So we have all been there… You’ve had a few too many Shandys at the awkward staff party or unbelievably dull family wedding. Everything seems to be going well and even the winks and smiles at the pretty blonde on the next table seems to be working. And then, out of nowhere and for no apparent reason some cretin of a human being spills something on your tie. Yes, I know, this is nothing short of a disaster BUT all may not be lost. Even after the unthinkable has happened and your beloved necktie has been ruined forever, you just may be able to fix the unfixable!

When a spill happens, you’re not always in a place where you can immediately treat the stain, but there are a few things you can do straight away to mitigate the problem.

If you or your now nemesis has dropped a blob of food, or a viscous condiment like ketchup or mustard, on your tie, start by scraping it off using a spoon or butter knife. If you’ve spilt a coloured drink like coke, coffee, tea, wine, etc. the first thing to do is to absorb as much of it as you can using a dry napkin or paper towel.

Next, dip a cloth napkin, sponge or dishrag in water or club soda—paper napkins or towels are fine if they’re all you’ve got on hand, but they’re less than ideal because they have a tendency to disintegrate when they get wet, and then you’ll end up with a pulpy tie—and dab gently at the stain. Don’t scrub at the stain, which will just grind it further into the fabric, and be sure to bring your cloth out so that it’s not sopping, as too much water can cause the stain to flood and spread. Are you near a hand or hair dryer? Wonderful. Use that to dry the wet spot.

Now then, it may very well be the case that the scraping and dabbing and drying was all that was needed to remove that stain. Great! But if it wasn’t, when you get home you should treat the stain as soon as you can using Tenestar silk washing detergent or, if the tie is made of a less fussy fabric, a more general-purpose stain remover.

Of course, if a stain proves too stubborn to get out, you could always throw a tie bar over it and call it a day.