A Guide to Stain Removal Made Easy
What You Need to Know
- Many of the most common household stains can be tackled with products you already have in the home.
- As such, expensive cleaning products are not really necessary and may end up languishing unused in your cupboards for years.
- Removing stains is not just a matter of aesthetics. Stains can also harbour germs, so it’s a good idea to get rid of them as soon as possible.
- Many ‘old wives’ tales’ contain at least an element of truth. White wine, for instance, can help treat red wine stains.
- For nearly all stains, swift action is important. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to have a spillage kit somewhere it’s readily accessible.
- Some tougher stains may require multiple treatments. With stains such as ink and blood, patience is important.
- Getting your home spotless is important is you are looking to sell your property.
There are many ways you can effectively remove common household stains and dirt with the products you already have in your home. It is often not necessary to buy expensive cleaners that can languish unused in your cupboards for years.
Stains on Clothing
- Deodorant stains. Soak the stain in white vinegar for 30 minutes, then wash as normal.
- Blood. Quick action is important. Soak the stain in cold water, then wash as usual. If the stain has set, soak in cold water and rub the stain with soap. Use the prewash cycle on your washing machine and then wash as usual.
- Red wine. Again, quick action can help. Apply white wine to the stain. The white wine neutralises the stain. Then rinse in water and wash as usual. Do not use salt. This is a common mistake, but salt tends to fix the stain, not remove it.
- Butter, mayonnaise, oil. Blot dry with paper towel and apply cornflour, talc or baby powder. Leave overnight and wash as usual.
Check the care label on any clothes before attempting these stain removal tips. If unsure, talk to your dry cleaner.
Stains on Carpets and Upholstery
- Urine. It’s important to neutralise the ammonia in the urine as this is what causes the unpleasant smell, so blot dry and dilute the stain with warm water. Then dilute one cup of white vinegar in a gallon of water and rinse with this. Dry with a hairdryer.
- Ink. Dab the stain with a clean wet sponge until no more ink comes away. Allow to air dry. Apply hair spray to the stain. Blot with paper towel. Allow to dry and then rinse in warm water and clothing detergent.
Stains Around the House
- Mould and mildew. Bleach and bleach solutions work wonders on mould and mildew stains. For mould between tiles in a bathroom, dilute bleach by one third and use an old toothbrush to rub across the grout. Leave for ten minutes and rinse. For mould on bathroom walls and ceilings, tackle as soon as you see it. Use a diluted bleach solution and a cloth to wipe down surfaces. Dry well and provide greater ventilation in the bathroom to prevent mould regrowth.
- Limescale. For limescale around the edges of taps, mix half a cup of white vinegar and half a cup of water and fill a plastic bag. Tie the bag around the taps so that the taps’ edges are immersed in the solution. Leave for a couple of hours or overnight, and the limescale will simply come away. To clean a kettle, leave the above solution to soak – overnight if possible – inside the kettle and then rinse well.
Keeping Stainless Steel Shiny
Dry with a soft cloth with a touch of baby oil to remove unsightly water marks and keep surfaces shiny. Invest in an E-cloth, which contains millions of microfibres that remove dust, dirt and grease without the need for chemical-based cleansers. Simply put it in the washing machine to clean it.
- Got a stain you don’t know how to deal with? Check out this A-Z of Stain Removal from Good Housekeeping.
- If you’re dedicated to keeping your clothes looking pristine read out guide to getting rid of moths.
- For more helpful advice check out the rest of our DIY guides.
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