Here's How You Remove Stains From Almost Anything

By Ashley Marcin on 24 February 2015 0 comments

I've become somewhat of a stain-fighting ninja in the last three years. There are a lot of great things that go along with having kids, but there also are lot of spills and stains. In fact, as I type this article, I'm staring down at some blueberry my kid just smeared on my shirt cuff. (See also: 6 Secret Homemade Stain Removers That Kick Butt)

So ancient ninja code dictates that I now share some of that stain-kicking knowledge with you.

1. Cotton

Splatters on your white cotton shirt got you down? The number one tip here is to attack the stain ASAP — before you toss it in the laundry. Blot oil stains with a clean cloth before covering with baking soda for a half hour before brushing off. Wine gives way to salt and cold water. Coffee and other stains flush away with a generous amount of white vinegar. It's also a good idea to use a pre-wash stain bar to the area before laundering with like-colors.

2. Silk

So, full disclosure: I don't wear silk anymore. But those of you who do might like to know that gross oil stains clean up easily with a sprinkle of baby powder if you let it sit for around 30 minutes. And if you don't have powder on hand, you can try some Splenda or Sweet 'n Low in its place. Try those techniques before heading to the dry cleaner. For red wine, skip the club soda and soak for eight hours in OxiClean and water. Repeat as necessary. (See also: 14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips)

3. Leather

Whether it's on a couch or purse, leather is extremely susceptible to marks of all sorts. The good news is that most of these stains clean up easily with soapy water and leather cleaner. You can purchase the cleaner at leather stores for around $7-$10. Otherwise, you spritz the water, squeeze the cleaner, and then gently buff with the back side of a scrubbing sponge. You can revitalize dry or cracked leather by using a leather conditioner that will last you years.

4. Wool

My mom's trick for removing stains from wool items (sweaters, scarves, hats, etc.) is to get at the culprit as soon as possible. Remove whatever is on your item and then mix together some vinegar and wool cleaner in a 1:1 ratio. Soak the area and blot inward to prevent the stain from spreading beyond its borders.

5. Microfiber

We bought a microfiber chair thinking it would stand up to kids better than other materials. Wrong. It gets just as stained as anything else. To clean it, you first want to see what type of material it's made from by checking the tag. Some require water while others need solvents. Water is a no-brainer, but using solvents can be confusing. You can actually use rubbing alcohol in place of anything specific for cleaning microfiber. Spritz onto the material, wipe with a cloth — paying attention to particularly stained areas — and let air dry.

6. Car Interior

Ah, yes. Stains aren't confined to clothing and living spaces alone. The back seat of our vehicle takes a daily beating — but not to worry. I actually clean my car interior with a 1:1 ratio mix of water and vinegar. For hardened messes, I use a tooth brush to scour. If that doesn't cut it, I also use a mix of water and castile soap to power in, rinse, and repeat as necessary.

7. Carpet

Most carpet stains from food respond to a good stain soaking. Start off with dunking a cloth into a solution that's ¼ teaspoon of dish detergent and one cup of lukewarm water. Blot the carpet stain and let rest for 15 minutes. Then repeat this process, but with a mix of one cup vinegar with two cups water. Let sit again before finishing off with plain water. Continue cycle until the stain is gone. The vinegar should take care of pet odors as well.

How do you remove tough stains? Share your tips in comments!

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