Evening dresses are not immune to stains, and since most are not easily machine-washable, stains often sit in a dress and set before you have a chance to take the dress to the dry cleaner. However, there are ways to remove a stain quickly before it sets so you can save the dress from certain disaster. Learn some tried and true stain removal methods that can save your evening dresses.
Treat the Stain as Soon as Possible
While you may not be able to treat a food or drink stain as soon as it happens, especially if you do not have the right stain remover readily available, treating the stain quickly is your best bet to remove it. If you are in a restaurant or somewhere that serves beverages, ask for club soda immediately and dab it on the stain to prevent it from setting. Lemon juice also works for these purposes, as does salt water. Restaurants may provide these things immediately, but if the stain is severe, use baking soda, which you will likely need to go buy or use some you already have at home. If you spill a bit of coffee or tea on your dress, run the stain under cold water immediately. Some people even carry small manufactured laundry stain sticks with them in their purses for just such emergencies.
Stain Treating Methods
Once you obtain what you need to remove the stain, use it on the back of the stain first in an area nobody sees. Test whether the stain remover damages the fabric. If it does not damage the fabric, dab the stain remover on the actual stain, but do not rub the stain, as that spreads the stain. Use a clean, white towel or cloth for blotting stains and not something that contains chemicals or dyes. After treating the stain, follow the laundering instructions on the garment's label.
You need to treat cosmetic stains somewhat differently than other stains. For example, if you get eye shadow, lipstick, or mascara on an evening dress, use warm water on the stain to dampen it and then rub a bit of liquid detergent or colour-safe bleach into the stain. Powder detergent turned into a paste works best for foundation and concealer, after dampening the stain. Nail polish remover can take out nail polish stains, but use the remover on the back of the stain rather than the front.
If you get ink on an evening dress, try using a pencil eraser to remove the stain. Rubbing alcohol removes grass stains, while a laundry stain pretreatment does the job on grease and oil stains. Follow the laundering instructions carefully after any stain removal process.