Top 20 cheap stain removal tips for the home
- By: Ashley Saunders
- November 2020
Dealing with stains is a sad part of life. It’s something we’d all like to avoid, however impossible that is! So, it’s best to be ready with a range of stain removal tips for the home.
Whether it’s children wiping messy hands over the curtains, a glass of wine that accidentally topples over or old yellowing bedsheets, for every problem, there’s a solution! And most only use items you already have in the home.
We aim to provide a range of stain removal tips for every area of the home. Think of this as a one-stop guide for banishing stains. Before, we get to specific ideas, here are a few general stain removal tips to bear in mind.
Basic stain removal tips
- Treat stains as soon as possible
- Be wary of using hot water, as heat can often “set” a stain
- Never rub – always dab. This stop stains from spreading and reduces the risk of fibre damage
- Always work inwards to the middle of the stain to avoid spreading the mark further
- Always pre-test a stain remover as discolouration can be as unsightly as the stain!
#1 Removing stains from stone, tile and concrete
It can be tricky to remove stains from marble, granite and ceramic tile. As porous materials, they absorb materials. So the only way to remove a stain is to pull it out. Start by blot spills with a paper towel or clean rag. Don’t wipe, as this can spread the spill, over a larger area.
At first, only use cold water and stone soap or a neutral cleaner. You’ll need to rinse the area a few times. If the stain doesn’t budge, then you’ll need to use a chemical. You’ll need to exercise care when choosing the right chemical. Otherwise, the stain might become permanent.
You may be able to remove stains with a water and clay or chalk mix. However, it’s best to ask either a local stone merchant or the company who originally supplied the stone or tile.
#2 Use white vinegar to remove stains on bedsheets
If soaking your bedsheets overnight doesn’t lift the stain, try soaking it in white vinegar for half an hour. Next, wash the sheets on a cold wash cycle. If the stain still doesn’t disappear completely, repeat the process straight away.
White vinegar is also great for eliminating odours. Simply, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of it to the fabric softener dispenser. Don’t worry if your sheets smell of vinegar when wet as once dry, no scent will remain.
#3 Removing stains from fabric blinds
It’s best with fabric blinds to stick to a mild stain removing solution, such as dish soap and water. Always test any solution on an inconspicuous area first.
Blot the affected area with a sponge dampened in the solution, repeat as needed. Next, blot again with a damp sponge until the cleaning solution and stain are gone. Finally, allow to air dry.
Start with our guide to cleaning blinds if you’re looking for more stain removal tips.
#4 Removing water stains from wood
There’s nothing worse than water stains on wood. So if someone forgets to use a coaster and you’re left with a white ring on your beautiful coffee table, don’t panic as you have a few solutions. Here are a few stain removal tips that use ordinary household items.
With a soft cloth, apply non-gel toothpaste to it and rub it into the water ring. Next, wipe clean with a damp cloth. Allow the wood to dry before applying furniture polish.
Water and baking soda
Mix a paste of equal parts of water and baking soda. Rub the stain in circular motions until it disappears. Wipe up the baking soda when you’re done.
Apply petroleum jelly to the watermark and let it sit overnight. In the morning, wipe off the jelly, and the stain should come with it.
#5 Fabric sofa stains
If you have a fabric sofa, you’ll know that they stain easily. You might be able to wash covers on a cold machine cycle or water. However, some stains will require something stronger.
Start by looking for and following the instructions on the fabric. If you can’t find such information, then you’ll need to spot test on a hidden piece of upholstery. You might be able to remove stains with water, vodka or vinegar. Start by applying some steam to the stain using your iron.
Try cleaning the fabric with dish soap and cold water. Using a sponge, blot the stain. Next, rinse the sponge and use just water to blot out some of the soapy mixture, then allow to dry.
If this doesn’t shift the stain, then try using vinegar or vodka on a cloth to blot the stains. The smell will disappear as the area dries.
Should you still have no luck, then you’ll need to use a heavy-duty cleaner. Always spot test in a discreet place first. You might need to repeat a few times to fully remove the stain.
#6 How to remove heat stains from wood
Heat marks usually appear white. Remove them from lacquered wood surfaces by creating a paste of non-gel toothpaste and baking soda. Rub the mixture into the wood with a cloth until it feels warm. Next, with a damp cloth, wipe the area clean and dry immediately.
You may need to repeat this process multiple times. When the mark disappears, revitalize the wood with furniture polish or oil.
#7 Removing watermarks from shower screen glass
While not really a stain per se, your shower screen does deserve some love and care. Caused by hard water (high in minerals such as lime, calcium and silica), watermarks occur when it dries and leaves deposits on bathroom surfaces such as porcelain and glass.
You’ll want to keep a bottle of white vinegar handy. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar, and add the mixture to a spray bottle. Spray the affected area with the mixture. Next, use a cloth to wipe the area.
With any stubborn stains, pour the mixture onto a cloth and scrub. Next, using a squeegee, wipe the area and then buff with a microfibre cloth. If that doesn’t shift the stain, then you will need to a chemical cleaner.
#8 Ridding your fabric curtains from stains
Firstly, find what kind of fabric is used in the curtain, as not all treatments work the same way for different types of curtains.
Silk, linen, and wool curtains can weaken in water and are quite delicate. They should be best taken to a professional dry cleaning service to keep them in good condition.
While some velvet curtains are machine washable, most are thick and should be professionally dry cleaned.
Generally, the easiest to clean as they tend to be sturdy and can be hand- or machine-washed. Use the cold setting for machine wash. Try first with soap and water. If you decide machine wash, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of white vinegar.
#9 Banishing tough fabric stains
Here are some stain removal tips for common problems we all encounter!
By rubbing ice cubes on the adhesive for 20 minutes, it will lose its stickiness, making it easy to scrape any residue off.
Clear any excess liquid by blotting with a sponge, then treat the stain with white vinegar and water.
Blot blood stains with cold water until they disappear. You could try treating the stains with a carpet cleaner.
Allow chocolate to harden before scraping off with a dull knife. Blot the stain with mild detergent and warm water.
Get rid of the yellowing and restore fabrics to their original colour by soaking the stained parts overnight in a mixture of hot water and 2 or 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Launder as usual before drying.
Greasy foods often leave a tough stain. Squeeze a small amount of dishwashing liquid on the stain. Next, with a damp sponge, blot the fabric to work the liquid into the grease. Finally, machine wash at a high setting.
Pets and kids can have the occasional accident! Start by removing as much liquid as possible. Apply a mixture of vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and water using a sponge blot stains. Let the mixture stand for half an hour before blotting with a clean, damp towel.
Wipe or scrape off any residue before sponging the stains with a mix of water and carpet cleaner. Rinse with cold water and repeat if required.
#10 Non-fabric blinds stain removal tips
Even if you lightly dust your wooden blinds regularly, they can still, unfortunately, stain. Stains on mini-blinds and Venetian blinds are typically easier to banish since most are created by minerals present in humidity. However, kitchen blinds can be subject to occasional spills and splatters.
Always start by dusting your blinds. Then mix equal parts warm water and white vinegar. With an old, clean sock on your hand, dip it into the solution. Gently grip both sides of the slats and move your hand across to clean. Use another old, clean sock that’s dry to wipe down the slats.
You can remove the blinds and wash them in your bathtub or a large sink. Simply, fill your bathtub or sink with equal parts warm water and white vinegar. Place the slats into the solution and leave for a few minutes. Wipe them down with a soft towel ensuring that you remove all the moisture.
With wooden blinds, you should be especially careful as they could warp if exposed to too much water. Ideally, you would only use a small amount of the solution only on the stain and gently blot until it’s gone.
#11 Stopping rust stains
Banish rust with these stain removal tips! First try to wipe the early stains and signs of wear before they become a problem. Mix baking soda with water and apply a thin layer over any rust spots. Leave for an hour and then wipe it off. You may need to repeat these steps a few time.
If after a few attempts there’s still a stain, then try scrubbing the area with an abrasive until the rust particles are removed. Use this simple technique to effectively clean rust from any metal surface, patio furniture, and garden tools.
#12 Removing dark stains from wood
If you discover a dark stain on your wood floor or furniture, the cause is usually water or a dye. When water or steam damages the finish, white rings form. However, that’s only part of the problem as if the water reaches the wood, then black stains can develop and can be more difficult to remove.
Using 100-grit sandpaper, gently sand the area making sure that you blend the edges with the surrounding area. Work with the grain, and don’t use too much force. Once the stain is removed, apply several light coats of varnish to match the original finish. Finish with quality wood polish.
Wearing rubber gloves, dip a brush into a bowl of bleach and apply it lightly to the stained area. Allow the bleach to sit for a few hours as the stain fades back to its original colour. Next, remove the bleach with a damp sponge. Apply white vinegar to neutralize the wood and prevent further lightening. Let the wood dry and finish with stain, if necessary, followed by a quality wood polish.
#13 Keeping your mirrors pristine
Much like shower screens, most stains found on mirrors is due to the minerals in hard water. You can easily remove mineral build ups by spraying either white vinegar or lemon juice on the surface and then scrubbing it. Next, take a dry cloth and remove any remaining liquid.
Lipstick stains on mirrors are another common problem, whether someone left you a love note or was being careless! You can the same stain removal tips as above or use a window cleaner. You might find removing lipstick requires a few tries and plenty of elbow grease.
For any other stain, start with either baking soda or window cleaner on a small area to test and then expand from there.
#14 Staining on lino and vinyl flooring
As two of the most popular flooring surfaces Lino and vinyl are used as they are inexpensive, hard-wearing and easy to clean. It’s worth vacuuming and mopping your lino regularly. Usually, with a clean, damp cloth, most stains or spills will disappear.
However, grease, ink, and paint can be tricky to remove. For tough stains, attack them with baking soda, vinegar or washing-up liquid! Cover the stain with white vinegar and let it sit there for 30 minutes. You might find that after wiping the area, most of the stain vanishes!
If it hasn’t, try again with vinegar and cover with baking soda. The substances start to react. Leave it for 10 minutes, and wipe up with a clean, microfibre cloth.
Dishwashing detergent also works, albeit with a little extra elbow grease. Dip a clean cloth into a mix of hot water and washing-up liquid. Cover the stain and leave for 15 minutes. Next, use the scrubbing side of a cleaning sponge to remove any excess. Repeat if required.
#15 How to remove paint stains on wood and stone
With wet paint, you should be able to remove residue with warm soapy water. Small amounts of dried paint can be scraped off carefully with a razor blade.
To remove thick layers of paint, it’s best to use a commercial paint stripper. With both wood and stone, you might have to sand the item down after using fine sandpaper and then either polish (stone) or varnish (wood). You should follow the product’s instruction and wear protection.
#16 Remove stains left by algae or moss
As algae or moss easily grows on outdoor furniture and stone, they can leave a stain. However, they can be difficult to remove unless you have the right stain removal tips.
First, remove the unwanted material, then mix equal parts water and bleach, and cover the surface with the solution. After 15 minutes, gently scrub the area to remove any remain traces of the stain. You might need to repeat these steps a few times.
#17 Getting rid of wax and gum stains
Thankfully, removing wax and gum is usually easy. However, act with care to prevent damaging the finish. First, allow the wax or gum to dry, either naturally or by using ice cubes wrapped in a towel. When hardened, they should be able to be removed with very little pressure.
Do not scrape the deposit off, or you’ll scratch the finish. You can buff the area lightly with sandpaper when either the wax or gum is completely removed. Finish by waxing and polishing the entire surface.
#18 Banish any carpet stains
It doesn’t take kids or pet long to produce a nasty carpet stain or two! However, with a few simple steps, you can be ready to tackle whatever they leave behind.
Using two spray bottles, fill one with cold water. In the other bottle, mix dishwashing soap and warm water. Spray the detergent solution onto a cloth (not the carpet!) and dab it on the stain. As it starts to disappear, blot with a clean cloth. Keep repeating these two steps until the stain vanishes.
Use the other spray with a fresh cloth to rinse the detergent solution from the carpet, then blot again with a dry cloth. Cover with paper towels overnight as they will soak up any residual stain deep in the carpet. In the morning, remove the towels and allow to air-dry.
#19 How to remove grass stains
Even if you’re careful not to drag the outside in, grass and leaves can easily make their way inside and stain the carpet. You could find the problem start to follow you around the house!
Firstly, remove loose debris by vacuuming. Next, blot a damp white towel over the stain. Mix laundry detergent and water to form a paste, then rub it into the stain with a stiff brush. Rinse with water and blot with paper towels.
If some of the stain remains, try wetting a cloth in rubbing alcohol and rubbing over the remaining grass stain. Continue to rub until the stain is lifted.
#20 Best stain removal tips
Don’t panic! Stain and spills happen, and even with the best stain removal tips, you’ll still need to have patience and try a few solutions to banish any stains. Try to start with soap and water, and dab (don’t scrub) the stain.
If soap, water and elbow grease won’t shift it, then you’ll need to try something stronger such as baking powder, bleach or a chemical cleaner. Always test on a small discrete area first, then if you’re happy with the results, try it on the stain.
Use these stain removal tips to create a home that’s easy to clean and you’re proud of!