There's something to be said for your broken-in jeans that always fit perfectly, your favorite sweater that never fails to earn a compliment and the great pair of shoes that never hurt your feet. 

Learning the right way to care for your wardrobe will help you prolong the shelf life of your favorite clothes—and save you money along the way.
Stain Removal 101

If wearing a white top makes you a magnet for stains, Steve Boorstein has three rules to help make sure you never lose a garment to red wine again. Known as "The Clothing Doctor," Steve is a third-generation dry cleaner who has written books and created DVDs on clothing care.

Rule 1: Be patient. A spill can be fixed, but an ill-treated stain may be permanent.

Rule 2: Identify the origin of your stain. Steve says stains can be generalized into two groups: water-based (like coffee, wine, blood) and oil-based (oil splatters, french fry grease, vinaigrette dressing). A water-based stain can be treated at home; an oil-based stain should be taken to a dry cleaner.

Think about it this way: Oil repels water, so dousing water and detergent on an oily stain will only spread it. As the name implies, a dry cleaner can treat the stain without water. Steve says to try and get an oil-stained garment to a dry cleaner within 48 hours.

Rule 3: "Never rub a stain," Steve says. To treat a water-based stain, blot with a white cloth or towel—not a paper towel or tissue. "They break apart within the fibers and make the situation worse," says Joseph Hallak, vice president of Hallak Cleaners in New York.

A Tide to Go pen or other spot-stain remover can also work on water-based stains, Steve says. Just blot carefully, never rub and stick to durable fabrics.

Once you get home, immediately wash the garment and let it air-dry. "If you machine dry it and the stain hasn't come out, you'll limit the ability of the stain to come out," Steve says.

Next: Yellow underarm stains


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