No matter what the stain or spot, the cardinal rule for getting it out is promptness. Follow a spill with immediate blotting rinsing. One good trick is to keep a small bottle of diluted mild detergent, such as hand dishwashing liquid, ready to squeeze on a damp washcloth and blot directly on the latest spot. If done immediately, many times it is all the action that is required until the article can next be washed or dry cleaned.
Before washing or attempting any spot removal, check the fiber content of the needlework to determine which cleaning procedure can be used safely, and check the dyes to see if they are colorfast. If you don't have the manufacturer's label with this information, use a small swatch of the yarn or thread to test the cleaning procedure.
Although uncommon with today's acrylic yarns and cotton threads, some dyes can bleed. Those pieces can be soaked in cold water, changing the water as many times as needed until it is completely clear of dye. Using salt water is said to help keep unstable dyes from bleeding.
Cleaning and washing can deteriorate fibers and colors because of the scrubbing, tamping and harsh compounds sometimes needed to remove stubborn stains. So, a good rule to follow to preserve the life of your needlework is to use the minimum amount of cleaning and washing necessary to keep your projects fresh.
Use the following cleaning suggestions to the minimum degree:
Blood: Soak in cold water, warm soapy water wash, rinse. Candy: Soak in cold water, laundry spot remover, rinse. Coffee/tea: Soak in warm soapy water, boiling water over stain. Dust, lint, pet hairs or odors: Tumble on low in the dryer with a fabric-softener sheet. Grass: Apply ammonia and hydrogen peroxide alternately, cold water rinse. Grease: Warm soapy water wash, rinse, alcohol. Lipstick: Petroleum jelly, warm soapy water wash, rinse. Wax: Apply ice, scrape off wax; press (low heat) between white paper towels with wax side down, warm water wash, rinse. For colored wax, also sponge with alcohol if needed.