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Top tips for common stain removals

Top tips for common stain removals

Everyone has lost a battle with a stain, whether it is on their clothes, furniture or carpets. This can be incredibly frustrating and sometimes costly. Spilled food and drinks are probably the most common causes of stains, along with mud and blood. Luckily, there are some hacks to remove them using household products and common detergents.

It comes down to the type of fabric affected and the chemical composition of the stain. It is key to start cleaning as soon as you can - don’t allow time for the stain to settle in and dry out. The following tips will enable you to tackle stains without damaging or discolouring your fabric, linens and upholstery.

Coffee stain

This is quite a common problem and can strike whether at home or in a café. The trick is to mix one teaspoon of a mild detergent (which is pH-balanced) with one cup of warm water. Use a clean cloth and blot the stain with the detergent solution to wet the fabric. Then, create a mixture of water and vinegar and blot the coffee stain again. Soak up any excess fluid in the fabric with a paper towel and leave the area to dry.

Red wine residue

This is a big one; everyone dreads the day that some red wine spills on their carpet, couch or clothes. It is vital to tackle the stain as soon as it happens and red wine penetrates quickly. Two simple solutions are to use white wine or soda water. Pour a bit of either liquid over the red wine and soak all of it up with a clean sponge by dabbing the surface. Shaving cream can also help, but you can also find red wine stain removal sprays in shops and at certain vineyards. These work like a charm.

Blood drops

When accidents happen, clothes can become ruined by blood. A simple nose bleed can douse a shirt and leave brown marks even after washing it thoroughly. The best remedy for blood is to soak the area in vinegar for about 30 minutes and then rinse with cold water. This can be repeated a couple of times for stubborn marks. Another method is to create a paste from baking soda and water. Rub the paste over the stain and let it soak for an hour before rinsing with cold water.

Tomato sauce

We’ve all had a mishap with chips or a hamburger; excess tomato sauce drips onto your shirt or jeans while you’re enjoying a tasty meal. Next time this happens, remove the sauce with cold water to soak the fabric. Then, pour some lemon juice or white vinegar over the red mark and leave it to soak for 30 minutes. Place the stained item in the wash and rinse it well.

Butter stains

Butter leaves oil marks on fabrics that discolour the surface and leave it looking wet forever. To remove a butter stain, apply a small amount of dry cleaning solvent with a clean cloth to the affected surface. Blot at the stain and try not to rub it in. Then, mix a tablespoon of mild detergent with one cup of warm water and blot the stain again. Using a sponge or soft towel, remove the liquid and allow the spot to dry.

Ink blotches

Ink stains don’t happen often but when they do, it creates an almighty mess that is notoriously hard to clean. The first solution is to pour some rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover (acetone) onto a clean cloth and blot the stain. Pat it dry with a towel. Alternatively, spray some hairspray onto a clean cloth and dab the ink blotch. Pat it dry with a towel. Spirits and turpentine can also be used to tackle ink.

Mud marks

People with children will know all about mud marks on clothing and carpets. Try rubbing liquid laundry detergent onto the stain and let it soak for 15 minutes. Use a wet toothbrush and a few drops of water to scrub the detergent into the stain. Place the fabric into the washing machine and run it through a normal cycle. White vinegar can also be sprayed over the stain before placing the garment in the washing machine.

These tips will allow you to tackle the most common forms of stain. They make use of common household ingredients and detergents. Some specialised cleaning products exist that target these specific stains, but if you do not have them in your home already, then you will have to make do with regular cleaning detergents and pantry products.


IWESCO offers specialised cleaning and waste control services to industrial and commercial customers in South Africa. These services are aimed at minimising our customers’ impact on the environment. Our services also include pest control, garden maintenance, fogging and disinfecting. Our staff are highly trained to offer the most professional services. IWESCO is a Level 2 B-BBEE supplier with ISO 14001 certification for environmental management.

We are a one-stop shop for all your contract cleaning and waste control needs and have a national footprint. Our head office is located in Tshwane but we can provide services to any industrial and commercial client in the major metropolitan areas around South Africa, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Mbombela and more.

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