Tips on Cleaning Stains

Woman Giving Thumbs Up for Cleaning Stains.

How to Clean and Remove Stains

Life is messy and because stains happen. When it comes to cleaning stains off fabrics, carpets or other places in your home, understanding how to properly react and what the best removal technique is can truly cut down on the amount of work you do and the more likely you will be at getting the stain out.

Basic Cleaning Supplies

One thing to always keep in mind is the basic cleaning supplies that you should have easily accessible for cleaning stains.

Here are some basic cleaning supplies to have on hand to handle any stain that comes your way.

  • Clean, white terry or microfiber cloths
  • Spray bottle
  • Gloves
  • Soft bristle brush or toothbrush
  • Paper towels, white without dyes or colorings
  • Hydrogen peroxide (household 3%)
  • Oxiclean product
  • Mild detergent without any fragrances or dyes in it
  • Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar

Keep these products together so that you can easily get them when you need them.

Stains on Clothing

If a stain happens on clothing, treat it as quickly as possible. If necessary, lift any excess spills. Blot stains, do not rub. Consider applying cold water to keep it from setting and always test new stain removal methods in an inconspicuous place first for colorfastness.

Before treating a stain, you may want to put a clean towel in between fabric so stain does not transfer to a clean section of clothing.

Next, use a solution of mild liquid detergent to pretreat the stain. If you have it on hand, another consideration is to use a pretreating product that you find sold for this purpose.

When you do wash the clothing, make sure to air dry it until you know for sure that the stain has been effectively removed.

Juice Stains

In a large bowl or a clean sink (with the drain plugged), mix together 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1 tablespoon liquid laundry detergent and about 4 cups cool water.

Put the stained section in the water and gently rub the stain between your fingers or use a clean soft bristled toothbrush then let soak for 15 minutes.

If any color remains, you can repeat the process or blot with rubbing alcohol. For washable whites, pour hydrogen peroxide over the stain, cover and let sit. Check after 15 minutes, repeat if necessary.

Conquering Laundry Tips

Stains on Carpeting

The second most likely place to find stains is on the carpet.

  • First, if necessary, lift excess material.
  • Using absorbent material, blot up liquids.
  • Mix together 1 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon Dawn dish liquid.
  • Dip a clean cloth in the mixture and dab the stain. Repeat and change to clean area of cloth as needed until stain is gone.
  • Blot with water only to remove any detergent residue.
  • Cover with clean towel until dry.

If any discoloration remains, try hydrogen peroxide (test in inconspicuous spot first) lightly poured over stain. Cover until dry.

If any stain has left an odor behind, cover the area with baking soda. Gently work into carpet fibers with fingers. Cover, let dry then vacuum.

To keep carpets looking fresh, think about having a professional clean once a year, maybe twice if you’re a busy family.

Removing Pet Urine

If possible, remove urine as soon as possible. With absorbent material, blot and remove as much liquid as you can.

Mix together 1 cup white vinegar with 4 cups warm water. Wet the remaining stain with this mixture (it’s not necessary to oversaturate the area). With gloves on, carefully work in stained area but don’t scrub and make a larger stain.

Using more absorbent material, blot up liquid. Cover until dry. If there are lingering odors, cover area with baking soda, again, gently work in with fingers. Cover, let dry, vacuum.

Stain Removal Considerations

Always check with the manufacturer’s labels and/or guidelines before using any product on a surface. This is true for clothing, carpeting, upholstery and hard floor surfaces.

For instance, you might be able to use white vinegar on carpets but you do not want to use on natural stone surfaces, as vinegar is slightly acidic and it can cause permanent damage to the natural stone flooring.