How to remove 15 common (and annoying) stains

Image: Clean Home Projects

Stains and kids go hand-in-hand. Wherever a child has been, a stain is sure to follow. Whether it’s you, the child, the couch or the carpet there’s no avoiding it! The best thing you can do is act fast, because the longer it’s been there the harder it is to remove.

Be gentle, spot test if you can and try to use natural ingredients like vinegar and bicarb soda instead of harsh chemicals and bleach whenever possible.


  • Rinse immediately in cold water (hot water will set the stain)
  • Submerge in a bucket of water with detergent and soak for 10-15 minutes
  • If the stain has not budged, you can treat with hydrogen peroxide, ammonia or enzyme detergent (always patch test first)


  • Use lukewarm water to treat an oil or butter stain
  • Submerge in a bucket of warm water with detergent for 10-15 minutes
  • Remove and gently dab at the stain with detergent and allow to stand
  • Repeat if needed


  • Soak in lukewarm water immediately
  • Dab some detergent or vinegar (diluted in water) onto the stain
  • Wash on the hottest cycle recommended for that particular fabric, repeat as needed
  • Try not to use powder detergent or a bar of soap as this can set the stain

Red wine

Image: Lifehack
Image: Lifehack
  • Blot the stain with paper towel (don’t rub, this will set the stain)
  • Cover with table salt immediately – it absorbs red wine very quickly
  • Rinse


  • Wash with hot water and detergent
  • Dust with salt and allow to soak in warm water
  • Save bleach as a last-minute solution (and for whites only)


  • Grab a tin of shaving cream and spray it directly onto the stain
  • Allow to soak, then rub it into the fabric
  • Rinse with cold water and repeat as needed

Soft drink

  • Dab at the stain with paper towel and cold water
  • Soak in cold water for 30 minutes
  • Pop in the wash as usual


Image: Wikihow
Image: Wikihow
  • For water-based paint, simply rinse the garment in warm water and wash as usual
  • For oil-based paint, you’ll need turps or paint thinner
  • Rinse then rub a bar of household soap over the top
  • Rinse and wash as usual


  • Blot the stain with a microfibre cloth
  • Use a water-based stain remover to break down the ink
  • Let sit for 10 minutes and blog again with the cloth
  • Wash on a warm setting

Grass Stains

  • Dab the stain with a towel dipped in rubbing alcohol
  • Cover the stain with a mixture of laundry detergent and bicarb soda, allow to sit for 30 minutes
  • Brush away gently with an old toothbrush
  • Wash in cold water


  • Gently brush off the excess chocolate
  • Find some clear sticky-tape and use it to lift out the majority of embedded chocolate
  • Run the garment under a cold water tap
  • Soak in detergent and water for 30 minutes then wash as usual


Image: POPSUGAR Photography / Sarah Lipoff
Image: POPSUGAR Photography / Sarah Lipoff
  • Spray hairspray directly onto the stain and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes
  • Wipe the stain with warm water and a clean cloth
  • Repeat if needed, then wash as usual


  • For greasy sunscreen stains, you need to wait until the garment is dry and then sprinkle bicarb soda onto the stain
  • Allow to sit for 30 minutes then brush away the bicarb and rub the stain with dishwashing liquid
  • Allow to sit for five minutes, then soak the stained garment in hot water mixed with laundry detergent for one hour
  • For the rust-coloured sunscreen stains (caused by the chemical avobenzone), treat with lemon juice and salt. Allow to sit for 30 minutes then brush away and wash as usual


  • Do not freak out! Brush as much of the poo off the clothing as possible, then soak in warm water and an enzyme detergent
  • Pop in the machine with a cup of vinegar
  • Sun-bleach by hanging outside to dry

Candle wax

  • Pop the garment in the freezer for 30 minutes, then gently scrape of the hard wax using tweezers
  • Place the garment wax-side down onto paper towel and smoothe a warm iron over the top
  • Cover the stain with laundry detergent and wash as usual

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