Hot water or cold water? Pre-soak or straight in the machine? Air dry or tumble dry? When it comes to successfully removing a stain, there’s different advice to combat each culprit but the one thing all stains have in common is you need to act fast. The trick to easy removal is to get to work on the stain as quickly as possible.
Process: Soak the clothing for one hour in cold water. Apply a cleaning product such as Ariel Washing Liquid to the stain and then wash as normal according to the fabric care label.
Stain: Red wine
Process: Dab or flush with carbonated or soda water and wash.
Stain: Nail varnish
Process: Use nail varnish remover or acetone on all fabrics except synthetics, then wash as normal.
Stain: Butter/cooking oil/grease
Process: Treat with a cornflour or washing detergent and leave for an hour then wash at the hottest temperature allowed according to the fabric label.
Process: Gently rub the fabric with a cloth with soap or a little washing up liquid and then wash. Dab with methylated spirits if the fabric isn’t washable.
Stain: Chocolate/egg /curry/chilli/mustard
Process: Pre-treat with washing detergent directly on to the stain and then leave for a few minutes before washing as normal.
Process: For all fabrics except wool or silk, sprinkle on salt and lemon juice, leave overnight and then wash as normal.
Process: Dab with acetone (nail polish remover).
Process: For a fresh stain, rinse immediately with cold water then wash according to the care label. For older stains, apply washing detergent directly to the stain and then soak in water containing more detergent for two hours before washing as normal.
Process: Grass is a combination of protein and dye. Detergent should remove most stains. Dab any remaining dye with methylated spirits.
Process: For water-based paints, acrylic, emulsion and school paints, rinse while still wet in running water then wash according to the label. For oil-based paint and varnish, sponge clean with white spirit or paintbrush cleaner then wash according to the label. Dried paint can be scraped or picked off, but is difficult to wash off.
Process: Use clear vinegar or lemon juice. Soak or sponge with vinegar, with use lemon juice on wool. Then rinse and wash.
It’s bound to happen, the toppled cuppa or the muddy dog. Get educated and keep your carpets clean all the time.
Stain: Pet Mess
Process: Pick up any debris and blot up any moisture without rubbing it in. If a stain has dried, you’ll need to moisten it and apply a carpet stain removal product (see below). You can neutralise any odour with white wine vinegar or white wine. Just mix with water and spritz on the stain. Alternatively, mix laundry detergent with warm in a spray bottle, spray the area and blot after a few minutes.
Process: Use cold water, not hot, because blood coagulates with heat and cold will prevent the blood from permeating into the carpet fibres. Mix washing up liquid with cold water in a spray bottle and spritz on to the stain. Generously soak the stain and then dry with a white paper towel, transferring the blood from the carpet to the towel.
Process: First blot with a dry white towel. Mix vinegar, water and a gentle, non-bleaching detergent and spritz away, blotting after each application. Keep repeating until its disappeared.
Process: Dampen a clean, white cloth with isopropyl alcohol and proceed by dabbing the wet cloth on the ink stain. Do not rub or this could cause the ink to spread. Blot the stain, rinse with water, assess and repeat if necessary.
There’s often no need to call in the experts to keep your furnishings stain-free, try our four-step cleaning regime:
Step 1 – Make sure you know the fabric cleaning codes.
Some upholstery can be treated with water, others can’t tolerate certain cleaning products, so make sure you know what you’re dealing with. It’s worth keeping a swatch of fabric when you first get your furniture so you can test how it reacts to water, detergent, vinegar and even alcohol, as they can all be used for spot cleaning stubborn stains.
Step 2 – Steam away
If your fabric can tolerate water, a bit of steam will help loosen the stain. You can use a steamer or even the steamer setting on an iron.
Step 3 – Dab, dab, dab
Mix a very small amount of detergent with cool water and gently blot. Rubbing will only push the stain in deeper in to the fabric. Blot with a paper towel. If you can’t use water, you could try vodka or vinegar to clean the stain.
Step 4 – Try harder
If water doesn’t work, you may have to try something more heavy duty, such as a specialist cleaning product like Wine Away or HG Stain Spray.
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