You woke up on the right side of the bed. Your finger managed to stay clear of the snooze button. You treated yourself to a hearty breakfast, fully prepared to take the day by storm. And then, as you maneuvered your vehicle through rush-hour traffic, it happened. The dreaded coffee spill. Time slowed as you watched the muddy-brown droplets make contact with your pristine, white shirt. The day had been soiled.
The ironic part? You were on your way to open the doors of your newly minted laundromat and still don’t have a clue how you should address your coffee-spotted shirt. The plot thickens.
Operating a successful laundromat takes more than offering competitive prices and the latest, greatest laundry supplies (although that's a huge part of it). It's about helping your customers solve problems they face on a daily basis. When a customer approaches you and asks how to remove a certain species of stain, you should be ready to rhapsodize about the many ways they can wash their stains away.
Here are eight of the most common stains you'll come across and how to combat them with common household items. Note: Every one of these stain remedies is more effective the earlier the stain is addressed and requires laundering after its application.
Coffee < Baking Soda
Sipping back a cup of joe has become a ubiquitous habit of the working world. Couple a brimming cup of coffee with a bumpy road and it’s all but game over. Unless, that is, you have access to baking soda. Sprinkle some baking soda over the stain and soak it in a clean coffee mug, or other vessel, with hot water. Scrub the stain thoroughly as it’s drenching in the water and baking soda mixture. Repeat if necessary.
Ink < Milk
Ink stains can sneak up on you when you least expect it. They hardly ever happen with a pen in hand. Instead, forgotten pens wait in pockets for their big moment in the washer or dryer. We’ve all been there, it’s a day-ruiner. If you’re confronted with an ink stain, prescribe an overnight milk bath for the afflicted item of clothing. After its overnight soak, it’s ready for the washer.
Grass < Vinegar
Grass smudges are the necessary evils of toddlers playing in the backyard, a casual pick-up football game, or misstepping in the garden. They happen to the best of us. So instead of futily buffing them out with a washcloth and water, apply some vinegar and scrub the green clean.
Red Wine < White Wine
Next time you’re at a dinner party and need some emergency red wine removal tactic, head back to the liquor shelf, grab a bottle of white wine and club soda. Gently apply the mixture to the scene of the stain with a cloth. Put it through the typical laundering process once thoroughly soaked.
Grease < Soda
Grease stains are among the most difficult and frustrating stains of them all. Once a grease stain plants its roots, it’s near impossible to get the original coloring of your clothing back. Fear not. Procure a can of Coca Cola and soak the grease stain in it while scrubbing. Trace amounts of carbonic and phosphoric acids present in the Coke will eradicate the grease and leave your clothes looking good as new.
Sweat < Lemons
While these stains don’t afflict everyone, those who frequent the gym or spend time on the track are all too familiar with the off-coloring effects of sweat stains. To treat them, mix an equal volume of lemon juice and water together into one solvent and vigorously scrub the affected areas.
Oil < Chalk
Oil stains are up there with grease stains on the food chain of impossibly problematic stains to remove. Try to catch the stain when it’s still fresh and hasn’t fully permeated the garment yet. Blot as much of the oil off with paper towel as possible and find a stick of white, blackboard chalk. Press deeply and stroke the stain from its center to its borders until fully covered. Throw it in your next load of laundry once completely covered.
Blood < WD-40
If your favorite t-shirt has suffered a blood stain (yikes!), don’t fret, WD-40 can erase it. Simply spread the blemished area of fabric out, careful to not overstretch it, and spray it down for three to five seconds. Rinse the WD-40 off afterwards and wash the article of clothing in your next laundry load.
In some cases, arming yourself with expertise can be just as handy as an arsenal of laundry supplies. A thorough understanding of stain antidotes can save your customers time, stress, and give them new, preventative measures to use in future clothing crises. Don’t let a stain on an outfit stain an entire day.