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How to Tackle Stains
Published on Sunday, 05 May 2013

How to Tackle Stains

Stains will unfortunately be a regular occurrence in your house or on your clothing, due to everyday wear and tear and active living. There are so many ways to remove stains and sometimes it really is a case of trial and error. But using some old-fashioned methods really can do the job. Depending on what and where the stain is, there are different methods for different stains. Here is a brief guide to the classics.

Food

Chewing gum can be a real pain to remove from surfaces, especially carpets if it has been stepped on. Try rubbing ice on chewing gum to freeze it and scrape off as much as you can with a blunt knife. Sometimes chewing gum can be peeled off after heating a little with a hairdryer. Remember it’s a bit of a messy job so try and avoid picking it off bit by bit. For messy foods such as chocolate and tomato ketchup, wait for the stain to dry and then scrape off as much as you can with a blunt knife followed by soaking with some soapy water or carpet cleaner. Oil and grease stains can be very tricky to remove. Depending on where the stain is, try carpet shampoo, pre-wash stain treatment or a proprietary stain remover.

Drink

Depending on the food or drink in question, there are a number of techniques to clean and remove stains left by food or drink. Anything left untreated can create a stubborn stain and an even more unwanted odour. Beer and tea stains can be removed with warm soapy water and a sponge, whereas red wine can be removed by blotting with kitchen towel, soaking with sparkling or soda water and blotting once more. Fruit juices should be immediately dabbed to avoid staining and treated with a stain remover.

Make up

Most make up stains should be soaked for the best results. Hair dye can be a tricky and stubborn stain to tackle but washing soda and cold water will normally be the most effective way to remove them from fabrics. Surfaces such as tiles should be wiped almost immediately to avoid staining, as these will be a lot more difficult to remove. Lipstick stains can be scraped off fairly easily using a blunt knife and then cleaned afterwards with some soap or washing up liquid, followed by washing as usual. Remove nail varnish from carpet with a carpet shampoo product. And to remove nail varnish from fabrics, lay the fabric face down on a cloth and dab the stain with nail-varnish remover. If stains are particularly stubborn, seek professional help from a dry cleaner.

Pen, glue and wax

Pen stains can be easily scrubbed away (gently) with a nail brush and some warm water mixed with detergent solution. Crayon and pen should be blotted away to avoid stubborn marks worsening.  Similarly to chewing gum, glue and candle wax can both be treated with an ice cube and then scraped off with a blunt knife. For glue in particular, another trick is to start by sponging the area with warm soapy water a couple of times, to dissolve the glue.

Grass and pollen

Grass stains are always one of the most stubborn stains to remove. Stain remover products are your best bet. Very stubborn stains can be removed by dabbing gently with methylated spirit. Pollen stains will need to be dabbed and lifted, try this with a little sticky tape or remove with a hand-held vacuum. Any left-over marks can be treated with a stain remover.

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