Who You Gonna Call? – Stain Busters?

Below is a list of common stains and the best solvent or cleaning solutions to use for stain removal. NOTE: Before using these cleaners, it is best to test a hidden spot on stained surfaces before using any of the cleaning solutions or solvents to be sure they won’t be damaged.

  • Chewing Gum – Freeze gum with ice and chip the hardened material off fabrics. Use WD-40 to remove gum from hard surfaces like wood or metals. Also use WD-40 to remove gum from hair. Wash off after gum is removed.
  • Chocolate – Remove excess chocolate from fabric and rinse the stain with a solution of 2 tablespoons ammonia and 1 cup of warm water.
  • Coffee/Tea – Rinse coffee and tea stains from fabrics with cold water. Use a solution of 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 cup of cold water.
  • Fruit Juice – Pour table salt over heavy spills on carpet to absorb the juice. Vacuum up the salt and rinse the stain with a solution of 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 cup of cold water.
  • Grease – Put a drop of liquid dish detergent on grease-spattered fabric and let the spot soak for a day before laundering. Blot at grease spots on non-washable fabrics using a clean cloth dipped in dry cleaning solvent. Dry cleaning solvent is available at your local hardware store.  Be sure to follow printed directions carefully.  Use a clean spot on the cleaning cloth to blot the stain until all the grease has been removed.
  • Crayon – Spray crayon marks on walls and furniture with dry-cleaning solvent.
  • Ink – Remove ink stains from most surfaces using nail polish remover, acetone or WD-40. On non-washable fabrics use dry-cleaning fluid. Dab or wipe ink stains with a white cleaning cloth dipped in solvent. As ink transfers to the cloth, move to a clean spot and use more solvent until the stain is gone. Launder washable fabrics and dry-clean non-washables.
  • Blood – Rinse repeatedly with cold water to remove fresh blood from fabric. Scrub with liquid laundry detergent and rinse with cold water until stain is gone. On carpeting and upholstery, use a wet/dry vacuum  to pull water and blood stain out
  • Red Wine – Use salt to absorb the excess red wine on fabrics, carpets and upholstery. Vacuum up the salt and rinse in cold water. When possible, launder with detergent and cold water.  On other surfaces, use cold water to saturate the stain and use a wet-dry vacuum to pull out the excess water and wine stains.  Saturate tough red wine stains with vinegar and rinse in cold water.
  • Pet Stains – Saturate carpet stains with a solution of 2 tablespoons ammonia and 1 cup of cold water or 4 tablespoons white vinegar and 1 cup of cold water Pat dry with a terry towel.
  • Tarnish – Clean tarnished metals using a mixture of salt, flour and vinegar in equal portions. The paste can be used to clean copper, brass and bronze. Wash off the paste and buff to a shine. Another method is to dip a lemon slice in hot vinegar and then salt. Use the lemon slice to clean the tarnish on copper, brass and bronze.
  • Wax – Remove excess wax with a putty knife or similar tool from tablecloth. If possible, lay the stained cloth over several layers of thick paper such as grocery bags. Use a steam iron set on medium, to heat the paper and soften the wax underneath. The wax will be absorbed onto the paper. When the paper becomes saturated with wax, use a clean piece of paper and continue until all the wax has been removed. Remove the wax residue with dry-cleaning fluid.

There are many tips for household stain removal but these basics should get you started.


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