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Fuzzy Sweaters

Q. I just recently subscribed to this newsletter. How can you get rid of fuzz-balls on your sweater? I have tried the lint-removers, but they don’t seem to work. Do you have any suggestions? Lynn

A.  I have always used a disposable razor to take fuzz balls off my sweaters and it works great and you can use the same razor again and again! Just light run the razor along the sweater and the fuzz balls come right off! Joanne B

A.  Absolute best solution is to get and use a battery-powered sweater shaver. It takes a little time, but it is marvelous. Janet

A.  The best technique I’ve found to "de-ball" sweaters and sweatshirts is SHAVE it! After a razor has been used, it generally just gets thrown away anyhow, so use it to shave the fuzz off those sweaters and other garments. 

A.  A related tip: When de-linting I will generally take a roll of tape (such as duct tape or masking tape) pull the tape out so it fits around the entire roll with the sticky side out, and then roll it over the linted garment. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it works!  Joseph

Removing Ink From Furniture

Q. I found my dog had slept on the sofa with a pen, cap off, and it bled all over the seat. Is there any way, after sitting for a week, to remove it? Thanks, Sara

If this is a fabric sofa, non-aerosol hair spray and a toothbrush will take the stain out. Just remember after removing the stain to go over the spot with water to prevent a hair spray stain. Melissa

Hairspray gets ink out of fabrics, I would try praying it on and blotting gently, follow with an upholstery cleaner. Atela

We had this happen on our beige rug. I was able to remove most of it with hair spray. Soak (really soak!!!) the stain with hair spray and BLOT like crazy, repeat and repeat and repeat. It really does work. Gonzo sells a stain remover (I get it at Joann’s Fabrics) that will take out ANYTHING. It’s great stuff. I know it will work on ink because I used it on a white blouse. Good luck  Linda

I had an ink pen leak on my sofa once and I took hair spray a saturated it than did some dabbing with a rag.  It got most of it out after a couple times of doing this than I washed the cushion cover in the wash.  It is gone now.  If the cushion cover don’t come off, that is something and this trick might work but using a carpet shampooer with an attachment. Good luck Kellie

In your question on ink stains, hairspray is one of my favorites to use. It will take ink off hard surfaces like wood and metal as well as fabric. If your cushion has a zipper, hold a wad of paper towels inside underneath the ink stain. Spray the hairspray on the outside and also blot on the outside with more paper towels. You will need to repeat until the stain is gone. If you can take the cover off the cushion, you can use de-natured alcohol in the same manner as the hairspray and when the stain is neutralized, you can dip the cover in a solution of borax and Fells Naptha soap in warm water to remove the alcohol.  Crystal

Removing Pink From A Sweater

Q. Help! Due to a laundering "accident", one of my favorite black and white sweaters is now black and "pink", having been put in the wash with a burgundy dress. OOPS! Even though I only paid $1 for it at a garage sale, I can’t bear to throw it out until I am absolutely certain nothing can be done. I have tried rewashing it a few times with no results…does anyone have any ideas how I can get the pink out (I am willing to try something a little risky, since nothing else has worked so far). Thanks! Karen M.

I did the same thing to a blue and white sweater. I soaked it in the sink in water with dishwasher soap in it. It took a few times because I didn’t know how much soap to use but the pink eventually came out. I never dried it in the dryer until it all came out. the only catch may be that if all of the strands are not colorfast it may lighten them.  Jo. K.

Rit makes a product specifically to use in the washer to remove dye "bleeds".  It is usually with the cleaning products at my Wal-Mart; there’s a whole section devoted to "special" stains.  Rit makes one and also, there’s another company that makes a dye remover that’s specifically for this problem.  Good luck! Lauryi K.

I heard recently that using a tablet that cleans dentures will whiten and take stains out. I’ve never tried it myself (yet). Put the item in water and add the tablet, when the fizzing stops – it’s done!! I don’t think this would hurt the black color, so it may be worth a try. Hope it works!!  Shirley W.

I have used the sun to remove stains from white clothes – the sun has natural bleaching properties. As a final straw, I would suggest setting the sweater in the sun for a few days!  Tyler & Stacy 

This helped with a son’s favorite concert shirt that turned pink in the wash. Take a 5 gallon bucket or large pot that won’t leak ( tub leaks don’t use it need long time) add water with some dishwasher liquid (electrosol etc) and let the object soak for about 12 to 24 hours. I forgot his for a day so that may have helped . Rinse in tub and check to see if needs to soak more. repeat with fresh water and soap if necessary. then wash and dry ( not in dryer will set the dye that has run if not all out ) .  Hope this helps it work with the concert shirt came out like new.  Siobhanb

Have you tried the Dye Magnet that they sell at various stores? I have seen them at WalMart and I have bought one at JoAnn Fabrics. I have used it successfully to remove colors. Costs around $7.00 but can be used for up to about 50 wash loads. I know a lot of quitters who use it for bleeding fabrics.  G. Looker

The most important tip for removing any stain is DON’T APPLY HEAT.  You mentioned that you tried washing your stained dress several times.  If you dried it in the drier between washings, your dress probably can’t be saved. Otherwise, get a RIT stain removal package, which you will find where they sell RIT dyes. It is perfect for removing colors that have bled from another clothing item in your wash.  -Holly

Wallmart carries a product that removes bleeding from fabric. One load worth costs about a dollar. I was amazed-I discovered pink bleeding on a black and white shirt after the item had been in the dryer on "microwave". I really didn’t expect it to work. Somehow, the stuff removed the red dye but didn’t affect the black at all. When you first add the powder to the wash, however, the water turns bright purple-I really thought I’d ruined the garment but it worked great.

There is a product called Goo Gone that is wonderful. It removed my son’s crayon artwork off my kitchen wall and claims to remove candle wax from all kinds of surfaces. It is great for all kinds of messes.  Stephanie M.

I too had a daughter who got nail polish on a dress. Although it was not beige it still was necessary to get it out as it was a good dress.  This is what I did….. Take paper toweling and place behind the fabric where the stain is.  Next take a cotton ball or paper toweling with nail polish remover and BLOT the polish out. This works really well. Launder the item as usual.  Hope this helps.  Monica R.

Cleaning Rayon Fabric

Q.     I have a problem with my rayon fabric turning colors when I take it to the dry cleaners.  I have tried Dryel at home and still my fabrics get a red or pink tinge to it that I cannot get to come out.  I would stop buying rayon clothing, but I love the way it feels.  Does anyone know how to get this reddish cast out of my dresses, or are they just ruined?  If there isn’t anything I can do to get it out, is there anything I can do to avoid this from happening in the future?  Thanks a lot, Dianne H

I just hand wash my Rayon garments in cold water.  I use just a drop of mild detergent, and rinse.  I dry them on the line and needs virtually no ironing.   I realize the tag says ‘Dry Clean Only’ but I have not had any problems with Rayon.  Bob & Lorrain

I have never taken rayon to the dry cleaners. Always washed it in a natural liquid detergent, called Sunshine Concentrat e.  I love this product.  Use it for so many things around the house.  My clothing look new so much longer by not using chemical detergents which I think are designed to wear your clothes out and discolor them.  Maybe the clothing industry is in with the detergent industry?  LOL  Teresa

Ink On Expensive Suit

Q. Please help me!! I have a very expensive suit (Jones New York) light color – sort of manila envelope shade that somehow has ink stains on one of the sleeves. I have tried everything under the sun, including the manufacturer suggestions but nothing has worked. If any of your readers may have some ideas as to how to get rid of these stains, I would really appreciate it. The dry cleaners won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. HELP!  –Patricia

I had a similar problem and then found a product called gonzo at the supermarket.  I had never heard of it, but decided that I would try it.  It comes in a small white bottle (maybe 4 oz.) with red lettering and costs around $1.89 (that’s what it was in NH!).  I was amazed.  My pants looked great when I was done.  There is some risk with anything you try, but I figured I couldn’t loose since my pants were ruined anyway!  I also found this to be a great stain remover for coffee and tea.  Good Luck.    Marijo from NH

I would suggest to the lady to try putting hair spray on her ink stain let it sit and try again then proceed with washing.  I have also applied laundry detergent through out the day let it dry then reapply wash then reapplied it again and it came out too.  Of course this is if it was not dried in a dryer yet!!

Guaranteed to remove ink stains IF you haven’t done too much else to them.  Spray them well with an AEROSOL hair spray.  Saturate the stain.  Let it set a few seconds, then blot blot blot with a damp cloth.  The stain should come out, then you can have the suit cleaned as usual to remove the water stain.  This may take more than one spraying with the hair spray and blotting, but they will come out. This works for lipstick stains as well.  Lauryi

I used to work in Reno and got black India ink on a brand new white blouse I was sick blouse was expensive($50.00) I used canned cream (carnation or pet) and used the back of a spoon to rub this into the stain and work it out. Repeat until gone wash as usual. It takes time but it does work.   Barbara

Many years ago I worked for Kleinfelds Bridal store (one of the most distinguished gown stores in the US) and we learned that if you got ink on the gown your get pump hairspray and gauze and it takes it right off.  Try it, it can’t hurt and may help depending how long that stain is there.

OXICLEAN – I have found this worked on things the cleaners gave up on.  It worked a miracle for me on a wonderful white suit that was washable.

Patricia, it may be too late for this suit but I have a suggestion that has saved many of my husband’s shirts and you’ve got nothing to lose at this point.  As soon as I notice the ink, I soak the spot in milk.  Sometimes it takes overnight so be patient and rub the stains every now and then.  The fat content of the milk doesn’t make a difference and I’ve even used re-consituted powdered milk.  Good luck.  Debbie

Try Simple Green on these ink spots. I was able to remove ink stains from a Pilot Rolling Ball pen from a light-blue colored expensive suit jacket.   I used concentrated Simple Green and a clean, smooth,  thin cotton rag (men’s cotton undershirts). Erda

Depending on the type of ink, these two suggestions may work:  There’s a product called Wink.  You can find it at most grocery stores.  It’s a small pink and white tube and the product is specifically designed to remove ink.  If that doesn’t work, you can go onto the web and find a product called Soilove.  It is available in grocery stores on the west coast but only by mail otherwise.  You will have to work the ink out slowly over several soakings, but I have seen this stuff take out even old, dried set-in stains. –Kamia

Ink can be gotten out of fabric by soaking in milk. I do not know if it will work on your garment due to you already trying everything under the sun.  It is worth a try though.  You are right, a cleaners will not guarantee getting out ink spots. –Good Luck

Have you tried spraying on Hair spray make sure you have a cloth on the back side so that it doesn’t bleed thru. then rub on it to remove the ink.

I have found a wonderful product in my area that gets out just about any and EVERY stain in our house (and with a new litter of puppies, you can imagine how many stains might occur).  It is called OXICLEAN.  You can find it at Walgreens, Walmart, Sam’s Club and even on TV!!  The big tub on TV is $19 which sounds a little pricey til you realized that you only need to mix a little of it (about a tablespoon) in a quart of water for most stains. This stuff got cherry jello out of my off-white carpet after the stain had been there for over a year!!!!!  I also toss a scoop in the wash as a safe (and less expensive) alternative to chlorine bleach.  I know this sounds like a commercial for the stuff, but I LOVE IT!!!!! –Kathy

If they are ballpoint ink spots, try spraying hair spray on them and wash immediently as the ink dissolves.  tonik

Removing Dog Hair

Q. I’ve got a dog that sheds quite a bit. I’ve tried the "Swiffer Sweepers", but they don’t pick up the hair like I’d hoped. Can someone give me a tip for picking up all this hair efficiently? I have hardwood and tile floors. – J

I am not sure how to help you pick it up but may I can help it not fall out so much put 1 teaspoon of olive oil in you dogs food per day and believe me it help the dog not shed so much  BM.

A damp sponge (or sponge mop) worked great for us when we had a dog.  Pat

We have a cat who also sheds quite a bit, I’ve found that the best way to keep up with the shedding fur is to use our vacuum on the lowest possible setting. We also have hardwood floors and this works quite well. Also, if you then use a swiffer after vacuuming I find it works well at picking up the residual fine hairs. Hope this helps. Hannah

I also have hardwood floors and a dog that sheds.  I know if can be frustrating dealing with dog hair on a daily basis.  I was give a small broom vacuum from a friend that did not use it (she had carpet) and I have found that it works better than anything for our situation.  It is very light weight and not cumbersome to drag out like a heavy conventional vacuum.  I have priced these broom vacs in stores and found them to be a reasonable $25.00 – $40.00, though mine was free.  I would recommend a cordless, rechargeable style for even more ease in quick cleaning.  Ours has a cord and it does not reach very far, therefore it takes more time to plug and unplug (I have child-proof sockets) and I am still considering buying a cordless vac. ( I am trying to be frugal and use the one I was given.) These vacuums do not replace regular rug vacuums, they don’t pick up heavier items, but have worked well and quickly with dog hair.  Stod.

The best way I know to pick up a lot more dust and dog hair when sweeping is a trick I learned from a VERY old housekeeping book.   Go outside and pick up some freshly mowed grass clippings or damp leaves (a couple of handfuls).  Sprinkle them all over your kitchen floor.  Then sweep.   The dampness from the grass will stick to more dust and dog hair than sweeping alone, and it will show you very clearly where you missed.   This also helps keep the dust from landing on the furniture to dust off later. Lorraine

I just vacuum up my dog’s hair on my tile and wood floors.  Betsy.

I heard about someone who trains his dogs from puppy hood to accept being vacuumed — stop it at the source!  This is not an option for me. I have 2 fuzzy, shedding dogs & 2 cats, and I have found that the rubber brooms that are being sold now really do work! The rubber doesn’t generate a lot of static electricity, so the hair rolls up almost like a piece of rope, and it doesn’t tend to drift the way it does when using an ordinary broom. I also use the rubber broom for getting the pet hair off of upholstery and carpets. (A very slightly damp sponge is also good for this.) The broom is washable, and has an adjustable handle. I got my broom on sale, with a coupon, at a local discount drugstore for less than $10. I put the hair on the compost pile; sometimes birds take it from there for nesting material, and the dog smell discourages other animals from getting near the compost or the garden.  Suzanna

Shedding dogs, cats and even molting pet birds litter our floors nearly year round! Grooming the 4 legged friends, outdoors with old rubber gloves helps the shedding and indoors I lightly spritz my swifter cloth ( or old rag or sock, those refills are so expensive!) with water, wait 5 minutes and then dust the floors. A bit of moisture seems to make cloth work better, and the rubberized mat sheets that come with some of the duster units work the best!  Renn

My dog also has a shedding problem and I could never seem to stay ahead of it until my vet recommended a 3M Lint Roller. I just gently roll the roller over the dogs coat and it picks up any loose hair. At first my dog was afraid but now that he is used to it he loves it. I usually use about 4 sheets at a time and by getting the loose hair before it falls off I don’t have a mess. I Hope it works for your dog. Kathy

Removing Dark Eye Makeup From Washcloths

Q. I’m having a terrible time removing dark eye make-up stains from light colored terry cloth washcloths. I’ve tried a lot of different things…desolvit, bleach, goop, spray ‘n wash, dishwasher powder, soaking all night…nothing seems to work ..any suggestions? – Patty

For Patty’s response, try using OxiClean and letting them soak overnight.  If you can make it into a paste, then scrub into the stains with an old toothbrush that will work even better.   I have even gotten old make-up stains out this method – Debi

Have you tried "oxyclean" or "Zout"…I love the stuff. I work in a Chiropractor’s office and his towels looked awful before I washed them. I didn’t need softener (which by the way, locks in stains by coating them with silica) try soaking with oxyclean then spot treat with Zout, finally wash them like you normally do. good luck – BB

I had the same problem. I love clean white washcloths but everyone of mine were yellowish-gray in the middle from make up stains. I tried everything from soaking in bleach, Oxyclean which worked on brightening all of my other whites, enzyme detergents, and every kind of spot remover on the market. Absolutely nothing removed the stains. Finally I read an article in Martha Stewart magazine that made perfect sense. The article recommended using a dark cloth for makeup removal only. I went to a discount outlet and bought cheap (2 for a dollar) hunter green washcloths. I keep them in my makeup drawer next to the makeup remover cream. My white wash cloths are spared and absolutely nothing shows on the green ones. Of course Martha embroiders her with "Makeup Only" so her guest will know what they are for. I didn’t bother, because I know what they are for and I’m the only one who uses them. Best regards – Joyce

I use Krud Kutter (available at Home Depot and Paint Stores) to get mascara off of my yellow velour hand towels. Krud Kutter works on just about any surface and any stain without damaging it – Kay

Fingernail Polish On Clothing

Q.     I painted my daughters fingernails the other day and before they were dry she tried to straighten up her dress. Now there is pink nail polish all over the back of her beige colored dress. I think if I use polish remover, it will take the color out of the dress. I hate for it to be a loss; it was a gift and she has only worn it once. Please help! K.P.

I too had a daughter who got nail polish on a dress. Although it was not beige it still was necessary to get it out as it was a good dress.  This is what I did… Take paper towelling and place behind the fabric where the stain is.  Next take a cotton ball or paper towelling with nail polish remover and BLOT the polish out. This works really well. Launder the item as  usual. Hope this helps.  Monica R.

Same thing happened to me. I used Shaklee Basic H. Soaked it in that with water and it will take it out. My husband washed a pink slack outfit I borrowed from a friend with something blue and it turned lilac. But I soaked it in the Shaklee Basic H and it came out looking like brand new. Amazing, but it works. Myra

How To Remove Acrylic Paint

Q.     Late last winter I purchased a Columbia jacket for my daughter.  She had it less than 2 weeks when she got oil or acrylic artist paint on the sleeve.  Does anyone know how I can get this out?  Thanks.  Faye A.


To remove paint – they have the store alternative first – THEN the home remedy.  I opted for the home remedy.  2Tablespoons AMMONIA, 2Tablespoons WHITE VINEGAR, 1Tablespoon SALT. As there was a LOT of paint on the leg of her pants I had to make much more solution.  The site says to soak overnight.  As some spots were VERY thick I used a brush and worked at it for a while (1/2 hour plus).  About 80% of the paint came off – I was amazed. THEN I soaked overnight – in the bathroom sink. With a sink of water and approximately double the amounts listed above added to the water. In the morning – there was absolutely no trace of the paint.  Worth a try.  W.

My boyfriend is a painter and he swears by Goo Off. It is a highly toxic substance, but it gets the job  done. It is used to get paint off pavement so be very careful with it. If you go to a local professional paint store (not craft store), they can help you with the products. You can always dye the jacket a cool color that hides the paint.  Shannon

You really must determine which type of paint is on the coat first. Oil and acrylic are very different, also need to know the type of fabric. Any advice without these two bits of info could end up with further damage to the coat, and still no removal of paint.  Michael

At a restaurant supply (and perhaps other places) you can buy "Vandalism or Graffiti Remover".  I’ve used it to remove oil based paints from fabric.  Best to have the paint spill laid on an old white cloth and as the paint releases dab it up with paper towels to keep it from spreading  E.J.

I have taken painting classes in the past.  To remove paint, we used rubbing alcohol or vodka.  Acrylic paint, of course, is different from oil-based paint so I am not sure which was the problem.  If I can get further information, I can ask my painting instructor.  vr/Geraldine

First of all, it is really important to know the difference between oil or acrylic. This is because they have different bases. If it is oil, try a paint thinner or mineral oil. Soap and water should do the trick for acrylic depending on the type of fabric.  Farrah