Dry cleaning king John Mahdessian (who you might also know as "Real Housewives of New York City" star Dorinda Medley’s boyfriend) is committed to keeping the world clean, one stain at a time — and he's not afraid to take a bite out of his own business, by sharing insider secrets to removing garment stains at home.
"Time is of the essence," stresses the owner of Madame Paulette's, one of the oldest dry cleaning services in NYC. "The sooner you tackle a stain, the easier it will be to remove — which is why it’s more effective to handle it yourself, rather than wait to take your item to the dry cleaners."
He also admits that labels can be misleading. When tags say “dry clean only,” they’re actually only a warning not to use a washing machine. The truth is, you can gently hand-wash even the most delicate items without damaging them.
Here, he reveals his secret formulas for getting out wine, tea, coffee, blood, sweat, grease, lipstick, ink + more.
Simply follow John’s directions below and watch the video above to see the magic in action. Consider this the ultimate DIY guide to becoming your own dry cleaner!
1) EARTH-BASED STAINS: WINE, TEA, COFFEE, JELLY, KETCHUP, SODA, JUICE
Battle these by placing a white absorbent cloth under the stained area. Flush with cold water. If the stain persists, make a 50/50 solution of two ounces of vinegar, and two ounces of dish detergent. Dip another cloth and or Q-tip into the formula, and tap onto the stain (you can use increased tamping pressure, but don’t rub). Rotate the absorbent cloth underneath as you're removing the stain. Allow to sit for 20 minutes before washing on delicate cycle or hand wash along with detergent or safety bleach (such as Clorox 2).
2) PROTEIN-BASED STAINS: BLOOD, SWEAT, URINE, VOMIT, EGG, MILK, YOGURT, MEAT JUICES
For this category follow the above steps, but use a solution of five ounces of water, one ounce of ammonia, one ounce of peroxide and one ounce of color safe detergent (such as Ivory liquid soap) if the stain persists.
P.S. Always make sure your garments are clean before you store them, because John says traces of perspiration can attract moths and insects.
3) OIL-BASED STAINS: PETROLEUM, GELS, GREASE, MAYONNAISE, LOTION, MAKEUP, LIPSTICK
Again, follow the above steps, but use a treatment solution of two tablespoons of citrus-based degreaser, such as Palmolive.
While John insists that no stain is impossible to remove, he admits the very toughest opponent is ink. Which is why he invented and patented a stain removal kit just for the job; perfect for carrying in your purse or briefcase, in order to combat any workplace mishaps.
STILL CAN'T GET THAT STAIN OUT?
Head to a professional for help… but don’t be afraid to negotiate, says John! Considering he's a professional dry cleaner, his most charitable tip is to bring clothes to the dry cleaners during the off-season (January and February). Since business is slower then, you might be able to get a better deal than during peak season (April through June).