Tips for Removing Common Stains in your Home

removing-stainsThe longer most stains set, the harder they are to remove without damage to the stained surface. If you have invested time and money in your home and would like to keep your carpets, upholstered furniture, walls and floors looking new for as long as possible here are some tips for removing those awkward stains that seem to appear even though nobody ever claims responsibility for them :)

Walls

  • Grease: Your kitchen walls can often get splashed with grease. To remove stains of this nature mix 1/4 teaspoon of soap in a cup of warm water and wipe the grease stain. Then rinse off with clean water and blot until dry. For tougher stains you can use 1/3 cup of white vinegar with 2/3 cup of water.
  • Crayons and Markers: Most people with young children will have had their walls decorated with crayons or markers at some point. One thing for sure is that they go on a lot easier than they come off. Wall erasers seem to work quite well for crayon. Marker tends to be a little more difficult to remove. Rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball can be quite effective. Another surprising alternative that works quite well is hairspray. Simply spray on to the stain and then rub off.

Remember to always test your stain remover on a small or inconspicuous area to start and make sure that it is ok before proceeding.  If you think your walls need to be freshened up you can always post a painting job on Tradesmen.ie and get a number of quotes from rated tradesmen in your area.

Floors

  • Paint: If you have vinyl floors paint splashes can be quite tricky to remove. If the paint dries in you should scrape it off with the plastic edge of a thin spatula, most of us have one of these in our kitchen utensils drawer. Any remaining residue can be removed with rubbing alcohol. If the stain persists try rubbing it with lighter fluid and that should do the trick.
  • Marker: Marker on vinyl floors can be removed by gently rubbing with lighter fluid or rubbing alcohol.
  • Candle wax: For candle wax, Chip off the wax with a plastic spatula, then wipe down with a clean cloth. Metal polish rubbed along the grain should help to improve any heat marks.

As with walls remember to always test your stain remover on a small or inconspicuous area to start and make sure that it is ok before proceeding.  If you think your vinyl floor looks a bit tired and needs to be replaced you can always post a flooring job on Tradesmen.ie and get a number of quotes from rated flooring specialists in your area.  Same goes for wooden floors, whether you want it sanded and varnished or replaced.

Upholstery

  • Grease: To remove greasy stains like butter sponge the stain from centre to edge with a stain-removal product Or an absorbent substance such as cornstarch, corn meal, French chalk, or fuller’s earth. Absorbents can be dusted on to greasy spots to pick up the grease. When the absorbent material begins to look caked, it should be brushed off. You may have to repeat this procedure several times to remove the stain. If you are using a stain removal product be careful to read the label as some products may be damaging to certain fabrics.
  • Tea, Coffee or Fruit juice: For tea, coffee and fruit juice stains, sponge with cool water. Alternatively, you can place a disposable diaper or other absorbent pad beneath the stained area and slowly and carefully flush the stain by pouring water onto it using an eyedropper. You must control the amount of water and the rate at which it is poured to avoid spreading the stain. For more difficult stains that may have dried in work liquid detergent into the stain and rinse by sponging with cool water. Sponge the stain with rubbing alcohol after rinsing to remove detergent residue and to speed drying.
  • Dirt or Muck: For dirt and muck stains allow the muck to dry, then vacuum up as much of the dirt as possible. Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent with 2 cups of cool water. Sponge the stain with the solution using a clean cloth. Blot the area until all of the liquid is gone. Continue to apply the solution and blot the area until the stain is gone. Finally, sponge the area with cold water and blot dry.
  • Marker: To remove Marker stains mix 1 tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with 2 cups of cool water. Sponge the stain using a clean cloth and the solution. Leave it on for at least half an hour. Apply more of the solution every five minutes. Wash out the area with cool water, and then blot until all of the liquid is gone. Sponge the stain with rubbing alcohol next, and then blot. Sponge with cold water and blot again until the water has been absorbed.
  • Red wine: To remove red wine stains Soak the stained area in water, then pour cream of tartar on to the stained area and let it soak in. After soaking, blot with hot water then get a clean dry cloth and blot until dry.
  • Candle wax: To remove candle wax, Harden the wax by pressing ice against it. Scrape off the wax with a blunt knife. Once this has been done, cover what is left with a sheet of kitchen paper and iron over the top with a cool iron. Remove any remaining marks on the upholstery with a dab of methylated spirits (test on an inconspicuous area first), and sponge with warm water.
  • Mildew: To remove Mildew stains Take the item outside if possible and remove surface mildew with a stiff brush. Air the item in the sun. Dab any remaining spots with mild disinfectant and rinse.
  • Chewing gum: For chewing gum, rub ice on the gum to freeze it and scrape off as much as you can with a blunt knife. If this method isn’t working, heat the gum using a hairdryer, then peel off the melted gum. Once the gum has been lifted, wash the spot with mild detergent and water.

Again, remember to always test your stain remover on a small or inconspicuous area to start and make sure that it is ok before proceeding.  If you think your upholstery needs to looked at by an upholsterer you can always post an upholstery job on Tradesmen.ie and get a number of quotes from rated upholsterers in your area.

Carpets

  • Coffee: Mix one teaspoon of mild detergent with half a litre of water. Blot the detergent mix directly onto the coffee stain, and then blot with a clean cloth to absorb the stain and liquid. If the coffee stain remains, try a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar and repeat the steps above.
  • Fruit juice: Stains on carpets can be a little more difficult to remove. If you have a juice stain you can spray it with club soda and then blot it repeatedly until the stain is gone. Spray soft drink stains with white vinegar and then blot repeatedly.
  • Dirt and muck: Mucky foot prints are a common problem for people with carpet, especially in their hallways. To clean muck stains Let the muck dry, and then hoover up as much of the dirt as you can. To treat the remaining stain Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent with 2 cups of warm water. Sponge the stain with the solution with a clean cloth, then blot until the solution has been fully used. Repeat this process until the stain is gone, then sponge with cold water and blot dry.
  • Blood: Blood stains should be treated immediately where possible. Apply cold water or club soda to the area and then blot with a clean cloth repeatedly until the stain is gone.
  • Vomit: Vomit can be treated by applying a citrus-oxygen cleaner. Then rinse and blot or wet-vac the area until it is dry.
  • Candle wax: To remove candle wax, Harden the wax by pressing ice against it. Scrape off the wax with a blunt knife. Once this has been done, cover what is left with a sheet of kitchen paper and iron over the top with a cool iron. Do not touch the carpet fibres directly with the iron. Remove any remaining marks on the carpet with a dab of methylated spirits (test on an inconspicuous area first), and sponge with warm water.

As stated already, Remember to always test your stain remover on a small or inconspicuous area to start and make sure that it is ok before proceeding.

If you think your carpet needs to be cleaned by a cleaning company you can always post a cleaning job or if you are looking to get new carpets you could post a carpet fitter job to get a number of quotes from rated tradesmen in your area.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any comments or suggestions on this subject please feel free to enter them in the comments box below, we’d be delighted to hear them.

All the best,
Oliver Dempsey
Tradesmen.ie
23rd January 2014

Some other articles that you might be interested in are listed below:    

http://blog.tradesmen.ie/2013/12/things-home-going-away-holiday/

http://blog.tradesmen.ie/2013/12/condensation-and-humidity-control-in-your-home/

http://blog.tradesmen.ie/2013/11/driveway-and-patio-finish-comparison/

http://blog.tradesmen.ie/2013/10/ten-tips-to-protect-your-home-from-the-elements/

http://blog.tradesmen.ie/2013/02/security-camera-tips-for-the-home/

http://blog.tradesmen.ie/2013/09/tips-for-reducing-your-heating-bill-this-winter/

http://blog.tradesmen.ie/2013/05/tips-for-hiring-a-tradesman/

About Oliver Dempsey

Owner and Managing Director at Tradesmen.ie and contributor to the Tradesmen.ie Blog You can connect with Oliver on Google+ DISCLAIMER: All content provided in my articles is for informational purposes only. The information contained in these articles has been obtained from research carried out by myself through online and offline sources and through other writers and contributors who provide me with content. While I am responsible for the final editing of each article and I do my best to verify the information, I do not make representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information. Therefore you must not rely on the information contained in any of these articles and always make sure to seek the advice of a suitably qualified expert before embarking on any project.
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  • http://www.thesitebox.com/ Ed Oliver

    This is great advice. But really do test the product on a small, less visible part of the upholstery first. I once tried to impress my wife by removing a stain with vinegar, but very quickly realised all I did was ruin the sofa.
    I haven’t lived it down since!

  • tradesmen1

    Hi Ed,
    yes you are absolutely right, thanks for your feedback, much appreciated!
    Oliver

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  • Rebecca

    This is exactly what I was searching for! Thanks for sharing!
    Rebecca

  • tradesmen1

    Hi Rebecca,
    you’re very welcome

    Oliver

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