Stain Removal Secrets from a Costume Designer

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You don’t get to be an Emmy Award-winning costume designer without learning to think quickly on your feet. Here are Birgit Mueller’s in-a-pinch fixes for stained clothing.

For Oil Stains

Sprinkle the spot with baby powder, let the powder absorb the oil, then brush the powder off.

Remedy a Dribble

To clean up a dribble of solid food, makeup, or lipstick, wipe with a piece of velvet. Keep a handkerchief-size square of velvet in your purse for emergencies.

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For Stained White Shirts

Use a piece of white chalk to cover a stain on a white shirt.

To Remove Ink Stains

Spray the spot with hair spray, then launder.

For Red Wine Stains

Blot the stain with gin, then launder.

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Get Rid of Sweat Odors

Mix 1 ounce (30 ml) vodka with 2 ounces (60 ml) water in a squirt bottle and spray it onto the armpits. “We used to use that trick on movie sites in the desert,” Mueller says. See also: 5 Tricks of the Trade to Make Your Clothing Last Longer Do You Really Need to Dry Clean? 5 Best Baking Soda and Vinegar Cleaning Solutions


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