Becoming a full time homemaker and mother of two young sons made learning the basics of stain removal essential. When I was single, doing the laundry was a simple three step process of loading the washer with dirty clothes, adding detergent, and drying and folding. Now, it seems in at least every load there is one garment that just won’t come clean with normal laundering. Then, there is my furniture, which has seen everything from ink to Hawaiian Punch stains. Don’t even get me started on the carpet……..
I’ve also learned there are some general rules that apply to every stain removal task, the most important being the need to act as quickly as possible when a stain occurs since any “new” stain tends to come out easier than any “old” stain. Other important rules to follow are always reading any care information you have on fabrics before tackling a stain and when in doubt about your chosen method try first on a hidden area just in case. I’ve also learned that its important to follow the directions on stain removal products and to be careful about mixing multiple products when your first product fails. In fact, I’m not really fond of most stain removal “magic formulas” as they can be expensive, questionable to use on many fabrics, and a lot of time not as efficient as homemade remedies.
Here is a list of common household stains and their simple remedies.
Fix- peroxide will dissolve blood and keeps stain from spreading when try to rub stain out. Any stain leftover is best treated with cool water and laundry detergent.
I know it sound pretty gory, but after my first c-section, I developed a blood clot under the incision which bled quite substantially for about two weeks to the point it looked as though we’d taken up to slaughtering chickens in our condo. I had blood stains all over my furniture, carpet, and bed sheets. My grandmother came to stay with me after my surgery and I have her to thank for teaching me about how well peroxide removes blood. When porn over a blood stain, the peroxide fizzes up (which a good thing- don’t freak out about your fabric) and eats away and dissolves the blood. Sometimes, especially if treated early peroxide will take care of the stain completely. If any stain is leftover, however it always come out very easily for me with a little cold water and detergent. Hot water doesn’t work as well.
GUM OR ANYTHING SOLID AND STICKY
Fix- place the whole garment in the freezer or rub ice cubes over stain to harden so you can peel/pick stain off.
This is a common and well taught stain removal method, but not a no brain-er for every person. When I find gum or play dough mushed on something, I DON’T EVEN THINK about trying anything other than hardening it with ice and pulling it off, because literally everything things else you do will only make the stain worse.
STUBBORN RED STAINS (PARTICULARLY ON CARPET)
Fix- Soak up any excess liquid with an old towel. Using another LIGHTLY COLORED OR WHITE towel that won’t bleed its color, place over stain and steam iron stain over the towel. The stain will transfer from the carpet to the towel.
I’ve had a lot of luck using this method to get Hawaiian Punch and red wine stains out of my carpet. It works best when you act quickly before the stain sets in and dries (refer to the golden number 1 rule of stain removal) but I’ve also managed to remove old stains from my carpet which I thought were surely permanent- It just takes longer on old stains so you have to keep at it.
GRAPE JUICE STAINS
Fix- warm lemon juice or vinegar.
This type of stain is very important to act quickly on as I have found grape juice stains often next to impossible to remove after they’ve dried. First, apply lemon juice and rub gently with an old tooth brush, this should lighten and remove the stain. If you aren’t getting anywhere with the lemon juice or don’t have any, move onto vinegar. This type of stain tends to come out slowly but surely so you have to keep at it. If you throw the garment into the washer, check to make sure stain is gone before drying in your dryer.
PET URINE STAINS
Not only will the smell of ammonia get rid of urine odor (I particularly like lemon scented ammonia) the smell will most likely ward off your pet from re-soiling the area. This is handy to know as a lot of pet stain products are expensive and sometimes don’t even work as well as this method.
GREASE OR OIL STAINS
Fix- 409 spray or Dawn dish soap
Be sure to soak up any excess grease or oil so stain doesn’t spread during removal. In my experience 409 and Dawn will dissolve the stain if caught early and before it sets.
NAIL POLISH AND PERMANENT MARKER STAINS
Fix- Acetone nail polish.
It may seem like a no brain-er to use nail polish remover to remove nail polish, but many don’t think of using it on anything but their nails. When using nail polish remover on fabrics, you want to be sure to test in a hidden area first, but I’ve found it to be safe on most things, particularly my furniture which I was most hesitant. Nail polish also works well when removing magic marker stains.