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Stains are inevitable and you will encounter it in your day to day activities at home. It can come from various things, from spilled food or pen and marker stains and even sitting water. Removing any kind of stain can be stressful and tricky.
Different types of stains require different types of detergent and experimenting with cleaning agents and solutions may only hurt your fabrics or your favourite furnitures more. We've gathered the best ways to clean stains for you, so you won't have to worry when your favourite rug is dirty!
1. Food Stains on Table Cloth or any Washable Fabric
Different foods cause stains worse than others, and there are million different ways on how to take care of them.
For starters, it is absolutely important to scrape off excess residue of food from the fabric as first step to prevent the food from causing further stains on its surroundings. Run the underside of the stained part under a tap immediately afterwards to push the stain away instead of keeping it intact. Carefully pat the stain with a liquid detergent and leave it for a few minutes. This will concentrate the detergent in the stained spot.
As an alternative, use a powder detergent mixed with water to create a paste. Afterwards, the fabric or table cloth can now be washed normally as how you would do it. For stubborn stains, bleach can always do the job. However, take extra caution when using bleach for coloured fabrics. For coloured fabrics, go for colour-safe bleach.
2. Liquid Stains on Marble or Granite
Countertops made from marble or granite will totally rock your kitchen. However, these materials are porous. Liquid can penetrate them leaving stains quickly and if not wiped off immediately, even water can leave nasty marks.
Similarly with marble or granite flooring, avoid setting sharp objects directly on top of it and use padding if available as scratches can accumulate dirt and stains easier.
For marble or granite stains, a home-made poultice of baking soda and water can be your best friend. Mix them together to create a consistency same as sour cream and apply it on top of the stain. Cover it with a plastic wrap and leave it for twenty four (24) hours. In the process, the poultice will attempt to lift up the stains away from the surface. Wipe it off with a damp cloth and if stain marks are still noticeable, repeat the process by putting another layer of poultice covered with plastic wrap.
3. Water Marks on Wood
Stubborn water rings on wooden surfaces from a cold glass of water, flower vase or extremely hot bowl of food can ruin the whole appearance of your wooden furniture. This happens due to the trapped moisture inside the wood.
However frustrating, it is quite easy to remove by just using simple kitchen ingredients like olive oil and salt. Mix these ingredients to create a paste and apply liberally on top of the marks. The salt helps to draw the moisture out of the wood and the olive oil helps the wood to heal and regenerate back to its original state.
Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes and then wipe off! The table may feel greasy, so you may have to wipe the table again with a slightly damp cloth, and finish it with a good furniture polishing spray. Your wooden furniture will look flawless as new afterwards. Toothpaste may also be an olive oil and salt mixture substitute. Just be sure to wipe the toothpaste off of the table entirely after the process.
4. Oil Stains on Leather
Leather is a durable and highly stylish material. However, it can be quite tricky to clean and maintain. Even finger marks are enough to cause discoloured patches. Leather can absorb the dirt very quickly so immediate care should be exercised at the onset of the stain.
As for oil, whether it be from food, hair or grimy hands, powder can luckily absorb the oil really fast! Start by dabbing the grease with a microfibre cloth to remove the oil that can still be soaked away. Do not scrub the leather with the cloth as it may ruin the leather further. Instead, a good dose of corn starch rubbed with the stain using your fingers will do the trick. Make sure to have a nice, good rub until heat from friction can be felt. This indicates that the corn starch is doing its job in transferring the oil away from the leather. Finish it off with a leather polish!
5. Markers or Pens on Fabrics and Hard Surfaces
There are times when you probably forgot to put protection of any sort under the paper while you were writing with a Sharpie, and when you lifted the paper, tada! There are dots of marker on your table. A pen may even sometimes slip away from your hands causing ink stains on your favourite shirt. For these instances, the fastest thing to get a hold of is a bottle of hand sanitizer. Squirt pea-sized amounts onto the affected area and let it work for several minutes, and repeat the process till the stain clears off.
Be sure to get the clear sanitizer, since coloured ones may just cause another stain. As for hard surfaces, you can clean it off with a bottle of isopropyl alcohol. This should be avoided for some types of wood because it can leave white marks. To be safe, initially test a sample spot on the underside of the table, or anywhere it couldn’t be seen before attempting to pour away over the stain.
Wipe it off immediately afterwards, and repeat if needed. Never leave the alcohol lingering on the wood. Bonus tip is to trace the marker stain over with a whiteboard marker. The alcohol in the whiteboard marker kills the indelibility of the permanent marker. As usual, wipe it off afterwards.
6. Food and Drinks on Carpet
Carpets at home can easily be considered the best stain magnet. It protects our floors from scratches and occasional damage from dropped objects 24/7, so no matter how much you want to avoid getting stubborn dirt and stains on your carpet, it is very much inevitable. Patches or scattered dirt may even require you to clean the entire thing if the whole floor is carpeted.
Not to worry, simple household materials can kick away carpet stains in no time. You will be needing a detergent mixed with water to create a simple solution. It doesn’t have to be thick. After scraping away the residue, get a plain white cloth dipped into the solution and carefully dab the stain. Do not rub, instead, continuously dab for at least 10 minutes or until the stain has faded. Soak another dry cloth in the spot to remove the excess. The carpet will only attract more dirt with the detergent still present. To take care of this, it is necessary to dab the spot again, this time with another white cloth dipped in white vinegar. The vinegar will break down the detergent to avoid the carpet from getting any more dirtier. To rinse away the vinegar, blot it with a cloth dipped in lukewarm water. Wait for it to dry and repeat the steps until the stain fades and the until the vinegar is removed off of the carpet.
7. Wine on Fabric
Red wine in particular can be very vivid and noticeable against any type of material due to its colour. No matter how cheap or expensive a wine is, if it spills, it will only stain the same way. The best way to treat wine-stained fabrics is to run it under flowing water as quickly as possible. If left for a short while, the wine may set and permanently stay with the fabric.
For unmovable surfaces like sofa, just be sure to soak as much wine from the affected area using a cloth and have it diluted. As first aid, apply a ton of salt on top of the stain and let it dry overnight. Magically, the salt will absorb the wine in the affected area. However, this may not completely solve the problem. For solutions, a mixture of three parts hydrogen peroxide with one part dishwashing liquid can be considered. Pour the solution over the fabric and leave it for a while. Before it dries up completely, pour over the solution again, and repeat until the fabric loses all trace of the wine. Surprisingly, just running the fabric under boiling hot water can do the absolute trick.
8. Rust Stains on Fabrics and Hard Surfaces
Rust can be found mostly on surfaces made of metal, or any other spot where metal is present. Due to moist and other factors, some metal may oxidise faster and even cause stains on its surrounding surfaces. It may even harbour on our bathrooms and fixtures if left unnoticed. Most of the time, rust can easily be removed by brushing hard surfaces with abrasives like dishwashing pads or steel brushes.
However effective, long term practice may only cause further and nastier damage to the stained surface. For fabrics, simply soak the stained spot with vinegar by pouring directly on the stain. Lemon juice can also be an alternative, however, lemon juice tend to make coloured fabrics fade so use it with caution. Sprinkle a bit of salt over the spot and leave it for thirty minutes. Repeat the process if necessary, and then wash the fabric normally afterwards. For hard surfaces like sinks and bath tubs, you can use a mixture of baking soda and water to form a paste. It shouldn’t be too thick, but it shouldn’t be runny as well. Apply the paste on the stained area and leave it sitting for thirty minutes. With an old toothbrush, attempt to brush away the stains from the surface. When all else fails and the rust still looks offensive, maybe it’s time for you to rub a pumice stone or sandpaper directly onto the stain.
Do it gently to avoid causing more damage to the surface. Most stains can still be removed if handled properly so as immediate as possible, it is wise to take care of the stains at the onset. Some stains may set quickly if left for a short while, and if heat is applied, reaction may even cause some stains to be impossible to remove. Most importantly, avoid stains as much as possible. Cover with a napkin when dining out, use coasters for wooden tables, and handle things with clean hands. This will not only save us from stressing about how to kill the stains, but this will also maintain the quality of our furnitures, clothes, and other things to be preserved to last for a lifetime.
9. Blood or Urine Stains
Accidents can happen at home, especially in the kitchen! If you've cut yourself and leave blood stains on your clothes, worry not! Simply apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to the affected area. Blot the stained area with a clean cloth just after application. If this does not work, apply a small amount of laundry detergent directly onto the stain. This will help break up the proteins found in bodily fluids. Brush the spot vigorously. Remember to clean bloodstains with cold water only, as hot liquids will set these stains for good. For families with young kids, this trick will really help with getting rid of urine stains on your kids' bedsheets and mattress!