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Advice on Stain Removal

Unique service offered by Linen Drawer!

In addition to offering you, our customer, free advice on how to deal with virtually any laundry / stain removal issue on your bedding, we offer the following additional service to all B&B’s, guest lodges and hotels.Linen Drawer can add value to your establishment by offering you our expertise through an “in house” training course with your laundry staff. The training course is conducted by Jimmy Ferendinos (one of our directors and one of the most knowledgeable people on fabric that you will ever meet) at a minimal cost.

The benefit to most establishments would be:

  • A 25-40% increase in the life span of your bed, bath and table linen.
  • Optimisation of the use of energy, water and chemicals in your laundry.
  • Clean and luxurious bed, bath and table linen for your guests to enjoy.

For further details, please contact us on 021 8720108 or email Jimmy directly at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  •  Acids – Apply baking soda onto the wet patch to neutralise the acid or rinse well with a lot of fresh water. Wash after neutralisation. Handle with care as acids will weaken the fabric.
  • Adhesive tape – Harden with ice and remove the adhesive tape. Soak in methylated spirits or kerosene, followed by a good wash.
  • Alcohol – Wash fresh stains with plenty of warm water. If the stain persists, rub with glycerine, leave to stand for 30 minutes and rinse. Older stains may be removed by spotting with surgical spirits or commercial pre-wash stain remover, followed by a good wash. Bleach should be used as a last resort. (Glycerine and surgical spirits are available at pharmacies).
  • Bleach – rinse immediately in a solution of one table spoon of vinegar to one litre of cold water.
  • Blood – spot with a cool salt solution (2 teaspoons of salt per litre of water) and rinse with plenty of fresh water. Older stains: make up a solution of one part 20 vol. hydrogen peroxide with nine parts of water. Rinse affected area in the solution, then rinse well with fresh water. If the stain persists, make a solution of one teaspoon oxalic acid in 50ml water at 50°C and sponge. (oxalic acid powder and solution should be handled with suitable rubber gloves).
  • Butter – Scrape away excess and wash in warm water with “Stain Zapper”. If the stain persists, don’t iron. Rinse in surgical spirits or professionally dryclean the product. (Once ironed in, fatty stains are very difficult to remove).
  • Candle wax & crayon – Scrape away excess. Harden the wax in the freezer. Shatter the wax. Wash with detergent or dryclean. If wax stain persists, place fabric between brown paper and iron. The brown paper will absorb the wax. If a colour stain persists, sponge with a 50/50% solution of methylated spirits and water.
  • Chewing gum – Harden with ice. Remove as much gum as possible. Remove excess by soaking in a solution of kerosene and water.
  • Coffee – Rinse in warm water until stain fades, then wash normally.
  • Curry – Rinse in warm water until stain fades, then apply glycerine and rub lightly. Let it stand for thirty minutes, then wash normally. (Glycerine is available at most pharmacies).
  • Egg – Soak in warm water and detergent. Do not use hot water as this hardens the stain. Wash normally.
  • Fat -  Scrape away excess and wash in warm water with “Stain Zapper”. If the stain persists, don’t iron. Rinse in surgical spirits or professionally dryclean the product. (Once ironed in, fatty stains are very difficult to remove).
  • Grass – Sponge with methylated spirits then wash as normal
  • Ink – Soak in pure lemon juice. The stain can also be soaked in milk. Sour milk is said to be more effective than fresh, but both will work.
  • Margarine - Scrape away excess and wash in warm water with normal detergent. If the stain persists, don’t iron. Rinse in surgical spirits or professionally dryclean the product. (Once ironed in, fatty stains are very difficult to remove).
  • Mildew – If caught early enough, mildew will wash out with normal detergent. A mild chlorine bleach solution should be used in cold water. This will bleach the fabric as well, which may be problematic. (prevention is certainly better than cure)
  • Nail Polish – Apply acetone to remove and then wash as normal. (Not suitable for viscose rayon / viscose blends)
  • Oil – Blott off excess oil with tissue / toilet paper. Rub lightly using dishwashing liquid and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes. Wash as per wash care instructions. If stain persists spot soak and wash in “Stain Zapper”.
  • Paint – PVA (waterbased): Rinse immediately with copious amounts of water. If dried, apply glycerine or acetone to soften. Then attempt to wash out. OIL based enamels: Soak area in turpentine or kerosene, then wash as normal.
  • Perspiration – Fresh stains should wash out easily. If the stain persists, sponge with a strong ammonia solution and rinse immediately. (always test for colourfastness when using ammonia solution).
  • Rust – Rinse spot in a warm solution containing 1 teaspoon of oxalic acid per litre of water. (use suitable rubber gloves).
  • Tar – sponge with a solution of one part Jeyes Fluid to three parts water and then wash as normal.
  • Tea – Rinse in warm water until stain fades, then apply glycerine and rub lightly. Let stand for thirty minutes and then wash as normal.  (Glycerine is available at most pharmacies).
  • Urine – First soak in a solution of one tablespoon of ammonia in a cup of warm water. If unsuccessful, soak in a solution of half vinegar and half water. Wash with detergent.
  • Wine – Wash fresh stains with plenty of warm water. If the stain persists, rub with glycerine, leave to stand for 30 minutes and rinse. Older stains may be removed by spotting with surgical spirits or commercial pre-wash stain remover, followed by a good wash. Bleach should be used as a last resort. (Glycerine and surgical spirits are available at pharmacies).

Should you require further information on this, please contact us.

  • The word percale has its roots in an eastern source, although precisely where in the east is not clear. The most likely derivation is from the Persian word “pargalah” which means “rag”. The modern meaning of percale is “a closely woven fabric”. It comes from French “percale” which was a cotton fabric manufactured in France in the early 17th century.
  • Many people assume that “percale” fabrics are made from a blend of polyester and cotton. This is a common misconception in South Africa. The content of percale can vary a great deal. It can be pure cotton, pure polyester or any combination of these fibres.
  • These days it is commonly accepted that percales are constructed with a minimum of 180 threads per square inch. The thread count is identified by adding together the number of warp threads and the number of weft threads in one inch. The thread count is therefore a measure of density of the weave construction of the fabric. The density of the fabric is an indicator of softness and durability of the fabric (typically, the more closely woven the fabric, the longer the lifespan of the product).
  • Our bedding is manufactured from a 200 thread count, 100% cotton fabric which has been imported from Pakistan. Pakistan are currently the world leaders in the manufacture of wide width percale fabrics. Although we import the fabric, we sew the products in Cape Town where we have control of the quality of the product.

  • Comfortable – Natural fibres such as cotton, absorb perspiration from the skin, preventing the “clammy” feeling often experienced with synthetic fibres.
  • Hard wearing – Cotton can withstand heavy usage, including continued laundry, giving one many years of good service.
  • Does not “pill” – Pure cotton fabrics do not pill (fibre balls on the surface of the fabric) as is the case with synthetic fibre blends. Pure cotton looks and feels great for years.
  • Hypoallergenic – Natural fibres such as cotton, display hypoallergenic properties. To avoid the allergic reactions that many people experience with synthetic fibres, stick with pure, natural cotton.
  • Healthy – There is really no alternative. Consumers around the world are moving towards natural, wholesome products.

  • Check wash labels - Check all wash labels before washing and drying and sort the laundry into similar groups. Wash and dry products at similar temperatures and conditions.
  • Wash dark colours separately - Separate light and dark colours to ensure that there is no staining of the light products by any dyes that are removed during washing.
  • Do Not overload the machines - Do not overload washing and tumble drying machines to avoid creasing and damaging of the fabrics.
  • Separate stained items - Separate stained products and treat them according to our recommendations for removal of stains.
  • Avoid softeners - Avoid the use of softeners or use them sparingly as softeners may reduce the strength of the fabrics and also reduce the absorption of the towels.
  • Avoid sharp edges - Ensure that there are no sharp objects e.g. zips and buttons in the laundry process when washing and drying towels.
  • Dust mites - To rid your bedding of dust mites either leave in the sun for a few hours or wash at 40-60ºC with detergent.

  •  Machine wash at 40°C - Ideally cotton percale products should be washed at 40°C and can be machine washed. This washing temperature will ensure that you get the longest life out of your bedding. We do realise that in certain cases this temperature is too low in order to wash highly soiled products and for that reason we have ensured that our products are oversized to allow for the shrinkage that takes place even at 100°C (the temperature of boiling water).
  • Do not bleach - Cotton fabrics cannot withstand strong bleaching agents. We therefore recommend that in order to achieve a long life span, the products should not be bleached. Again this is not always practical and in order to remove stains it is possible to use a very low concentration of household bleach on the white products. Great care should be taken when using bleach to dilute the bleaching agent before applying it to the fabric and also to ensure that the bleaching is done in cold water. Please follow the safety procedures and recommendations on the bleach container!    
  • Use a warm iron - Cotton fabrics generally require a warm iron to remove the creases after washing. An iron that is too hot may scorch the fabric. We recommend that when ironing the products should be slightly damp. This makes the ironing process easier. Naturally this will also reduce heating/drying costs with benefits to both you and the environment.
  • May be tumble dried - Cotton fabrics will shrink when they are exposed to tumble drying and our products have been oversized to allow for this. Do not over load the tumble drier or over dry the products as this will result in excessive creasing which makes the ironing process more difficult.

  • Machine wash at 60°C - Ideally cotton towels should be washed at 40-60°C and can be machine washed.
  • Do not bleach - Cotton fabrics cannot withstand strong bleaching agents. We therefore recommend that in order to achieve a long life span, the products should not be bleached. This is not always practical and in order to remove stains it is possible to use a very low concentration of household bleach on the white products. Great care should be taken when using bleach to dilute the bleaching agent before applying it to the fabric and also to ensure the bleaching is done in cold water. Please follow the safety procedures and recommendations on the bleach container!
  • May be tumble dried - Towels should be tumble dried in order to remain soft and “fluffy”. It is ideal to leave the towels to air dry until they are partially dry and then tumble dry on a short cycle. This will help to reduce the energy bills and benefit the environment.
  • Do not use fabric softener -   Do not use fabric softeners when washing your towels. Fabric softeners typically reduce the absorbency of the towels.

  • According to the Allergy Society of South Africa there are about 10 000 house-dust mites, small eight-legged creatures that cannot be seen with the naked eye, in the average bed. Feeding on our dead skin scales, they especially enjoy warm and humid places such as our bedding.
  • “Placing your mattress in the sun for five hours every week is one method to help kill mites
  • Washing your bedding at 60 degrees Celsius will deal with them effectively.
  • Replace foam pillows every six months.
  • Turn your mattress monthly.
  • Pull the bedcovers back in the morning to allow the bed to air thoroughly.
  • Avoid padded headboards.
  • Regular vacuuming of mattress does help
  • Changing and washing bedclothes often will reduce the chances of a full blown infestation