DLI's Consumer News You Can Use Vol 78

Halloween Horror Survival Guide

Halloween costumes are made of many different fabrics, usually combining several styles and trims to give the fabric the best effect. If you've purchased an expensive costume it's best to ask a professional cleaner like us to remove any stains. A chemical that may be safe on one spot could lead to an even worse situation someplace else, possibly causing dye-bleeding, color loss or even disintegration of the fabric.

Do not attempt home stain removal on rented costumes. If the agreement says that you are to return the garment dirty, do tell the shop where a potential stain might be. Halloween costumes that are nice enough to rent, but too nice to buy, are generally very expensive. The cost of replacing one might just send a chill down your spine.

However, if the costume is yours and it's not from a Hollywood back lot, you can work on it yourself if you feel secure.

Halloween Stain Removal Tips:

Whenever possible, pre-treat stains caused by cosmetics, paint, and hair colorings, as well as food or beverage stains. Many waxes or crayons are not easily removed by home stain removal.

If a care label is present on the costume, follow the instructions carefully. If no label is present, test the fabric to any washing solutions you may use. If seams are durable and there are no unusual trims or unusual features, such as lofty layers, rough beads or baubles, wash on the gentle cycle and hope for the best.

Some trims may need to be removed prior to washing. Hand washing may be safer for costumes of questionable construction since agitation may lead to excessive pilling on soft, fuzzy fabrics and cause trims to tangle or snag. Fill a large tub with water and a small amount of mild detergent. Remove excess moisture by rolling the item in a towel or by running the garment on spin cycle. After washing, hang costumes to dry instead of tossing them in the dryer.

Cleaning the entire costume may not be necessary. Your professional cleaner may be able to remove local stains and freshen underarm areas without immersing the garment. Your cleaner will also be able to remove wrinkles from gathered areas or around trims. Then you can relax and enjoy the memories of wearing the costume rather than the horrors of cleaning it!

Candy/Chocolate

Hard candy stains can be removed by regular washing methods. Chocolate stains, however, are not so easy because they contain both greasy and non-greasy substances. Pretreat the area with drycleaning fluid (available in products that contain petroleum solvent, petroleum hydrocarbon or petroleum distillate).

Then place the affected area over several layers of white paper towels and blot. If the stain remains, blot with a mild detergent, then rinse with water. If these avenues do not work, try using a solution of one teaspoon of white vinegar per cup of water.

Rinse with water. If all other methods fail, try 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. (Remember to test for colorfastness.) Any remaining stains may be removed by laundering according to the care instructions. When using drycleaning fluid, remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions for use, work in a well-ventilated area, and never put garments with drycleaning fluid on them in the washer or dryer. Always flush out the fluid first.

Have no fear! We can help you remove stains and make your "killer" costume look like new.