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How to Remove Cough Syrup Stains

The start of flu season seems to bring out the worst in runny noses, coughing, sore throats and other aggravating symptoms. Nothing tries your patience more than trying to give your sick child a spoonful of cough syrup just to have them turn their head at the exact moment that leaves you pouring the medicine right down their shirt. Cough syrup stains can be hard to remove due to the color & stickiness of the medicine. Purex® shares how to remove tough cough syrup stains with Purex® detergents.

Treat the Stain as Soon as Possible

As always, catching the stain when it is fresh makes it easier to remove it. Run warm water through the backside of the stain to try to flush away as much as possible. There are a couple of techniques you could follow after that.

Pretreat the Cough Syrup Stain

One is to make a mixture of 1 spoonful of detergent with a cup of water. Then take a sponge wetted by this mixture and gently dab at the stain. This should help to lift the stain. Make sure to blot & don't rub the stain. Rubbing the stain can push it deeper into the fabric, making it harder to remove. You can also add a spoonful of white vinegar to the mixture, which can help to accelerate the stain lifting process. If you're concerned that vinegar might cause discoloration, test the mixture on the inside of the hem of the item. Once you have removed as much of the stain as possible, spray the stain with your favorite stain remover.

Run the Stained Item Through the Laundry

Let it sit for five minutes and then launder with Purex® scented liquid detergent. Pick your favorite fragrance which could be Tahitian Breeze laundry detergent or Lavender Blossom laundry detergent. If you’re worried about the color of the cough syrup transferring to other clothing items, we recommend washing the item separately from other fabrics & clothing items.

Use Alcohol Solution to Treat Intense Stains

Another tip would be to use an isopropyl alcohol solution to dab at the stain. This polar solvent is helpful at breaking down stains. Then treat the stain and launder as usual. For an added boost of freshness, Purex® recommends Purex® Crystals, an in-wash fragrance booster. Just toss them directly in your washing machine before turning it on, it’s safe for all loads. Stains that have dried are going to be much more difficult to remove as the red dye that often symbolizes the “yummy” cherry flavor is very persistent. Definitely try to get to the stain as quickly as possible to minimize the permanent damage.

Hope all of you stay healthy and well during  flu season – and happy stain fighting!

Author: The Purex® Stain Lab

We understand that life gets messy and want to make laundry as easy as possible for you. With quality & value continuing to be at the core of our product development, we continue to create highly effective laundry detergent & supplies. We tested some of the toughest stains to keep your clothing looking brand new. View our Stain Lab for our best recommendations to get life's toughest stains out of your clothing.

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