Does club soda really work on spills? Everyone “knows” club soda is the ultimate remedy for instant stain removal, but is it really all it’s cracked up to be? Our 107-year-old professional trade association, the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI), recently completed an in-depth study of the merits of club soda versus plain old water in stain removal, and as members, we’re pleased to share their findings. The short answer is “yes” club soda can be a big help in the short term, but “no” it is not the end-all, be-all stain removal miracle it is made out to be.
When applied immediately to 10 commonplace food stains DLI tested, both club soda and water removed anywhere from some to most of the stain. However, neither treatment will completely remove the stains and if left untreated the remaining stain residues can become permanent stains over time or when the garment is cleaned. On the 10 common spills that DLI’s stain removal experts used for the test, they found that after blotting a spill with either club soda or water some or most visible traces of the substance were removed; however, an analysis under ultraviolet light showed that at least a portion of nearly every stain remained after club soda or water was used.
Therefore, although it is best to try and rinse out the stain with water immediately after contact with the clothing, it is then also advisable to take the garment to a professional cleaner who can completely remove the last traces. Point out to the cleaner the area of the stain, the type of staining substance, and what attempts you made to reduce the initial spillage. If this is not done as soon as possible, the invisible remaining residue can oxidize over time and leave a permanent discoloration later, which in many cases on some fabrics cannot be removed.
For Best Results, Act Fast
When it comes time to remove the stain, the chances are greatly increased if club soda (or water) is used to rinse the stain before it dries. After it dries the degree of effectiveness drops considerably. In a coffee stain, for example, there may be sugar residue present that you may not be able to see, but it can caramelize during the drying or pressing processes, leaving a yellowish stain. A stain removal expert can remove this residue if he or she knows the stain was there in the first place. It is always recommended that customers mention any spills or attempts to remove stains at the counter. This way we will be better prepared to restore your garment to a like-new appearance.
There are also some stains that club soda actually makes worse. Ballpoint ink is almost always made up of water and solvent components. If water or club soda is used to remove this kind of stain, it could set the stain permanently into the fabric. So, with ballpoint stains, it is best to leave them to the professional stain removers.
Club soda or water will hold the stain off until you can get the garment to a cleaner: we can usually remove the stains entirely if you bring it in without delay.