How to Clean Every Single Kind of Stain
We’ve all been in the unfortunate situation where we’re taking a sip of coffee and it spills on our nice work clothes. Or, we’re out at dinner with friends and a bite falls off the fork, staining our perfectly good jeans. Perhaps a new puppy ruined a nice carpet, or lipstick somehow got on a dry-clean-only shirt. No matter what the story is, stains are a pain.
You never know when stains are going to pop up, and you might not always be prepared to treat them. Life is messy and everyone has to get used to that, but stains don’t have to be permanent. The basics that everyone needs to know are pretty easy and straightforward.
First, you need to deal with it as soon as possible. The longer you let it sit, the harder it will be to get out. Second, pre-treat the stain with a stain remover and let it soak. Last, dab (never rub) the stain with a detergent or ammonia solution (depending on the stain). Whatever you do, don’t put it in the dryer until the stain is gone. If you put it in the dryer before the stain is gone, that just sets the spot.
If you follow the steps listed above, most of your stain problems should be solved. However, we have a list of every kind of stain with specific treatment instructions to guarantee you a spot-free existence. Keep reading to learn how to clean every single kind of stain there is.
It might seem impossible to get that pulpy OJ out of your carpet, but it isn’t. Use one tablespoon of dish soap mixed with 10 ounces of water to blot on the stain. Keep blotting until the stain is as gone as you can get it. Then, use a warm towel to blot a solution of one part ammonia with two parts water on any remaining residue.
Berries can be a different monster because of the chunks they leave behind, so you have to scrape as much of the berry off the fabric as possible. After that, all you need to do is mix half a teaspoon of dish soap with half a cup of hydrogen peroxide, blot your heart out, and rinse it off before you wash it.
Gum is one of the hardest things to get out because it gets deep in the fibers of whatever it’s stuck to. To get rid of this, rub an ice cube over it to freeze the gum and then scrape off as much excess as possible. Use a glycerin lubricant and rub it over the rest of the stain before scraping it off. If there’s anything left, dab it down with dish soap.
Coffee can be tricky, especially if it had sugar or milk in it. To get rid of this one, pour boiling water through the stain and follow with an oil solvent and pre-treatment. Let this mixture sit for about 30 minutes before you wash the fabric.
Candle wax and gum stains are surprisingly similar in terms of how you get rid of them. You rub an ice cube on the wax so you can chip it off, just like with gum, and then pour boiling water over the rest. That helps to melt the wax and rinse it out of your garments.
With all the different dyes and textures, ice cream can be a nightmare to get out. First, rinse the stain really well with cold water. It works best if you use a stain pretreatment, especially for the more heavily dyed frozen treats. Then, fill a sink with cold water and a few drops of detergent, let it soak, and it’s ready for the wash!
Don’t you hate it when you drop your meatball and splatter sauce all over yourself? To get rid of those pesky stains begin by running the sauce from the back of the fabric. Then, rub liquid laundry detergent in a circular motion on the stained area. Bleach may necessary for white garments. For colored items, you can use hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar. Repeat until the stain no longer appears.
You might think tomato sauce and ketchup would be cleaned the same way, but you’d be wrong. Ketchup needs to be approached with a pretreatment like Shout. If that doesn’t get everything out, you can use a toothbrush to scrub white vinegar on the rest of it.
Mustard might seem like a scary stain because of the bright yellow color, but it really isn’t. All you have to do to remove this spot is rinse it with white vinegar and let that famous dish soap mixture (half a teaspoon of dish soap with half a cup of hydrogen peroxide) sit on it for about 15 minutes. After that, wash it and go!
If you have kids, grandkids, or if you like outdoor activities yourself, then you know how hard grass stains can be to get out. Surprisingly, all you have to do is use a pretreatment, let it sit for about 15 minutes, and rub the solution in with a toothbrush to really get the color out of all the fibers.
Salad dressing can be tricky, especially when you consider that some have oil, vinegar, cheese, and a lot of other ingredients that like to leave a gross stain behind. Sprinkle some cornstarch on the spot to soak up oils, then rinse it off with cold water. Apply a pretreatment and let that sit for about 15 minutes before you wash the garment.
Just like with berries, the first step to getting rid of chocolate stains is to scrape off any excess. Then, use the same dish soap mixture (half a teaspoon of dish soap with half a cup of hydrogen peroxide) from earlier to spray it down. Once you’ve dabbed the spot with detergent, it’s ready for the wash.
Ink might be one of the hardest stains to deal with. You have to stop the stain from spreading by using petroleum jelly as a border. Use a toothbrush to work rubbing alcohol into the fabric, then a cotton ball to dab mineral spirits on the ink. Let all of that dry (which will take a minute because of the mineral spirits), and then rinse with our beloved dish soap solution (half a teaspoon of dish soap with half a cup of hydrogen peroxide).
Soy sauce isn’t a stain to get worked up about; it’s actually not too hard to remove. First, rinse the stain with cold water and blot it with the ammonia solution (one part ammonia with two parts water). Rinse it off again, use a pretreatment on it, and then you’re good to throw it in the washing machine!
How do you get rid of a nail polish stain? With nail polish remover, of course! Put the spot face down on paper towels and put nail polish remover on the back. Keep replacing the paper towels to soak up the fluids and reapply the polish remover as often as necessary. When the color is gone, rinse it in cold water and you’re good to go! Just make sure to test your garment before taking care of the spot. Acetone can be harsh on some surfaces.
With all the varieties, textures, and colors of makeup options out there, it might seem impossible to get it all out of your clothes. For foundations and other liquids, use rubbing alcohol with a cotton ball to gently blot the stain away. For most other makeup like powders, pencils, and creams, spray the spot with hairspray and let it sit for 10 minutes. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any extra residue and voilà!
A good old red wine might hit the spot, but it can also leave a nasty one. To get out this tricky stain just coat the whole area with salt and pour boiling water over the spot. If white wine is the issue, run cold water through the back of the stain, spray it down with the same dish soap solution from earlier (half a teaspoon of dish soap with half a cup of hydrogen peroxide), and dab it with a detergent. Remember this next time you’re cooking with wine!
Dirt and Mud
Just like with grass stains, dirt can be a hassle to get out of your nice clothes. Scrape off any extra mud or dirt on the fabric and let everything dry. Dilute a detergent with water and rub it directly on the stain until bubbles start to form. Rinse it all off and then you should be good to go! If that doesn’t do the trick, used a solution of one part water to one part vinegar to blot the rest of the stain away.
It’s so easy to spill some paint during a household project, but it can be just as easy to clean it up. Scrape off any excess paint globs and then dab on detergent diluted with warm water. Let the paint soften and start scraping it off with a butter knife or spatula. You might have to do this a few times, but it will get the stain out!
This can be difficult (and gross) to remove, but you definitely don’t want this stain sticking around. You have to scrape off any excess and rinse the fabric thoroughly with cold water. Then, pretreat the stain by soaking it in warm water and detergent for 30 minutes. To really sanitize everything make sure you add bleach when you throw the fabric in the washing machine.
Everyone with a pet knows the woes of potty training. Luckily, urine is an easy one to get out; it’s just icky to deal with. To get rid of this stain, all you have to do is dab the spot with detergent and let it sit for 15 minutes before you throw it in the wash.
Getting rid of bloodstains can be especially tricky because it matters if the stain is dry or wet. For dry stains, soak the fabric in saltwater for a few hours before rinsing. Use the ammonia solution (one part ammonia with two parts water) to treat it and really get the stain out. If the spot is wet, soak it in water and then dab on some ammonia with a cotton swab.
Anyone can be a victim of yellow underarm stains. To get rid of this embarrassing spot, dab it with shampoo. If it’s an old and stubborn stain, grind up a few digestive enzyme tablets and make a paste with water. Put that paste directly on the pesky stain and let it sit for an hour. When it comes out of the washing machine it’ll be sparkling clean.
Another really gross stain to deal with is vomit, especially because of all the different textures it can be. First, you have to scrape off any excess and then pretreat it with detergent for 30 minutes before washing. To really disinfect the area, make sure to use bleach during the washing cycle.
Who knew baby formula could leave such a weird and gross stain? Fortunately, this is an easy one to get rid of. All you have to do is dab the spot with detergent and let it soak for a few hours. Throw that in the wash, and you’ve got a blank canvas for your baby to spit-up on again.