How to Deal with Every Possible Stain on Your Wedding Day

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It’s every bride’s nightmare: an accidental, visible stain on the bridal outfit of your dreams that will inevitably show up in all the wedding pictures.

Instead of crying over spilt milk (or more likely, champagne), just consult our mini guide to dealing with potential wedding day marks and blemishes, partially inspired by the well-tested treatments from the comprehensive Field Guide to Stains.

The key thing to remember is that not every stain can be treated the same way; using the wrong cleaner or technique can actually make things worse and set the discolouration in permanently. Always start by removing as much of the offending liquid or food as possible — by gently blotting at the stain or scooping away solids and gels with a clean utensil — and remember to run water through the fabric stain side down whenever possible to avoid further permeation.

Hopefully, with these tips in mind, you’ll be able to eliminate most stains on-the-spot, and prevent any permanent damage to your wedding gown.


Because most lipsticks are waxy and oil-based, the best thing to do is simply wash the affected area with bar or liquid soap and try to rub the stain out without spreading the pigment further. Makeup remover and wipes, if you already have them on hand, are also good tools for addressing lipstick or other makeup marks on clothing.


Ammonia and white vinegar are good remedies for sweat stains in a pinch, although you’ll need to use liquid laundry detergent to resolve more significant discolouration.

Wine and Champagne

Wine wine or champagne splashes can simply be treated with a dash of club soda or a spot stain remover.  Red wine stains, which are trickier, should be treated quickly with white wine, club soda or cold water. Then, blot the liquids away, and sprinkle salt on the spot to absorb as much of the stain as possible before rinsing.

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Cream Sauces

After lightly scrapping off as much of the sauce as possible with a clean utensil, apply a liquid detergent to the stain and soak in cold water before rinsing. If soaking and rinsing is not possible because of location, a potent wipe will remover enough of the sauce until you can get the item laundered.

Tomato-based Sauces

Red sauces are more challenging to tackle. Field Guide to Stains recommends running cold water through the stain, rubbing in a liquid enzyme detergent, rinsing well, and then sponging the spot with white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice before rinsing again. Applying a portable liquid stain remover might also be sufficient to replace the last two steps.


Whether it’s olive oil at the dinner table or French Fries at midnight, oil-based stains can be quickly dealt with using a stain remover spray, liquid detergent or even the bathroom hand soap and hot water if you’re pressed for time. The key is to not let the stain sit for too long, especially on delicate fabrics such as silk and tulle.


Handling stains involving creamy, buttery ingredients can require a few steps: remove as much food as possible from the surface, put on a spot stain remover, rub in detergent or specialty bar soap, and rinse well with hot water.

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Whether it’s a chocolate fountain or strawberries dipped in chocolate, stains involving dark cocoa can be tricky to address. Field Guide to Stains recommends rinsing in cold water, rubbing in a liquid detergent and letting the spot soak in cold water before rubbing and rinsing again. If you don’t have time to do that during the reception — and you probably won’t — just scrape off what you can, gently blot the grease and food stain with a clean wipe, apply a spot treatment, and deal with it another day.