We’re always making a mess, and sometimes we try to use some common sense in getting rid of a stain, only to make it worse. So here’s a cheat sheet we made to help you (and us) for moments when we’ve spilled something and not know what to do next.
How to get rid of:
Coffee and tea stains
Blot up as much of the coffee or tea as you can and rinse immediately with cold water.
Soak with rubbing alcohol (isopropyl). You may have to repeat.
The big trick is to use cold water only. Soak the material in cold water – if it’s a small stain, soak from the other side of the fabric from the blood.
Ketchup and tomato-based stains
Flush stain with cool water immediatly, applying from the back of the fabric. Apply white vinegar then flush with a strong stream of water.
Red wine stains
If you have white wine available, dilute the stain with white wine and flush with cold water and apply salt, blot area, then let air dry.
If you don’t have white wine available, pour cold water onto stained area as quickly as possible. Blot with a cloth and sprinkle with salt, then let sit for 2-3 minutes. Rinse with cold water while rubbing stain with detergent, then rinse with cold water again. Let air dry.
White wine stains
Rinse with cold water from the back of the fabric. If necessary, rub with liquid dish or laundry detergent and let stand for 5-7 minutes.
Other alcoholic stains
Flush area with cold water, then sponge area with cloth lightly dampened with warm water and 1-2 drops of dish soap. Then rinse with cold water and dry area with blow dryer set to medium. For beer, sponge with equal parts white vinegar and dishwashing liquid, then rinse in warm water.
If the stain is fresh, cover the stain with a dry, absorbent material like cooking flour or baking soda and rub it over the grease stain so it absorbs as much as possible from the fabric (sometimes wetting the area with cold water on the flip side of the fabric helps flush out the grease into the absorbent material). If the grease stain is old and set, squirt some WD-40 to moisten the area, then use cooking flour or baking soda like for a fresh stain. Next apply a grease solvent – try not to use too much so as to not destroy the fabric. If the stain is on clothing, run it through a wash cycle. If it’s on furniture then use either upholstery shampoo or blot dry with towels and re-clean with a spot remover.
You can use the same steps to clean grease from a carpet, but you may need carpet shampoo to finish it up so that there isn’t a permanent stain.
Remove as much of the chocolate as possible. Rinse from the back of the fabric with cold water and rub liquid detergent on the stain and let stand for five minutes. Then soak in cold water, rubbing the area every few minutes to loosen the stain. If the stain still isn’t coming out after a few soaks, apply stain remover and wash normally.
Fruit and fruit juice stains
Sponge the area immediately with soda water or seltzer. If those aren’t available, use cold water. Then wash the area immediately and rub in liquid detergent. Then rinse under the hottest water the fabric will allow, stretching the fabric.
For lipstick on fabric, rub with vaseline and hot soapy water.
Clean the area with lemon juice and salt and let air dry (preferably in the sun).