti sauce stain, I splash hydrogen peroxide on a clean cloth and dab away. If the stain is more pronounced, pour the hydrogen peroxide directly onto the article of clothing. After allowing it to bubble for a few minutes, dry off any excess moisture with a towel, and wash as normal.
  • Grease and Rust: My husband often comes home with grease on his pants – and he works in an office! Before he can get dramatic and complain about his ruined dress pants, I come to the rescue with WD-40. Yep, it's not just for squeaky door hinges. Dab at the grease stain with WD-40 and allow it to set before washing. Another way to remove grease or rust stains is by sprinkling talcum powder or cornstarch all over the spot. After allowing it to absorb the stain, brush off the excess and throw it in the washer.
Stain Savvy: Frugal Fixes for Clothing Stains (Or: How Aspirin Can Stop a Stain Before It Turns into a Headache)