Don't let a spill or loose hem blemish your workday

October 20, 2002|By Christina Minor | By Christina Minor,Cox News Service

On-the-job accidents can take on a new meaning when it comes to snagged pantyhose, coffee spills or frayed hems.

Forget worrying about the computer server being down or a stuck file cabinet drawer. A dirty blouse can be enough to ruin anyone's workday. Throw in a missing button and stuck zipper, and the day could seem a total loss.

But with a few quick fixes at your fingertips, a clothing mishap doesn't have to be a public fashion faux pas.


Brian Sansoni of The Soap and Detergent Association recommends keeping stain-treatment towelettes or wipes in the office or car for those "away-from-home stains."

Removing stains quickly is the key to undamaged clothing, he said. Pretreating stains prior to laundering is usually recommended. That's why a stain stick is a must-have for the office.

Other recommendations for treating stains on-the-fly include:

* For chocolate, scrape away any excess, then blot the spot with cool water. Presoak using powdered laundry detergent with enzymes, following label directions. Rinse well, then launder, the Web site suggests.

* Hints from Heloise says coffee stains can be rinsed with cold water. Work in a drop or two of mild white hand dishwashing liquid. Rinse well. If still there, treat with a mix of one part white vinegar to three parts water. Rinse again, then launder.

* For ketchup or barbecue sauce on fabric, flush or blot with water. Apply a few drops of mild white hand dishwashing liquid. Rinse. If needed, apply a solution of one part white vinegar to three parts water, rinse well, Heloise suggests.

* For ink, place the stain face down on paper towels. Treat from the back with cleaning fluid or dry-cleaning solvent. Move towels frequently so there's always a clean area under the stain to absorb ink. Let dry, then repeat if needed, suggests.


Stains aren't the only clothing problem for professionals. An unraveling hem caused by a heeled shoe or a run in the pantyhose can be just as annoying.

Here are several tips from various experts on how to quickly repair frayed or unraveled clothing. Remember, these aren't permanent solutions to fixing the problem.

* When a hem falls and you're unable to change clothes, use a piece of masking tape, duct tape or safety pins to hold it in place, says Lupe Ramon Sr., owner of Lupe's Tailor Shop.

* Clear nail polish is a quick solution to snagged pantyhose.

* Prevent and stop fraying button threads by dabbing the top of the button with clear nail polish, let dry and trim any loose thread, according to

* Don't cut or pull a sweater snag; instead take the tip of a closed pen, a blunt letter opener or something similar and push the snag back through to the inside of the sweater. Knot the snag on the inside of the sweater and help secure with a dab of clear nail polish, as suggested on

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