This section is from the book "A Manual Of Home-Making", by Martha Van Rensselaer. Also available from Amazon: A Manual of Home-Making.
The following paragraphs deal with methods and reagents commonly used in the removal of a number of stains. To save repetition, these are given here in detail and reference is made to them in dealing with the particular stains in later pages.
Ordinary laundering, mentioned frequently as a method for removing stains, should be done as follows: First, soak the stained portion in cold or lukewarm water, rubbing the stain with a neutral soap if necessary. Follow this by thorough rinsing in clean water, after which the article may be laundered as usual. This method should be used only for cotton and lineu (white or fast colors) and the so-called wash silks and washable woolens. If the materials are delicate, they should be sponged according to the following directions.
Sponging is applicable to all fabrics, but especially to delicate materials or colors which ordinary laundering might injure. The stained article should be spread on a flat surface in a good light, and beneath the stain a cloth folded into several thicknesses or clean white blotting paper should be placed to absorb the superfluous liquid. The pad must be changed for a fresh one as soon as it becomes soiled. The sponging should be done with a clean, soft lintless cloth (preferably of the same material as that stained) and renewed as frequently as may be necessary. The stained material should be laid with the wrong side up and the water applied to the back, so that the foreign substances can be washed from the fibers onto the pad without having to pass through the material.