When the kids are young, it's easy to blame every stain in sight on them. But the truth is, accidents happen no matter how old we get - just ask my grandad!
Whether it's an enthusiastic coffee slurp or a rushed slice of buttered toast, stains often find a way onto our clothes before we've had a chance to properly open our eyes. When they do occur, panic ensues - stains, it seems, are something that scares even the most grown-up among us.
Well, no need to get all stressed out. With the millions of cleaning products on the market along with the tried and tested tips of housewife's from decades past to refer to, there aren't many stains that can we can't shift these days.
Roll your sleeves up, and get ready to turn into a pro at stain removal!
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Mmmmm - there's nothing like the indulgent yet simple taste of a buttered slice of toast to start your day. However, with those sleepy eyes, it's often an accident waiting to happen. Learn how to get butter out of clothes:
- Rub a small amount of washing up liquid into the stain.
- Rinse the stained area well, removing both the stain & the soap.
- Pretreat the stain with a laundry stain remover.
- Check the label then machine or hand wash on the hottest water setting possible.
2. Baked beans
There's nothing like tucking into a humble yet unarguably delicious dinner of beans on toast...until you spill them all down yourself, that is.
Don't panic - here's a failsafe method to get you looking spotless before anyone sees you:
- Scrape off excess baked beans.
- Run the fabric under cold water on the unstained side.
- Cover stain with a liquid laundry detergent & let stand for several minutes.
- Rinse well.
- Sponge with white vinegar & rinse well.
- Repeat Steps 3 to 5 until you have removed as much stain as possible.
- Pretreat with a prewash stain remover & wash as normal.
We all like to get our five-a-day in. What we don't like, however, is the dark stains that often come with it. Here's how to remove them:
- Rinse stain with cold running water.
- Stretch item of clothing over a large bowl & secure with a rubber band.
- Taking care, pour boiling water over the stained area.
- Repeat as needed until the stain disappears.
- Wash as normal.
If you've ever sat on someone else's chewing gum, you'll know the horror that entails. It's a mixture of, 'ew,' 'how on Earth did I not see that' and 'how the heck am I going to get that out?' It's a troublesome task to deal with, but not an impossible one. So once you've rushed home holding today's paper over your bum to hide your mistake, here's what to do:
- Place two ice cubes on the culprit - one above & one underneath.
- Wait until the gum is cold through.
- Place on a flat surface and chip off with a blunt knife.
- Pre-treat the area with an enzyme detergent, spot treatment, or regular clothes soap.
- Wash as normal.
How about getting gum out of hair? It's easy. Read our guide to find out how it's done.
These days, a day is hard to get through without at least a dozen hot drinks - that's a lot of spills to avoid! If you do have a little accident, don't stress. Follow these quick steps, instead:
- Fill the sink with warm water & detergent, following the instructions on the label to determine the dosage.
- Soak your garment in the solution for a few hours.
- Wash the garment as usual in warm water.
6. Red Wine
Don't they recommend a glass a day these days? Well, I'm certainly not going to argue with that one! However, when one turns into two, spills can become an easy thing to do. Follow these steps to remove the evidence:
- Mop up the spill with paper towels.
- Sprinkle on a small amount of bicarbonate of soda.
- Don't panic when stain changes from red to grey - it's all part of the plan.
- Add white vinegar to a cloth & wipe stain.
- Leave stain to dry, then vacuum over.
7. Baby food
Feeding time often leads to more baby food on clothes than it does in little mouths. You may think that the vibrant 'carrot and potato' stain on their new romper means it's done for, but there could still be hope yet! Before throwing it in the bin, try this:
- Scrape excess baby food off of the garment in an upwards motion.
- Soak for at least 2 hours in a bowl of cold water.
- Pre-treat with a stain remover.
- Check washing instructions on label & wash on highest setting possible.
Mustard isn't for everyone, but for those of us who do like it, it can often come with long-lasting consequences - you guessed it, stains! Whether you're a lover or hater, it's always best to be prepared:
- If you catch stain when it's still wet, spray on a spot cleaner. If stain has dried, scrape as much of the spill off as possible.
- Rinse with water, apply liquid detergent to the stain & rinse again.
- If the stain remains, soak for several hours in a warm-to-hot solution of detergent.
- Rinse & wash as normal.
9. Soy sauce
A delicious plate of Asian noodles in a thick soy sauce is one of the most delicious but difficult things to eat. Whether you wrap your noodles around your fork, use your chopsticks, or just slurp them up any old how, it seems a splattering of soy-sauce is inevitable. Here's how to get rid of the damage:
- Blot up any excess soy sauce with a clean cloth.
- Soak the stain in a solution of 1.5 litres of warm water, 1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent, & 1 tablespoon white vinegar for 20 minutes.
- Rinse with water.
- Sponge the remaining stain with rubbing alcohol then wash as soon as possible.
Sweet, sticky, delicious jam. Great in the mouth, not so great on your clothes. Where to begin with these troublesome red stains? Start here:
- Scrape off any excess jam.
- Rinse with cold water from the back of the fabric.
- Make a solution of a litre & a half of warm water, 1/2 teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent & a tablespoon of white vinegar. Soak the fabric in this solution for about 15 minutes.
- Thorouhgly rinse with cold water.
- Check clothes label then wash in hottest water possible. If the fabric allows it, add chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach if not.
We've all heard about the glorious health benefits of beetroot, but the health advisers have obviously never tried opening a pack themselves! Deep-purple liquid that seems to have ultra staining-powers. One little knock and, before you know it, it's all over your fingers, countertop and clothes. Here's how to sort it out:
- Rinse fabric under water as soon as possible.
- Soak stain in biological detergent.
- Rinse under cold water.
- Wash as usual.
Eggs are eggcellent for most things. If you want to discover just what they can do, check out this article I wrote about all their amazing uses. With all that enthusiastic eggy creation, it's easy to get a bit messed up. Do eggsactly this when that occurs:
- Scrape off any excess egg with a spatula & blot with a clean cloth.
- Sponge cold water onto the front & back of the fabric.
- Repeat step 1.
- Soak the stain in cold water for 30 minutes, occasionally rubbing the stain between your fingers.
- Add a stain-remover if stain remains.
- Wash as usual, repeating steps 1-5 if stain persists before drying.
You may be able to choose the hotness of your curry, but one thing you can't pick is its staining capacity! Whether you opt for Korma or Madras, spill a spoonful down yourself and you'll be wearing your choice for the rest of the evening. Act fast to make sure it's not a stain that will last forever:
- Scrape off as much of the curry as possible.
- Dab on water with a clean napkin, then dry with another clean napkin.
- Squeeze the juice of a lime or lemon over the stain. If the restaurant doesn't have any citrus fruit, ask them for white vinegar. Leave for 15 minutes.
- Use water and a napkin to rinse the stain & blot it off as much as possible.
- Treat with a stain remover and detergent as soon as you get home.
A favourite amongst the kids - and adults. Back in the days where vanilla was your only option, ice-cream stains were much easier to remove, but with choices like mega chunky choc chip caramel swirl being a common thing now, it's a much more complicated affair! Here's how to remove that sticky stain, cookie chunks and all:
- Place garment in cold water as soon as possible for 5-10 minutes or longer if the stain is dried.
- Rub liquid laundry detergent or washing up liquid into the stained area & soak in room temperature water for 30 minutes, rubbing the stain gently every few minutes.
- Add a stain remover & leave to sit for 10 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
- Wash as per the fabric label.
Summer BBQ, cooked breakfast, chicken and chips - is there ever a bad time for what seems the be the World's favourite condiment? So many things to add it to - so many stains waiting to happen. Here's how to remove those unsightly red marks:
- Scrape off any excess ketchup.
- Run cold water through the fabric from the back of the stain.
- Gently rub liquid detergent into the stain & soak in cold water for 15 minutes.
- Wash as normal.
- If stain persists, treat with a stain remover before washing again & drying.
Looking for more? Find out how to get chocolate out of clothes.
With all that stain-removing knowledge, you'll now be able to eat and drink in peace! What are the most common stains in your household, and how do you act fast to remove them?