It’s your waiter’s first night on the job, and he slopped some pasta sauce on you. Poor guy! You could pretend it didn’t happen and sit through the evening with this blot on your shirt distracting your fellow diners and then go to the movie looking like a slob. Or, you could impress your dinner companions with your on-the-fly stain-removal know-how. Here’s what you do: Gently scrape any actual blobs off your clothing with the thin edge of a butter knife. Moisten a clean napkin with seltzer or club soda (the waiter should bring it right over), and gently wipe the stained fabric, soaking it enough so that the seltzer can do its work. If the blot is too challenging for seltzer, rub table salt on the spill and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then wipe it off. Salt draws out liquid (wine, juice), absorbs grease and works as a natural abrasive without harming the fabric with bleaching chemicals. But you have to work fast!

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