Whether you use your apron in the kitchen or in the garage, stains are bound to happen; that’s part of why you’re wearing the apron to begin with right?
Even so, you probably don’t want to wear an apron that is covered in muck and goo, so getting the stains out is important. Depending on what type of stain it is, it may come out with a good washing, but you won’t find out until you wash it. It’s much better to treat each stain equally, and doing so will ensure that your apron will last a long time. You probably spent a lot of time choosing the right fabric for your apron, so you should learn to take care of it properly.
1. Stop What You’re Doing
The first rule of treating any type of stain is to work fast. This means at least treating the stain right away. Don’t put it off and throw the apron in the laundry thinking you’ll treat it on laundry day. Take it off immediately and take those first steps now. This is one of the key ways of making sure the stain, no matter what it is, will be able to be washed out and leave no trace.
If you don’t have time to attend to your stain right away, at the very least, you should run the apron under cold water and remove as much of the stain as you possibly can. Make sure the water is cold; although your first instinct may be to use super hot water, this is almost always a mistake when it comes to stain removal.
2. Be Gentle
Before you use any kind of stain remover, you must first remove any solids that are on the apron, like tomatoes, thick glue, or other foodstuff. This should be done very gently, as pressing anything into the apron will only increase the likelihood of staining the garment. It’s important to get all solid stuff off the stain before proceeding, as this will form a crust that may be almost impossible to get off later.
When removing gunk from your apron, try your hardest not to make the stain bigger. It’s probably best to take it off while you do this.
3. Don’t Do the Obvious
There are many things people do to treat a stain immediately, and while these steps may work, depending on the stain, it could make it worse. Soap, for example, is often the first thing people reach for to help remove a stain before it sets, but this can often have the opposite effect. Don’t reach for laundry stain removers, bleach, soap, or any other “home remedy” type stain remover until you know what you’re dealing with.
It helps to learn how to deal with most common types of stains (grease, acid, blood, etc.) as well as the type of fabric so that when you do spill something, you know what to do and what not to do.
4. Read the Label
This seems obvious, but many people neglect to do it. If your apron has a label (and it should), read it before you do anything. While most heavy-duty aprons are designed to be stain resistant, depending on what yours is made of, there may be something you need to do that you aren’t thinking of. This is something that only takes a few seconds and can mean the difference between removing a stain completely and having a faint reminder of it for the life of the piece.
5. Do a Test
If you care about the look of your apron, do a small test with whatever you’re using to remove the stain. Just because the bottle of bleach says that it’s color safe doesn’t mean that it is for your particular garment. Ideally, you should test a small area on the back of the garment where it won’t be seen. Allow it to dry and make sure that it looks okay. There should be no dark spots, faded color, or other markings. If there are, you should consider another stain remover.
6. Don’t Rub the Fabric
Rubbing the fabric may seem like the best way to get the stain out, but the opposite is actually true. Instead, blot the stain lightly with a paper towel before proceeding to another step. Rubbing grounds the stain into the fabric, making it more difficult to remove. If you have difficulty getting rid of debris on the apron, try running it under cold water, but use a light touch.
Avoid using a towel that is dark colored or that will leave a lot of lint on your fabric. Instead, use a clean, lint free paper towel if possible.
7. Consider Washing the Garment Alone
Following the care instructions on the label, you should wash the apron by itself the first time you wash it. This prevents a fresh stain from getting on other items. This is especially true if the stain is large.
8. Avoid Hot Water For Most Stains
Hot water can set stains, especially those that are high in protein, including dairy, eggs, or blood. Instead, wash the apron in cold or warm water the first time to avoid applying too much heat to a new stain.
9. Let Your Apron Air Dry
After washing the first time, hang the apron and allow it to air dry instead of throwing it in the dryer, as this can set the stain permanently. By doing this, if the stain still hasn’t come out when the apron is dry, you still may have a fighting chance of getting it to come clean.
Also, if the stain is still there when the apron is dry, do not iron the apron. Heat will help set the stain, and ironing can decrease your chances of removing it.
10. Know When to Let Go
If after several attempts to remove a stain, it doesn’t seem to want to budge, it may be time to just deal with the fact that you’ll have a stain. Some things may never come out; this is just a fact of life. Be glad that you chose to wear an apron; otherwise your clothing would be stained. Only you can decide if an apron is too stained for future use; if so, it may be time to buy a new apron.
With that being said, some stains will fade over time, so you can continue washing a garment in the hopes of saving it. Some things, like bleach, chemicals, or anything else that strips color from the fabric will not change over time.
Even though an apron’s entire reason for existence is to prevent your clothing from getting stained, this doesn’t mean you will be happy when it happens. An unsightly stain, whether food, paint, or something else can be devastating.
Luckily, by taking the right steps immediately after a spill, you can prevent most things from leaving a permanent stain on a garment. Acting fast is the most important part of stain removal, as the longer it sits, the more difficult it is to remove. While these tips won’t get rid of every single thing, they will help prevent most stains and soils from turning your beautiful apron into something unsightly.