Guide to Remove and Clean up Stains

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None of us wake up in the morning and say to ourselves “I think I need to practice our stain removal skills today”.

At least for me, I know that at some point in the day those skills will be put to the test.

As soon as I got married, I was introduced to the art of cleaning up my spouse’s trail of messes. Apparently, our children inherited his “Oops. I spilled it” gene.

My skills have now been honed and I have successfully reached the expert level. So are you ready to get started? Let’s get busy cleaning.

Kids and Kool-Aid Stains

As a child, my mother always had a cold pitcher of Kool-Aid in the refrigerator. I loved Kool-Aid, however I was not the most coordinated kid in the world and always wound up with it on my school clothes. My favorite cherry flavored drink always got splattered on my white blouse, sorry Mom. But my mom always found a way to get rid of the stain.

Here’s what you can do if you have kids that spill Kool-Aid on their clothes:

  1. Fill a tea kettle with water and boil. Carefully pour the boiling water over the stain. Watch your hands and keep the kids away.
  2. If any stain remains, make a thin paste of OxiClean and water and apply to stain. Allow this to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Run this through a regular wash cycle. Check to see if stain is removed before putting the item in the dryer.

Removing a Chocolate Stain from Clothing

Every parent (at some time or another) has experienced walking into a room only to discover your little one’s face covered in chocolate. You think to yourself this would be a great picture to send the grandparents, that is until you look down and see the chocolate stains.

Let’s begin this stain training technique as chocolate will always be on your kid’s clothes. At least until they get older.

  1. Using a butter knife or something with a dull edge, scrape what chocolate you can from the garment.
  2. Sprinkle the area with corn starch and work it around with your fingernail to absorb the grease from the chocolate. (Yes, chocolate has grease.)
  3. Keep doing this until you are satisfied that all of the grease has been absorbed. Dump the excess powder in the trash.
  4. Rinse with lukewarm water, then take the fabric in both hands and scrub the stained area together until as much of the stain is gone as possible.
  5. There may still be a small stain remaining at this point. Apply rubbing alcohol to the spot and work it into the stained area with your fingernail, let sit about 10 minutes. Rinse and repeat as needed.
  6. At this point the stain should be gone, if slight discoloration remains, pretreat and wash as usual.
  7. Make sure to check and make sure the stain is gone prior to putting the item in the dryer.

Cleaning a Mustard Stain

Oops, it was a quick lunch and we opted for the quick and easy hot dog – and what’s a hot dog without yellow mustard? I know mustard has slopped out of my hot dog a time or two and I’m sure it’s bound to happen again.

Yellow mustard contains turmeric, which, among other things, is used as a dye. Mustard will instantly leave a stain. As soon as you can, treat the stain.

  1. Use a spatula or butter knife to lift up any solids that remain on the item. Be careful not to spread the mustard creating a larger area to clean.
  2. Flush the remaining mustard from the backside of the fabric as completely as you can with cold water.
  3. Mix together 1 tablespoon Dawn dish soap (that’s what I have on hand) and 2 tablespoons Hydrogen Peroxide (3%). Use the spoon to put this mixture on the stained area and work it into the stain with your fingers or a toothbrush. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Run the item under cold water. You should see definite signs of the stain lightening. Repeat if needed.
  5. If you still see a slight stain after using the dish soap and hydrogen peroxide, rinse completely with cold water, pour just the hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol over the stain, cover, let sit another 10 to 15 minutes then check. You may need to repeat this process and let sit overnight.
  6. Launder in as hot of water as the item can tolerate.

If you cannot get to the stain immediately, at the very least, remove as much as you can by blotting it with cold water. Fully clean the mustard stain when you get home.

Cleaning Rusted Chrome

If you have a rusty piece of chrome, it can be cleaned by using aluminum foil and water.

  1. Rinse the surface clean of dirt/debris, etc.
  2. Cut a small square of the aluminum foil, dip it in the water or sprinkle water on the item you’re cleaning.
  3. Rub the aluminum foil over the surface. You will most likely notice a brownish color as you’re cleaning. There is a chemical reaction going on that will get rid of rust and polish the surface.
  4. Wipe the surface when you’re done and polish the chrome if desired.

As you are rubbing the item as mentioned in Step 3, when you feel the surface is getting smoother and there is quite a bit of the brownish liquid, stop, rinse the gunk, grab a new piece of aluminum foil, dip in water and start again. Repeat Step 3 until you get the results you’re looking for.

If the surface is pitted, you can try using a wadded up piece of foil and follow the steps above. This may help but may not remove all the rust.

Stain Removal Cleaning Tips Guide
Stain Wool
(washable)
Wool
(non-
washable)
Silk
(washable)
Silk
(non-
washable)
Cotton / Linen Synthetic
(washable)
Synthetic
(non-
washable)
Alcohol beverage / Soft Drink Stain Water and alcohol Water and alcohol Water and alcohol Water and alcohol Water and alcohol Water and alcohol Water and alcohol
Alkalis Cool water
acid
Cool water
acid
Cool water
acid
Cool water
acid
Cool water
acid
Cool water
acid
Cool water
acid
Candy / Syrup Stain Launder Warm water Launder Warm water Launder Launder Warm water
Cocoa / Chocolate Stain Launder Cleaning fluid Launder Cleaning fluid Launder Launder Cleaning fluid
Food Stain Cool water
launder
Cool water
hydrogen peroxide
Cool water
launder
Cool water
hydrogen peroxide
Cool water
launder
Cool water
launder
Cool water
hydrogen peroxide
Fruit / Berry Stain Cool Water
detergent
Cool Water
detergent
Cool Water
detergent
Cool Water
detergent
Cool Water
detergent
Cool Water
detergent
Cool Water
detergent
Glue Warm water
acid
Warm water
acid
Warm water
acid
Warm water
acid
Warm water
acid
Warm water
acid
Warm water
acid
Gravy Cool water
launder
Cool water
cleaning fluid
Cool water
launder
Cool water
cleaning fluid
Cool water
launder
Cool water
launder
Cool water
cleaning fluid
Ink Stain Cool water
ammonia
Cool water
ammonia
Cool water
ammonia
Cool water
ammonia
Cool water
launder bleach
Cool water
launder bleach
Cool water
ammonia
Iodine Alcohol Water and Alcohol Water and Alcohol Water and Alcohol Alcohol Water and Alcohol Water and Alcohol
Mercurochrome / Merthiolate Water and alcohol glycerin Water and alcohol glycerin Water and alcohol glycerin Water and alcohol glycerin Water and alcohol glycerin Water and alcohol glycerin Water and alcohol glycerin
Milk / Ice Cream Cool water
launder
Cleaning fluid, cool water Cool water
launder
Cleaning fluid, cool water Cool water
launder
Cool water
launder
Cleaning fluid, cool water
Mustard Glycerin
launder
Alcohol Glycerin
launder
Alcohol Glycerin
launder
Glycerin
launder
Alcohol
Oil and Grease Cleaning Fluid
launder
Cleaning Fluid Cleaning Fluid
launder
Cleaning Fluid Cleaning Fluid
launder
Cleaning Fluid
launder
Cleaning Fluid
Paint, varnish, and lacquer Solvent Solvent Solvent Solvent Solvent Solvent Solvent
Salad Dressing Launder Warm water
cleaning fluid
Launder Warm water
cleaning fluid
Launder Launder Warm water
cleaning fluid
Sauce/Milk/Cream Launder Warm water
cleaning fluid
Launder Warm water
cleaning fluid
Launder Launder Warm water
cleaning fluid
Scorch / Burn Mark (white) Hydrogen peroxide   (white) Hydrogen peroxide   Rewash, bleach Rewash, bleach  
Tar / Pitch Softener
launder
Softener
cleaning fluid
Softener
launder
Softener
cleaning fluid
Softener
launder
Softener
launder
Softener
cleaning fluid
Tarnish Acid Acid Acid Acid Acid Acid Acid
Tea / Coffee Stain Boiling water Glycerin Boiling Water Glycerin Boiling Water Boiling Water Glycerin
Tomato Juice / Ketchup Cool water
glycerin
Cool water
glycerin
Cool water
glycerin
Cool water
glycerin
Cool water
glycerin
Cool water
glycerin
Cool water
glycerin
Wine Stain Salt, Boiling water Salt, Boiling water Salt, Boiling water Salt, Boiling water Salt, Boiling water Salt, Boiling water Salt, Boiling water

More Cleaning and Stain Removal Tips

Motor Oil on Driveway – Grease and oil stains on the driveway can be cleaned with dry concrete. Scatter some dry concrete on the stain, swish it around with a stiff broom and sweep up. You can also use cat liter.

Chimney Cleaning – For those of you with a chimney, throw a few handfuls of salt on the fire periodically to help stretch out the chimney sweep visits. The salt will keep the soot from depositing. Also, use a foamy bathroom cleaner on the bricks or stone in front of the chimney to get rid of fireplace stains. Be sure to wash with a mild sudsy cleaner after.

Crayon Stains – For crayon on the walls, try using WD40 ™. The oil will cut right through the wax in the crayon. If color remains, try bleach. Kitty litter and baby powder mixed in the toe of old pantyhose makes a wonderful odor remover for those smelly kids shoes. It absorbs, dries and freshens as the same time.

Smelly Garbage Cans – Baking soda in the bottom of trashcans will help absorb any stray odors as well. You can also soak a cotton ball in a citrus type essential oil.

Stain removal shouldn’t be a major problem. I have found that old-fashioned home remedies work just as good or better than commercial treatments.

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