No matter how careful one tries to be, stains inevitably occur at some time or other, especially if one has children and animals. Unfortunately there is no universal stain remover for all stains and most stains have to be treated individually.
If possible, stains should be treated as soon as they happen, as this can prevent the stain from setting or hardening and they can then sometimes be easier to remove. If the stain cannot be dealt with immediately or if you can’t identify the stain in a washable fabric, soak the item in cold water and rub it together at the stained area. If the stain remains, mix 2 tablespoons of liquid detergent, 3 tablespoons vinegar and 1 litre of warm water. Apply to the stained area, leave to dry and repeat the process until the stain disappears.
Ballpoint pen and Ink stains.
Mix 1 teaspoon white vinegar and 1 teaspoon methylated spirits together. Soak the cloth in the solution and rub the stain. Rinse off with cold water. Ink stains on upholstery can be treated with salt and skimmed milk. Pour salt over the ink stain, then moisten with the skimmed milk. Leave for several hours before brushing it off and sponging the area with water.
Most food stains will come out if treated promptly. Tomato stains should be rinsed in cold water and then soaked in a soapy solution before being washed normally.
Fruit stains can be treated with a solution of 2 tablespoons household ammonia, 2 tablespoons buttermilk and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Apply the ammonia first, mixed with a little water, then mix the buttermilk and lemon juice and soak the item in the solution overnight. Next day, wash the item and rinse well.
Some fruit stains are particularly difficult to remove, for example, mangoes, beetroot, banana and cherry stains. Treat by rubbing a liquid detergent gently onto the stain or sponge with methylated spirits. Rinse thoroughly. If the stains persist, soak in a mild bleach solution ( one that is suitable for fabrics) and then wash normally and rinse thoroughly.
For carrot juice on baby clothes, pour a few drops of baby oil on the stain and then wash as usual.
Treat a red wine stain immediately by sprinkling salt on it. Then put the item in cold water and try to rub the stain out before washing the fabric. To remove red wine stains from table linen, fill a container with tepid water, add a very small amount of liquid bleach and dip the affected portion in the solution. Rub gently between the fingers until the stain disappears. Rinse thoroughly.
Beer stains on table linen can be removed with very hot water. If the beer stain is on clothes, remove with a solution of equal parts of household ammonia and methylated spirits.
Dairy and Eggs
Milk – sponge with cold water; if the milk stain is old, it can be removed with a solution of diluted ammonia.
An egg white stain can be removed with cold water. Never use hot water as this will set the stain. Egg yolk stains can be treated with a a detergent or a glycerine solution, then washed in warm water.
Rinse and soak blood stains immediately in cold water. For stubborn stains, add a handful of salt to the water. Wash the item as normal.
Try soaking the stains in a lukewarm solution of diluted white vinegar, or else mix equal parts of water and household ammonia. Soak the stains in this solution, then rinse out. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 600ml of water and apply to the stains, then wash as normal.
Candle wax: Try and remove as much wax as possible, using a knife, then apply methylated spirits to the stain, using a linen cloth. Dab the wax gently and repeat until the wax dissolves.
Mud Stains: Let the mud dry before brushing it off, then wash the stain with strained water in which potatoes have been boiled
Grease and Oil: Sprinkle the stains with cornflour or talc powder. Brush the powder off when the grease has been absorbed and rinse in cold water. Finally wash the garment in very hot water.
Oil-based paints: Scrape off as much paint as possible, then mix equal parts of turpentine and ammonia and dab onto the stain with a cloth. Keep re-applying the mixture with a clean cloth to prevent smudging. Rinse well.
Grass stains: Do not use water to wash off grass stains as this will fix the stain – instead, dab the stain with methylated spirits, then wash out with soapy water.
Mould Stains on fabric: Mix 1 tablespoon ammonia and 1 tablespoon salt into 200ml water. Rub this solution into the stain. Leave the item to dry, then wash as usual.
Scorch marks: Cut white onion in half and rub this onto the scorched piece of fabric. Alternatively, try 1/4 teaspoon of borax dissolved in 100ml of water. Rub this solution over the scorch mark and then rinse with clear water.
If stains cannot be avoided, it is good to know that there are solutions to remedy most stains. However, prevention is always better than cure.
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