19 Tips to Learn How to Get Stains Out

Stains are a part of our every day life, and no matter how hard we try to avoid them, they happen from time to time. Every stain is unique and, depending on what the stain is made of, they can require unique treatment. We’ve listed 19 tips to help you learn how to remove stains.

#1 Cold Water

One common mistake when you see a stain is to run hot water over it. This is a big no-no, as it helps to set the stain in and make it harder to get out. In actuality, running the stain under cold water is the best place to start.

A lot of stains will come out completely with cold water and some massaging. If it doesn’t come out completely, you will have at least washed away some of the larger parts of the stain, and prepared it for the best treatment to apply.

It never hurts to soak the stained item in cold water for a few minutes, all the way up to a few hours.

#2 Blot

Another common mistake is to rub the stain immediately with a cleaning product. Rather than rubbing, blot instead. Blotting is actually the act of drying something with an absorbent material. Blotting seeks to remove, and you want to keep this in mind as you are working on your stain.

Another way to think about blotting is to dab the affected area. Whatever solution you end up applying to help remove the stain, don’t rub it. This could result in the stain being made worse. Instead, blot the solution slowly. If it still isn’t removed once you’re done blotting the solution up, you can always reapply.

#3 Club Soda

High in carbonation, club soda is simply carbonated water. So, it has similar properties to cold water, but with the added benefit of having carbonation. This allows it to aerate the stain, pulling out the material to the top where it no longer stains.

Club soda doesn’t have any sugars that cause something like your carpet to be sticky when you’re done cleaning.

#4 Use Dish Soap

Dish soap works really well on grease stains. Designed to get rid of food products on dishes, this specific soap has agents that cut through grease. Often times, soaking helps too, as it can take time for the dish soap to cut through the grease agents.

Don’t stop at just dishes – you can use dish soap to remove grease stains on clothing as well.

#5 Use Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol works great to remove ink stains. Most often used to provide antiseptic to cuts and scrapes, it also can work wonders when you get a stain from a pen on your clothes. Mixed with ammonia and dish soap, it also works really well to clean your windows.

#6 Use Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide works on a whole variety of stains, ranging from clothing stains to dishes to floor and mattress stains. It is an oxidizing agent that is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen peroxide is best used after you’ve used another stain remover. 

Hydrogen peroxide also works wonders on blood stains. Simply apply a little bit of the solution, and step back as it bubbles. The bubbling is normal and will subside after a few minutes. Then you just simply wipe away.

#7 Use Bleach

Bleach is a go-to for stains in fabric. Tried and true, bleach works to remove stains. If you get a stain on a white shirt that doesn’t look like its going to come out, bleach is your solution.

There are a few downsides to bleach. For starters, it is extremely powerful. Use gloves when you are applying bleach, as it isn’t good to get on your hands. Second, be careful where you apply it. Anything it gets it will effect. Lastly, know that bleach removes stains, but leaves the fabric bleached of color. This is great on white clothing, but not good on colored clothing.

#8 Use Vinegar

Vinegar works really well when a stain has already set in. Soaking in vinegar helps to break down the stain and allow for it to be removed with some scrubbing. Vinegar also works well to mix with other items to build your own stain remover. Vinegar plus baking soda is a common rubbing agent to apply to stains and works really well to remove challenging toxins.

As an aside, vinegar also works really well to remove bad smells. If your towels or sheets still have residual smell from urine stains, for example, washing in vinegar can remove the majority of the smell.

#9 Use Ammonia

Like bleach, ammonia is a very powerful cleaning agent. Ammonia can be great to add to your laundry to help cut down on the grease that builds up in your clothing from regular wear. Keep in mind that grease is found in the oils our body produces, and so some amount of it ends up in our clothing every time we wear it.

Ammonia is a poisonous substance, so use with caution. Read more on the best ways to use ammonia before applying it.

#10 Use Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a highly acidic fruit juice that is naturally produced from lemons. The enzymes in the acids cut through stains and toxins. Lemon juice is great to use in the kitchen to remove stains, because it is completely safe should any of your food come in contact with it. Lemons are handy, and relatively inexpensive to purchase in the store, especially compared to some of the other stain removal products we’ve mentioned.

Lemon juice also has the added benefit of bringing a light and fresh scent. Many use it to clean in the kitchen because it helps to cut through all of the different smells that can come from cooking throughout the day.

#11 Use Tide Pen

Tide has produced a pen that is an instant stain remover. Best used on fabric and clothing, the best part about the Tide Pen is that is extremely portable and works great when you’re on the go. Keep it in your purse or a bag, and pull it out when you spill something on your shirt or pants.

According to Tide the pen works well on tomato juice, ketchup, BBQ sauce, grape juice, coffee, wine, tea, and chocolate syrup. Although it sounds a little gimmicky, the Tide Pen actually works really well.

#12 Shaving Cream

Shaving cream can be great to use when you spill and have a stain on your carpet. The foamy nature of the cream allows it to penetrate in a unique way, while simultaneously reacting with the surrounding oxygen to slowly produce results.

Spray the cream onto the carpet and leave it for at least thirty minutes. Make sure to only use plain shaving cream, as some of the scented versions have additives that will set into your carpet and leave a residue.

#13 Dishwasher Detergent

Dishwasher detergent is a tried and true go-to for stain removal. Similar to dish soap, dishwasher detergent has been built to cut through grease that is found in a vast majority of the foods we eat. Dishwasher detergent is stronger and more concentrated than dish soap, and its higher concentration makes it great for really tough stains.

Dishwasher detergent is also highly effective at removing stains from fabric. Rub it into the fabric and let it set for a period of time.

#14 Steel Wool

Be very careful about using steel wool and ensure you are using it on the right products. Never use it on clothing or carpeting, and avoid using it on fiberglass. Use steel wool on glass dishware. You can also use a low grade steel wool on hardwood floors.

There are times when steel wool is the only thing that will take out a stain. It is extremely strong, and needs to be used with caution. But when used properly, it is very powerful.

#15 An Iron

The heat of an iron can be used to pull a stain out. Never use an iron right off the bat. But, after applying a solution like baking soda and vinegar and letting it set in, you can cover the solution with a towel and run the iron over it. Use the iron at a low or medium setting.

#16 Cornstarch

Cornstarch works well to remove oils. Cornstarch works by soaking up the oils, transferring them from where you spilled and into the cornstarch. Think about it like when you have an oil stain on your driveway. If you apply a solution to the driveway and let it sit for awhile, the oil gets soaked up.

Cornstarch works the same way for a spill that you have that contains oil. After blotting, sprinkle cornstarch over the stain and let it sit for several hours. Vacuum up the corn starch. You can use this method over and over again, slowly soaking up the stain with each application.

#17 Goof Off

This product has a funny name, no doubt. Goof off is best used to remove rust stains, paint stains, and other strong, outdoor stains. It is a strong product, labeled as a “heavy duty remover”. You apply and wait, and then wipe off.

Once again, this product is best used outdoors and not inside your house.

#18 Mixture

There are a lot of homemade solutions that combine several of the products we’ve already listed. These homemade solutions are often cheaper than the branded cleaning agents. And, they can often be created with products you already have in your house.

Do your homework before using a homemade solution. You can create on to cater to your individual needs and requirements. For example, some people add essential oils to their cleaning agents, to add a longer lasting smell. The benefit of making your own homemade solution is that you get to create it the way you want it.

#19 Rinse and Repeat

Whatever solution you choose to use, it might not come out with the first application. When it doesn’t work the first time, rinse and repeat. Once you’ve blotted the solution dry, reapply and try again.

Stains seem to happen when you are least expecting them. However, they don’t have to be permanent. Learning how to remove a stain properly will allow you to act quickly and remove the stain when the situation comes up.

Eva Brown
 

Hi there! I’m Eva Brown – founder of The Only Canister Vacuum. I live in Texas with my family. I love fishing, traveling, dancing, reading, good food, wine and good people. When all of my interests come together, it becomes a recipe for a great time! I also have a passion for natural photography and love encouraging others to get out and capture of this beautiful world we live in.