By Alyssa Clough

Published on March 14, 2016

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Photography by @blaireadiebee
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Photography by @thecoveteur

If you don’t have a bestie who has a Tide To Go pen on their person at all times and you’re prone to spills, you need to have some tricks up your sleeve. Obviously, if you’re at home, you simply treat the garment with whatever your go-to stain remover is and throw it in the washer immediately. But when you’re out to dinner, drinks, or simply out of the house, that’s not really an option. Read on for steps and tricks to making sure that spill doesn’t become a stain.

1 – dab lightly

Very lightly, dab (or really just touch) a napkin or tissue to the spill. This absorbs excess liquid that hasn’t fully saturated your clothing yet. Make sure not to dab too hard, as this will press the stain into your clothing, not lift excess liquids out.

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Photography by @perrier

2 – find cold water or club soda

People in different camps claim one works better than the other, but they really do the same thing. Just make sure your club soda (or seltzer, any clear carbonated beverage) isn’t diluted with things like alcohol or a flavor—this will only make it worse.

3 – press out, not in

A tried and true stain removing technique is pressing from the inside of your clothing to the outside. The logic is that you push the stain out, not press it further in.

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Photography by @blaireadiebee

4 – add soap

If the stain doesn’t lift with water alone, add a bit of soap. This can be any liquid or bar soap—basically anything that is in your vicinity. Get a lather going and then rinse with water. Warning: This will create quite the uncontained wet spot on your clothing.

5 – no liquid in sight?

If you’re really in a pinch, adding powders (like cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, flour) or salt to the stain—especially if it is oil-based—will help. Though if you’re out and about, it will probably make even more of a mess.

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Photography by The Good Home Company

6 – non-toxic “pen” options

If you’re one of those people who prefer to keep a stain solution with you at all times, consider The Good Home Company’s laundry bar. It comes in a teeny tiny size, is only $10, is made of 75% olive oil and other all-natural ingredients, and is a powerhouse at lifting stains.