Sometimes the application of soap, ammonia, or gasoline to fabrics that have been soiled seems only to make the stains more prominent. This is partly because the cleaning agent was not suitable to the material.
No matter whether it is silk, wool, or cotton, there should always be a fresh piece of cloth placed underneath, to absorb the soiled fluid that soaks through, otherwise the cleaning-fluid, laden with dirt, has no place to go, and simply spreads over the original place. Several layers of some absorbent material should be used; layers of cheese-cloth are very good for this purpose.
It is also important that the fabric to be cleaned be spread out smoothly, so that it may be seen that no dirty ring is formed outside the stained portion. To prevent the formation of such a ring, the stained portion should be surrounded with cornstarch, which will prevent the cleaning-fluid from spreading. If there should be a ring formed outside the cleaned portion, it may in some cases be removed by holding it over the spout of a boiling tea-kettle.
The absorbent cloth should also be large enough to admit of moving the stained spot to a different place, so as not to rub in again, the old washed-out dirt.
Use a piece of old, but clean flannel for wetting and for rubbing; and also have another clean piece for use in drying the spot as nearly as possible.