Jan 16, 2013

Cleaning SOS: Common Tough Stains and How to Shift Them

We've all been there: you spot a stain on your floor/wall/favourite item of clothing and try to remove it using your usual methods, only to find nothing seems to get rid of it. Here are some tried and tested solutions to some of the most common tough stains that occur in the home.

If you have kids, you'll know just how hard it can be to get rid of grass stains on children's clothing! While a normal detergent should remove these stains during a standard wash, remnants might still be visible. Clean these off by carefully dabbing at them with methylated spirits.

Not only is blood difficult to clean off fabrics, but it's also pretty unpleasant to deal with. You can shift blood stains by soaking the garment in cold water (never use hot) mixed with a bit of your usual laundry detergent. If this doesn't work, try to remove the stain with hydrogen peroxide.

Water marks
Most common on wooden surfaces like flooring and furniture, these can be really pesky! If the mark hasn't penetrated the wood very deeply (i.e. if it's light in colour), an oil-based substance can be applied to the affected area. Try an oily furniture polish or petroleum jelly. Other methods include rubbing the spot with toothpaste, half a brazil nut (yes, really) or a mild solvent.

If the water mark is dark, this means it has spread further down into the wood and can be more difficult to remove. Extensive water damage may require the replacement of the furniture or solid wood floor in question (browse wood floors online at UK Flooring Direct).

Red wine
Most people know to throw white wine on red wine stains to get rid of them, but why waste perfectly good alcohol on something as mundane as cleaning? Try using soda or carbonated water instead, and give the surface a good rinse afterwards.

Solvent-based paint stains should be tackled with some white spirit, while water and emulsion-based paint marks can be removed simply with warm water, although you'll have to do this immediately while the paint is still wet. Dried paint will have to be scraped off, unfortunately.

Considering how quickly lipstick can fade from the lips on a night out, it's annoying how stubborn it can be when you accidentally get it on your clothes! Apply some washing up liquid or soap to the garment and rub fabric against fabric until the stain is gone. Alternatively, methylated spirits can be used on non-washable clothing.

Candle wax
When the wax has dried, pick off the excess and put a piece of kitchen paper over the top. Go over it with a warm iron until the wax melts and is absorbed into the paper. If there is still a stain on the fabric, use methylated spirits to treat the area before washing as normal.

Chewing gum
Chewing gum can be incredibly tricky to remove, but one way to do it is by freezing the gum with a bag filled with ice cubes and then picking it off. This will obviously be easier on a laminate or wood floor than carpet! If you do get chewing gum tracked into your carpet, try using some WD-40 to loosen the gum.

Do you have any more tips for getting rid of pesky stains around the home? Leave a comment and let us know!

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