Whether you’ve spilled half your dinner on your favourite shirt, are battling with a muddy football kit or want to know how to remove old stains, this guide is for you.
Top stain removal tips
Before we get into the nitty gritty of removing particular stains, let’s run through the ‘one size fits all’ approach to how to remove stains.
Deal with a spill as quickly as possible.
Get as much of the offending substance off as you can. In most cases, this means rinsing it off with cold water, but if water is likely to spread the stain (we’re looking at you mud), try to brush it off or hoover it up.
Pour a dash of stain remover or laundry liquid onto the stain. Massage it into delicate fabrics, or set to it with a soft- brush on more robust materials.
If it’s a new stain, get the garment into the wash asap, with a biological laundry detergent containing enzymes to break down the stain. (If you’re tackling a really large stain or very muddy clothes, rinse them individually before you wash with other laundry.) For older stains, try soaking the garment in cold water for a few hours first.
Blood stain removing tips
Blood is one of the worst culprits when it comes to staining, second only to biro in our opinion. Your first step is to rinse as much of the blood out as possible using cold water. (Hot water can set the stain.) Cover the affected area with stain remover and leave it to work for a few minutes before washing. Wondering how to remove old stains? Right this way…
Grass stain removal hacks
Found a tell-tale green smear on sports shorts? Soak them in cold water for half an hour, then massage a dash of laundry detergent into the stain before washing. If that doesn’t work, try these grass stain removal hacks.
When buying dishwasher tablets, which of these is most important to you?
How to remove old sweat stains on white clothes
If you’re struggling to get rid of old sweat stains with laundry detergent alone, try squeezing some lemon juice onto the stain and leaving it to soak. Other laundry hacks include soaking it in white vinegar and making a paste out of crushed aspirin… Find out more over on the Persil website.
Grease stain removal
Whether it’s a dollop of butter or a splatter of oil, speed is of the essence when it comes to grease. Rinse or wipe off as much as you can, and then work a little baking soda into the stain before bunging everything in the washing machine.
Blot up as much of the wee as possible (you might want to wear rubber gloves). Then sprinkle over some washing powder or baking soda. It’ll help to soak up more urine and reduce staining. Leave it for a few minutes before brushing it up, and then scrub with a carpet cleaner (or diluted laundry detergent if the stain is on a mattress.) Sprinkle some more baking soda or washing powder over the damp patch and leave it for a few hours before vacuuming. For older stains, dab them with white vinegar before scrubbing.
Mud stain removal tricks
Kids attract mud. As do dogs, sporty types and wellington boot lovers. First off, brush as much of the mud off as possible. Then rinse the garment thoroughly before putting it on as hot a wash as the label agrees to. Have you tracked mud all over the carpet? Check out these carpet cleaning hacks.
Chocolate stain removal tips
Whether you’ve sat on a Fairtrade dark chocolate bar, or a little darling has smeared squished up chocolate buttons over your top, you’re going to want to get as much of the gooey mess off as possible (we won’t tell if some of it makes its way into your mouth. Waste not, want not). Once you’ve picked as much of the chocolate off as you can, rinse the clothes well with cold water. Then add a dollop of laundry detergent, work it into the stain and soak for half an hour before washing.
Have another type of stain to tackle? Try these guides:
Stain removal with baking soda
Oh baking soda, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways… OK, we might be going a little OTT here, but if you prefer cleaning with natural ingredients, it’s hard not to love baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda). You can use it for everything from cleaning ovens to deodorising trainers. (Check out these 10 genius hacks for baking soda later, but meanwhile, let’s get back to stain removal...)
You can make a stain busting paste by adding a few drops of water to a tablespoon of baking soda and smearing it over stubborn stains. Bicarb can also make short work of stained Tupperware – just fill your tubs with hot water, add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda and leave them to soak overnight. Bicarb is also handy for cleaning and deodorising mattresses.
P.S. If you love natural cleaning, you need to check out this post on white vinegar.