How to Treat a Stain when Eating Out

Embarrassment isn’t a valid reason to delay attending to cleaning a food or drink stain at dinner. But personal modesty may mean you have to treat stains differently. Here’s what to do when the sauce hits your shirt.

  • Don’t reach for the serviette (napkin): If it’s a coloured tissue one, the dye could come off on your shirt.

  • Excuse yourself from the table and go to the cloakroom. Before thinking about wetting the stain, check to see that there’s a facility to dry it off afterwards. If there’s no hot-air drier, you will be far more self-conscious walking back into the restaurant with a large wet patch on your shirt than with a small gravy stain.

  • Wet the stain from underneath, by holding it directly under the cold tap. Your aim is to push the stain back out through the fabric. If you aren’t able or don’t feel comfortable doing this, do not be tempted to get a wet tissue and rub at the stain instead. You’ll simply spread the problem.

  • Blot the fabric dry. If you’re certain that the stain has gone, go ahead and dry with the heater. If some staining remains, do not use heat as it can set the rest of the stain.

Carry a sachet of spot-stain treatment in your bag or in the car. Add a small roll of sticky tape to pick up dry and powder stains and you have the perfect on-the-go stain-shooting kit.

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