It's time for the fourth and final installment of our stain-removal series: tackling tannin-based stains.
Tannins are naturally occurring vegetable dyes found in many plants, especially grape skin, tea leaves, and coffee beans. They're responsible for that bitter, astringent taste in red wine and tea -- a good thing, as long as it isn't spilled on your clothing, fabric, or carpet.
I've broken down a few easy laundering techniques for tannin-based stains below. But the most important thing to remember? Avoid using bar soap on a tannin-based stain; this will set the stain permanently. Stick to natural stain removers and detergents only.
Common Tannin-Based Stains
For Lightly Soiled Tannin-Based Stains
If the stain is fresh, soak the garment or material in cold running water, followed by a wash cycle in the hottest water the garment will tolerate. For carpets, saturate the surface with cold water, then follow with boiling water, blotting up the stain with a white rag.
For Heavily Soiled Tannin-Based Stains
Rinse first with cold water, then rub a tannin stain remover
into the affected area; this chemical formula (water, glycerin, and acetic acid) is designed to break down the tannins. Follow with a long soak in hot water. Wash as normal, and repeat the process as necessary.
For an Eco-Friendly Method
Rinse garment or material -- or saturate carpets -- with cold water, then apply a generous amount of vinegar to the affected area. Let sit for a few minutes and soak in hot water for twenty minutes. Repeat the process as necessary.