Ultimate guide to stain removal: 37 proven tips image

Everything Against Stains!

It’s always frustrating when you discover a stain on your favourite clothing, tablecloth, or sofa. Fortunately, our team of professional cleaners in London have gathered the best tips and tricks to help you remove stains from grease, coffee, blood, wine, and much more.

The Comprehensive Guide to Removing 37 Common Stains

Removing stains is not only gentler on your clothes but also better for the environment. Instead of washing entire garments, targeted stain removal and proper airing can keep your textiles in great shape.

Quick Tip: Treat stains as soon as they appear. Fresh stains are easier to remove than dried ones, but with patience and the right methods, you can handle even stubborn stains effectively.

Essential Stain Removal Products

  • Regular Dish Soap: Great for tackling various stains, including grass.
  • Gall Soap: An eco-friendly option available in well-stocked grocery stores.
  • Specialised Products: Consider using glycerol/glycerin, ammonia, rubbing alcohol, ethanol, or chemically pure gasoline for tough stains.
  • Pantry Items: Items like salt, lemon, citric acid, tartaric acid, baking soda, vinegar, peanut butter, milk, sour milk, and yoghurt can be highly effective.
  • White Cloths: Always use white cloths to avoid transferring dye from coloured cloths during the stain removal process.

Eco-Friendly Alternatives

  • Baking Soda: Acts as a natural cleaner and deodoriser.
  • White Vinegar: Effective for breaking down many types of stains and also acts as a fabric softener.
  • Lemon Juice: Natural bleaching agent, especially effective on whites.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Works as a natural alternative to bleach but should be used with caution on coloured fabrics.

Specialised Tools

  • Stain Remover Pens: Convenient for on-the-go stain treatment.
  • Soft-Bristle Brushes: Useful for gently working stain removal solutions into fabrics without damaging them.
  • Absorbent Pads: Helps to soak up excess liquid before applying stain removers.

How to Remove Stains Effectively

When removing stains, avoid rubbing, as it can spread the stain and damage the fabric. Instead, dab from the edge towards the centre. Always test any stain removal product on a less visible area to ensure it won’t bleach or damage the material.

General Tips for Stain Removal:

  • Act Quickly: The sooner you treat a stain, the easier it will be to remove.
  • Blot, Don’t Rub: Rubbing can spread the stain and push it deeper into the fabric.
  • Cold Water First: Start with cold water to prevent setting stains, especially for protein-based stains like blood.
  • Avoid Heat: Don’t use hot water or a dryer until the stain is completely gone, as heat can set the stain.
Ketchup stains can be frustrating, but with the right techniques, they can be effectively removed. Learn how to tackle stubborn ketchup stains with our easy-to-follow tips.

Detailed Stain Removal Tips

  • Grease Stains: Start by absorbing as much grease as possible with a paper towel. Sprinkle potato starch or cornstarch over the stain and let it sit overnight. Vacuum up the excess powder, treat it with dish soap, and then wash the fabric as usual.
  • Coffee Stains: For black coffee stains, soak the fabric in hot water. If the coffee contains milk or cream, soak the stain first in cold water and then in the hottest water the fabric can withstand. For delicate fabrics, dab the stain with a mixture of whipped egg yolk and lukewarm water.
  • Blood Stains: Always rinse blood stains with cold water first, as warm water can set the proteins and make the stain permanent. For dried blood stains, soak the fabric in cold water with a couple of tablespoons of salt per litre. For stubborn stains, apply a mixture of two parts baking soda and one part water, let it sit, then scrape off and dab with a damp cloth before washing.
  • Wine Stains: Immediately dab the wine stain with water, then generously sprinkle salt over it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with hot water and wash the fabric. For old wine stains, treat with vinegar diluted in warm water, or soak in hot full-fat milk.
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  • Orange Stains: Mix some ammonia in lukewarm water, dab the orange stain with a cloth soaked in this solution, and then press with dry paper to absorb the remaining stain.
  • Asphalt Stains: Dab newer asphalt stains with chemically pure gasoline. For older stains, rub with peanut butter before washing as usual.
  • Banana Stains: If the banana stain hasn’t darkened, spit on it and work the saliva into the stain, then rinse with water. For light fabrics, use a mixture of lemon juice and water cautiously, as lemon can bleach. For dark stains, apply glycerin before washing with detergent.
  • Blueberry Stains: Dab the blueberry stain with a drop of dish soap in lukewarm water. If more is needed, consider using lemon juice or glycerin for more stubborn stains.
  • Berry Stains: Dab berry stains with apple cider vinegar or lemon, but test first on an inconspicuous spot to avoid bleaching. For dried berry stains, soak the fabric in sour milk or yoghurt overnight.
  • Chocolate Stains: Rinse chocolate stains from the back of the fabric with cold water. Pre-treat with dish soap or liquid detergent and let it sit for a while. Then soak the garment overnight at the highest temperature it can withstand before washing it as usual.
  • Deodorant Stains: Mix dish soap with citric acid, apply to the yellow stains in the armpits, wait for 30 minutes, and then rinse. Alternatively, soak the fabric in a solution of one part vinegar to ten parts water.
  • Fruit and Vegetable Stains: Use a solution of ½ teaspoon citric acid to 1 deciliter of water to remove these stains. For delicate garments, dip the stain in the hottest water the fabric can withstand with a splash of vinegar.
  • Ice Cream Stains: Soak ice cream stains in cold water with dish soap, stir, let sit a bit longer, and then wash the garment as usual.
  • Grass Stains: Pre-treat grass stains with dish soap or soap, let it sit for about an hour, and then wash as usual. For white garments, use pure alcohol or ethanol. Coloured garments benefit from a pre-treatment with dish soap and vinegar.
  • Dirt Stains: Wait until the fabric is dry, then brush or vacuum off as much dirt as possible. Soak the fabric in hot water with dish soap, rinse, and then wash.
  • Ketchup Stains: Ketchup stains can often be removed with regular dish soap and water. For more stubborn stains, use rubbing alcohol.
  • Glue Stains: Dab glue stains with chemically pure gasoline until the stain is gone. Then wash the area with gall soap, let it sit for 30 minutes, and wash the entire garment.
  • Ballpoint Pen Stains: Gall soap or ethanol can dissolve ballpoint pen stains. Be cautious with coloured fabrics as ethanol might bleach them.
  • Resin Stains: Remove resin stains with pure alcohol. Once the stain is gone, wash the fabric as usual.
  • Lipstick Stains: Rub lipstick stains with dry white bread before washing the fabric as usual.
  • Mayonnaise Stains: Scrape off as much of the mayonnaise as possible. Pre-treat the stain with dish soap and then wash the garment as usual.
  • Milk Stains: Remove milk stains with hand soap and water. For old stains, use vinegar or rubbing alcohol, rinse thoroughly, and then wash.
  • Nail Polish Stains: Use acetone to remove nail polish stains from most materials. Avoid using acetone on synthetic fabrics; instead, try chemically pure gasoline.
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  • Oil Stains: Absorb as much oil as possible with a paper towel. Sprinkle potato starch or cornstarch over the stain and let it sit overnight. Shake off or vacuum the excess starch, treat the stain with dish soap, let it soak for a while, and then wash.
  • Peach and Nectarine Stains: Preferably rinse peach and nectarine stains immediately in the hottest water the fabric can withstand. A citric acid solution (½ teaspoon per litre of water) can also work but always test on an inconspicuous spot first. Another method is to add a splash of vinegar to water and try to dissolve the stain.
  • Rust Stains: Remove rust stains with lemon juice, citric acid solution (½ teaspoon per litre of water), or concentrated tartaric acid. Since acids can bleach fabrics, test first. Treat the stain for about 15 minutes and then wash.
  • Shoe Polish Stains: Treat shoe polish stains as soon as possible. For white fabrics, try pure alcohol. For coloured fabrics, dilute the alcohol with water and test on an inconspicuous spot.
  • Makeup Stains: Pre-treat makeup stains with liquid dish soap, detergent, or soap before washing as usual.
  • Sunscreen Stains: Pre-treat sunscreen stains with liquid dish soap or detergent and then wash the garment as usual.
  • Spinach Stains: Fresh spinach stains can be removed with running cold water. Pre-treat with liquid detergent or dish soap before washing. Rubbing a potato on the stain is also an old housewife trick.
  • Permanent Marker Stains: Rubbing alcohol can remove permanent marker stains, but test first to avoid bleaching the fabric.
  • Wax Stains: To remove wax from clothes, start by scraping off as much as possible. Place paper towels on your ironing board, lay the fabric with the stain on top, and add another layer of paper towels. Iron the fabric so the wax melts and is absorbed by the paper towels. Repeat until the stain is gone, then treat the remaining stain with dish soap and wash. For wax on glass, place the glass in the freezer overnight. The wax will shrink and can be easily picked out the next morning. Wash with hot water and dry with a paper towel.
  • Sweat Stains: Treat sweat stains with regular soap or liquid detergent before washing. For clothes discoloured by sweat, use a solution of vinegar and warm water before washing. For workout clothes, keep a spray bottle with vinegar and water. Regularly spray the sweatiest areas, let sit for ten minutes, and then wash as usual.
Sweat stains can be tough to remove, but with our effective tips, you can keep your clothes looking fresh and clean. Learn how to tackle sweat stains with ease.
  • Tea Stains: Rinse plain tea stains in the hottest water the fabric can withstand immediately. If the tea contains milk or cream, soak the stain first in cold water and then in boiling water if the fabric can handle it. If the stain remains, dab with a mixture of alcohol and vinegar.
  • Tomato Sauce Stains: Rinse or soak tomato sauce stains in cold water for an hour. Treat the stain with glycerin, let it sit for a while, and then wash.
  • Printer Ink Stains: Pre-treat printer ink stains by rubbing in some soap, then wash as usual.
  • Beer Stains: Dampen beer stains with white vinegar to remove them.

Stain Prevention Tips:

Protective Coatings: Consider using fabric protectors on furniture and carpets to make stain removal easier.

Immediate Action: Always have a small emergency stain removal kit ready, especially when travelling.

Professional Help

When to Seek Professional Cleaning services: If the stain is extensive, or the fabric is delicate or very valuable, professional cleaning services might be the best option.