Simplifying Stains: Your Guide to Stain Removal

    Every day most of us have a stain situation that needs a solution whether on laundry or outdoors on the driveway. For most, my Resolve stick (looks like deodorant) works wonders on just about everything. However, there are those times that a Resolve stain stick just can’t cut it. See how to remove stains from just about anything.

    Ink – To prevent the stain from spreading, create a “dam” around it with petroleum jelly. Then apply isopropyl alcohol with an eyedropper or a clean toothbrush. Dab with a cotton ball and mineral spirits to remove any residue. Let dry and then rinse with a dish-soap solution.

    Chocolate – If laundry presoak fails, dab 1 tsp. ammonia in 1 c. water. Rinse and wash (Don’t use on wool or silk)

    Red Wine – Cover the stain with salt to absorb excess; wait 10 minutes and brush off. Put garment in cold water; gently rub out the spot.

    Coffee – Stretch the fabric over a bowl and carefully pour boiling water through the stain from about a foot above. If the coffee had milk in it, follow with an oil solvent, like Carbona Stain Wizard Prewash. If it contained sugar, follow with a pretreatment product, like Resolve or Shout and let sit for 30 minutes before washing.

    Grass – Grass stains on clothes can be removed with an old toothbrush and plain white toothpaste; just make sure you use a paste variety and not a gel. Squeeze a small amount of the toothpaste onto the stain, then dip the toothbrush in clean water and use it to scrub away the stain.

    Blood – To remove spots of blood from clothing, use 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Soak the stain with the peroxide, use your fingernail or the blade of a butter knife to help loosen and scrape away the blood, then rinse it away with more hydrogen peroxide.

    Another method for removing blood from clothing is to wet the stained area of the fabric with water, sprinkle it with plain old table salt, rub one half of the stain against the other to work in the salt and loosen the stain, then immediately launder the garment as usual.

    Lipstick – To remove lipstick from dark fabrics, grab a piece of white bread and remove the crust. Wad up the soft center and rub it gently on the stain until it picks up all of the lipstick. Sweep away any leftover crumbs with a clean, soft-bristled brush.

    Food Grease Spots – Sprinkle the spot with cornstarch. Allow the cornstarch to soak up the grease for a few minutes, and then brush it away. The grease spot will lift right out.

    Permanent Marker 



    Tips for concrete surfaces

    One of my biggest pet peeves is an oil stained driveway. I feel it’s the first impression of what’s to come in my home and like it to be clean looking. Yes, yes, I know we’re talking about a driveway here but I have a very type “A” personality. Last month I had a cable provider at my home (I won’t name any names) and needless to say, in the 30 minutes their vehicle was in my driveway, there was one small area of oil and two very large soon-to-be stains. I was in a pinch for time and threw kitty litter on it to absorb it thinking I’d have to come home and pressure wash. However, since I caught it right after the fact, it completely came out. Relief, who has time to pressure wash anyway?

    If you already have a grease or oil stain that has been there a while, dissolve 3-4 ounces of TSP or TSP phosphate-free detergent in 1 gallon of hot water. Pour on the stained area and let sit for 20 minutes and scrub with stiff brush working from outside to the center of the stain and rinse thoroughly.

    If you have a concrete surface that hasn’t been sealed, wash it as needed to prevent stains with TSP available at hardware stores. For a rust stain, use a solution of one part citric acid crystals and six parts water and fuller’s earth to make a paste. Apply it to the area of rust, let dry, and scrape off and the rust stains should be gone.

    Do you have a cleaning tip you’ve discovered and would like to share? Please post it in the comments below.

    If you found this article useful, please hit the “Share/Like” button below so that others can benefit from it too. Thanks!

    Consumer Reports, How to Clean Practically Anything
    Good Housekeeping, March 2013
    Real Simple, August 2014

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