20 Of The Best Stain Removers To Have On Hand

20 Of The Best Stain Removers To Have On Hand

Whether you want to tackle an ink mark on your dress or a full-on red wine stain on the carpet, it pays to have a cleaning product that works. From on-the-go remover pens to industrial-strength bottles guaranteed to get the job done, here are the ones that come highly recommended – plus, some expert advice to ensure you don't put a foot wrong…

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First, John Fitzsimmons – founder and CEO of Fabriclean – shares his insights for taking care of carpets, upholstery & more…

The most helpful piece of general advice I can give anyone is to vacuum their home regularly and avoid clutter wherever possible – be it in living spaces, wardrobes… wherever. Not rotating your belongings encourages things like dust and moths. Things need to be exposed to light and air, or otherwise securely packed away for utmost protection.
Most stains are water soluble. That means that, when it comes to removing them, it’s a good policy to use only small amounts of water – around a quarter of a cup. Excessive liquid added to the stain can sometimes leave a mark, thereby compounding the problem.
Originally, people only had standard carpets. You know the type – tufted types with a decent pile. These days, there’s a lot more sisal and flatweave around, as well as synthetic carpets which imitate plant-based carpet. In my professional experience, traditional carpets are now the exception not the norm, and the cleaning options for each are now far more varied. Don’t scrimp on the underlay, either – it might increase the price, but it makes the carpet springier and stops it from wrinkling or wearing quite so fast. It can make a big difference when it comes to cleaning and stain removal.

Sisal is a plant-fibre filled with holes, which makes it incredibly absorbent. When liquids come into contact with it, they literally absorb like ink on blotting paper. It might look amazing but it’s heart-breaking when it stains – I must take emergency calls about sisal rugs or carpets every day. Thankfully, there are products you can use – Intech is a natural based protectant spray – there’s a short video on our Instagram about how it works. Instead of absorbing the stain, it will mean the liquid beads up on the surface instead. Even so, people should try to keep food, drinks and pets away from sisal carpets – red wine and coffee in particular can be fatal.
Flatweave carpets, by comparison, are pretty resilient. The only thing I’d say is to avoid any standard cleaning products you might find in the supermarket, as people have a tendency is to overdo it. It’s not that they’re bad products, but people go too hard and can cause yucky marks around the original stain. Instead, try using a small amount of soda water (like San Pellegrino) on a flannel and rub the stain out gently. We also sell home cleaning kits, which are colour coded to tell you how to use each of the three products inside. Between them, they can tackle 98% of stains – including things like shoe polish and nail varnish.
There are many different types of silk carpet these days. Bamboo has also been a big trend since about 2008/9, while fifth generation nylon carpets tend to copy these two. Just know that delicate wool or silk has to be treated with a biodegradable and natural cleaning product. It’s such a common mistake to just follow your instinct and get it clean at all costs – lots of hot water, lots of products etc. But prettier carpets – like those with bright colours and patterns – can be ruined this way. Soda water is usually enough. If you’re really worried, call in the professionals. Most things can be rectified within a week – you’ve got longer to deal with it than you might first think.
If you see something is labelled as ‘bleach cleanable’ it means you can go in with a strong cleaning product – but not standard bleach. As long as it’s a wool or nylon carpet, it shouldn’t shrink – these kinds of carpets can usually withstand some tough products.
Curtains can be dry cleaned on the rail in your home by professionals. Not many people know this, and depending on the severity of the stain, they can also be spot treated. It’s not something we see often (you have to really be trying to badly stain a curtain) but you can always send us a photo on WhatsApp and we can advise from there.
Velvet sofas are really popular now – and they’re up to 98% absorbent. By comparison, dralon is probably only 20% absorbent. It's often extremely well constructed and smart looking – plus, it cleans very well. Along with other fabrics such as woven cotton, linen and 
wool fabrics. Just be aware that dralon velvet is often very hard to distinguish from true velvet. The general rule is that period pieces of furniture which are being recovered are very often re-upholstered with the traditional velvet fabric – the highly water absorbent kind. Conversely, sofas bought ready upholstered with a velvet fabric are often (but not always) dralon velvet. If you're not sure, test an inconspicuous area before cleaning. Also, check the label for any specific care directions and keep all the original paperwork from when you bought it or had it upholstered – the more information the professionals have, the better advice they’ll be able to give you.
It’s perfectly okay to dry clean your valuable clothes – just be careful about where you take them. Depending on the value of any heirloom clothing, and how much you want to spend, American Dry Cleaning co are a great company with a good service. It’s sort of like Jeeves of Belgravia, only without the steep price tag. Other options include 99 Dry Cleaners, who will collect and deliver your laundry.
Moths are another common problem these days. It’s inevitable they’ll gather with density of clothing, and they thrive on clutter, too. Where possible, vacuum pack your precious items and move them around regularly. Those opaque plastic boxes are another good option. It might not be fashionable to say so, but if you’re really worried about moths, then be wary of second-hand clothing – moths often harvest their eggs in there. It's great for the environment and pre-loved clothes are generally sold having been  professionally dry cleaned before sale. But when it comes to buying a secondhand garment from a market trader or online, which may not have been dry-cleaned, it would be a good idea to take it directly to a dry cleaner before bringing it into the home.
If you’ve inherited moths in the carpet, they’ll need regular cleaning. Professionals will make sure the job is done thoroughly – that means going behind beds, furniture etc. We often use a powerful machine they can’t withstand, and we’ll spray areas thoroughly afterwards, too, to create a completely inhospitable environment for them.
When it comes to cleaning or stain removal, it pays to be conscious of allergies. Any kind of cleaning that’s done should be done advisedly – and it’s okay to know it won’t work for everyone. Sometimes, wooden floors, leather sofas and wooden blinds have to be installed for a reason.
If cleaning your carpets or removing stains feels like too much, ask for professional advice. We work with so many interior designers these days, cleaning professionals like us have a lot of untapped knowledge and are prepared to give the best, and most relevant advice. It’s not about spending a ton of money, either – it’s about what’s best for your home.
Visit Fabriclean.co.uk for more information.


At home, most spills and accidents happen on carpets, and while Dr Beckmann’s is the gold-standard for lifting out tough marks and dirt, these days there are plenty of eco-options which pack just as strong a punch, without the risk of setting off allergies.


Are you one of those people who can’t get through the day without dropping something on your outfit? These days, there are plenty of clothing-specific stain removers which promise to remove stains without damaging delicate garments.

Upholstery & Fabric

If you love curling up on the sofa with a glass of wine or cup of tea, chances are it’s only a matter of time before something gets spilled. The Astonish brand comes highly recommended by the likes of cleaning guru Mrs Hinch, while classics like the 1,000 Mousse are still hard to beat.


Gone are the days of walking round with marks on your clothes or bag until you can head home to rescue them. Be it in the form of a handy pen or wipe, there are now several products designed to be taken on the move. Throw one of these handy products in your bag to ensure you’re never caught short again.


Perhaps you have unruly toddlers in your house, or maybe you’ve just moved in – either way, marks and scuffs on the walls are all part of family life. To touch them up in between paint jobs, use one of these dedicated products to tide you over.

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