One problem that many people come across in their daily lives is dealing with stains. The problem with stains is that by the time people figure out which remover to use, it may be too late to remove the stain. Not everyone is knowledgeable about the different types of stains and stain removers. Knowing which stain remover works best on which stains can help someone save their favorite piece of clothing.
Starting with the basics is the composition of stain removers. One ingredient in stain removers is ammonia (NH3). When ammonia is in its alkaline state, it is very efficient in destroying bacteria and breaking down stains. The next component is bleach (NaClO), otherwise known as sodium hypochlorite which disinfects and whitens fabrics. “It works by oxidizing (or stealing electrons from) the compounds comprising germs and stains, which effectively breaks down their molecular bonds” (ehow.com). Another factor in stain removers are enzymes. Enzymes speed up the reaction process and are also
produced in living organisms. These substances distinctively assist in decomposing protein stains. The last ingredient in most stain removers is D-Limonene (C10H16) which “is a neutral compound that manufacturers extract from the rinds of citrus fruits such as lemons, limes and oranges” (ehow.com). Because D-Limonene is not soluble, companies must first mix it with a surface-active agent which will lessen its surface tension. This process allows it to easily combine with solvents.
Next, is how stain removers actually work. The first step of removing stains is dissolving the stain. Stain removers contain solvents, which dissolve chemicals. The basic guideline for dissolving is “like dissolves like” (chemistry.about.com). This means that the base of the solvent and the base of the stain should be similar. For an example if you have a water based stain, use a water based remover. The next step is emulsifying the stain which consists of lifting the stain off of the exterior. The emulsifier boosts the moisture of the stain which makes it easier to remove the stain. “Each molecule has a polar head that mixes with water, as well as a hydrocarbon tail that dissolves grease. The tail attaches to the oily part of a stain while the hydrophilic or water-loving head attaches to water. Several surfactant molecules work together, encompassing the stain so it can be rinsed away” (chemistry.about.com). After this, the remover digests using enzymes which decompose the molecules of the stain. Lastly, the stain is hidden by whiteners. The whiteners do not assist in cleaning but makes the fabric look as if it was never stained. Another substance that works as a stain remover is baking soda. Baking soda fizzes when mixed with boiling water which will allow it to lift the stain. In addition to this, it is a very gentle and absorbing substance which will assist in removing the stain (stain-removal-101.com).
Now are the basics of...