It happens to everyone eventually. You’re getting ready for a night out, and you reach for your favorite shirt or dress and immediately notice a nasty stain front and center. Panic sets in as you contemplate how to get it out in time for your reservations. While your chances of removing the stain in a last-minute pinch are slim, the good news is that there are many tough stains that dry cleaning can easily remove, even if you don’t have time to pre-treat them. Read on to learn the four common clothing stain categories that are no match for your local dry cleaning pro.

Can Dry Cleaning Remove Stains?

First things first, let’s discuss what makes dry cleaning different from your home washing routine. Dry cleaning is a process that uses specialized solvents instead of water to clean clothes. While this may seem like it would be harsher on your clothing, the truth is that it’s more gentle, especially on delicate fabrics like silk and wool, dry cleaning can extend the life of your clothing and keep them looking new for longer. In addition, dry cleaning helps to preserve the shape of your clothing items because there’s zero risk of shrinkage. But does dry cleaning remove stains? You betcha! When you bring a stained garment to your dry cleaner, make sure to point out the blemish and provide any information you can about what caused the stain, when it occurred, and what measures (if any) you’ve already taken towards removing it.

What Stains Can Dry Cleaning Tackle?

It’s a dangerous world out there for fabrics, and the potential for stains is never far away. Fortunately, there are some stains that dry cleaning can remove with ease. Here are the most common categories:

Oil-Based Stains

If you’ve ever tried removing an oil stain at home, we don’t have to tell you. It’s not easy. Why? We all know oil and water don’t mix, meaning water does little to loosen oil embedded in fabric. This is where the specialized solvents used in dry cleaning shine. They dissolve lipids and lift them away, leaving your clothes looking as good as new!

Common Oil-Based Stains Dry Cleaning Can Remove:

  • Cooking oil
  • Butter
  • Many greasy food stains
  • Skincare products (like lotion and some makeup types)
  • Motor oil
  • Petroleum jelly

Protein-Based Stains

We all face protein-based stains from time to time, and while you might be able to get them out with water at home, there’s always a risk of damaging the fabric or setting the stain if you’re not careful. This is where your dry cleaner can help. They use powerful enzyme treatments to “digest” proteins, breaking them down and rinsing them away.

Common Protein-Based Stains Dry Cleaning Can Remove:

  • Sweat
  • Blood
  • Dairy Products
  • Meat

Tannin Stains

Tannin is a naturally occurring substance found in many plants, and it can be a real pain to remove once embedded in your clothing. The key to eliminating a tannin stain is to act quickly. The longer they set in, the more difficult they are to remove. A tannin stain containing sugars or dairy can be even harder to eliminate and is often best left to a professional. Again, be sure to share every last detail about your stain with your dry cleaner.

Common Tannin-Based Stains Dry Cleaning Can Remove:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Fruit Juice
  • Soft Drinks
  • Red Wine
  • Alcohol
  • Grass

Dye Stains

Your fine clothing has nightmares about these most dreaded of all stains. Unfortunately, dye stains can be some of the most difficult to remove. However, your local dry cleaner has likely seen it all before. If anyone can remove dye stains, it’s your seasoned local dry cleaning pro.

Common Dye-based Stains Dry Cleaning Can Remove:

  • Pen Ink
  • Permanent Marker
  • Candy
  • Mustard
  • Turmeric

Combo Stains

It’s worth noting that some stains fall into more than one category. For example, butter stains consist of both oil and protein. Likewise, makeup stains are often made up of both oil and dye, and soft drink stains can be a combination of tannins and dyes. This is why we can’t stress enough the importance of giving your dry cleaner a detailed account of how the stain in question came to be.

Further Tips for Success

When it comes to keeping stains from getting the upper hand, there are a few things to keep in mind. First,

  1. Time is the enemy. Tackle stains immediately and, if possible, don’t allow them to dry out first.
  2. When stains strike, blot (never rub) with a clean, dry cloth to remove as much of the offending substance as possible.
  3. Be careful with home stain remedies. Some can actually make stains worse.
  4. Never put a garment in the dryer until you’re absolutely sure a stain is removed. Once you heat dry fabric stains, your chances of removing them or having them removed by a dry cleaner are next to zero.

Got Stains? ZIPS Cleaners Is in Your Corner!

ZIPS Cleaners is always here for you whether you’re facing tough stains that only dry cleaning can tackle or need your most delicate garments cared for by an expert you can trust. Even if you just need a break from washing and folding your own laundry, we’ve got you covered at an unbeatable price. At ZIPS, we’re always happy to answer any questions you may have about taking care of your wardrobe, so reach out to your local ZIPS Cleaners today!

Want more great advice on keeping your wardrobe looking great? Check out ZIPS Tips!