Solutions For Common Dance Stains

November 28, 2001

Everyone knows the sinking feeling that comes after spotting a stain on an otherwise pristine costume. But it happens all the time, and unless you’re in a company with a wardrobe department, it’s up to you to get out that stain. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with some quick fixes.

Deodorant: One of the most common backstage stains is also one of the easiest to remove. If you notice a white streak on a dark-colored costume, find a piece of dry cotton fabric (a sock or sweater) and rub the two fabrics together until the deodorant streaks disappear.

Lipstick: Lipstick stains are tricky because the makeup contains both oil and wax. Try pouring a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto a rag and blotting as much of the stain as possible. Avoid a rubbing motion that could cause smears. Next, spray a bit of hairspray onto the stain and wait 10 minutes before wiping with a wet rag. If a stain is still there when you get home, dab it with grease-cutting dish detergent and wash the garment in cold water.

Blood: The first step you should take to remove blood from a costume may sound icky, but it usually works: Try spitting onto the stain and then rubbing the fabric together. The enzymes in saliva that help digest food can also help dissolve blood. Another trick is to steep the blood-stained section in a bowl of hydrogen peroxide for 10 minutes, remove and rinse in cold water.

Sweat: To get pesky yellow stains out of the arms of a light-colored costume, try crushing two aspirins, mixing them into a half cup of warm water and soaking the fabric for two to three hours. If you’re short on time, dissolve one tablespoon of salt into a liter of hot water and dab the stains with the solution until they disappear.


  • When running water over a stain, be sure to run it from the back of the stain. This will force the stain back out through the fabric, instead of pushing it deeper into your clothing.
  • Before putting a stained garment under any sort of heat, make sure the stain has been completely removed or the heat will set it into the fabric.
  • If a stain is particularly tricky or the costume is delicate, take it to your dry cleaner and have it taken care of professionally.