Cranberry juice has a tart, refreshing taste that hits the spot on a hot summer day, but if you spill a glass of the juice on your dress shirt, you might think the garment is beyond repair. The bright-red stain looks daunting, but if you act quickly, you have a chance to remove it. Once the cranberry stain dries, cleaning it becomes more difficult. You can still erase dried juice stains, though, with the help of some basic household supplies.
Combine 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar if you need to remove a fresh cranberry juice stain. Dip a towel or sponge in the mixture and squeeze out any excess liquid. Dab the cranberry juice stain with the wet towel or sponge. Continue blotting until you have soaked up as much moisture as possible. Repeat this process as needed to eliminate the stain.
Rinse the stained part of the garment with cool water if the stain has dried or is more than a few hours old. Pour 1/2 teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent into a large bowl, then add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Combine this mixture with 1 quart of cool water. Soak the stained garment in the mixture for 15 minutes, then rinse with clean water. Blot the stain with rubbing alcohol if it doesn't disappear after soaking. Rinse the shirt again, then wash as normal. If the shirt is colorfast, add about 3/4 cup of chlorine bleach to the load for extra stain-fighting power.
Tackle hard-to-remove cranberry stains by rubbing undiluted hydrogen peroxide into the stain with a stiff-bristle brush. Wait for 15 to 20 minutes, then dab the stain with a damp sponge or towel. When the stain has disappeared or lessened, blot the shirt with a clean, dry towel.
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- If your dress shirt is made of a delicate fabric like wool or silk, take it to a dry cleaner for professional stain removal.
- To test for colorfastness, moisten the tip of a towel with bleach, then dab a seam inside the shirt. If any color transfers from the shirt to the towel, the garment isn't colorfast. Do not launder the shirt with bleach.
- Don't wash other garments with the stained shirt if you're using bleach in the load. The bleach may permanently change the color of your other clothes.
- Always launder berry stains with detergent, not soap. Soap can cause these stains to set, making them harder to remove. Soap also has this effect on other tannin-type stains, such as tea, tomatoes, coffee and beer.
Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.