Your ultimate stain removal cheat sheet

You already know that soda bicarb is great to remove grease from pans and soap scum in kitchen sinks. But

You already know that soda bicarb is great to remove grease from pans and soap scum in kitchen sinks.

But what about all the other stains? Fret not, as here is your ultimate cheat sheet on removing stains. Scroll to the end to see some tips submitted by readers…
Tomato Sauce
Rub half a lemon over the stain before flushing with water. The lemon will help cut through the oil in the sauce.

Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent with one quart of warm water. Soak in this solution for 15 minutes. If the stain remains, sponge with rubbing alcohol and rinse thoroughly.

Red Wine
This is interesting. To neutralise the red wine stain, pour white wine over it and then sprinkle table salt onto the stain to soak up the moisture. If this happens on your carpet, use the same method and at the end, use a clean towel to blot up remaining moisture.

Mix one part vinegar with three parts water and apply to the stain with a sponge. Next, make yourself another cup of coffee!



Avoid washing with hot water as this will cause the chocolate to melt between the fabric fibres. Instead, put the fabric into a ziplock bag and keep it in the freezer. Once the stain has hardened, scrape it off with a blunt knife or spoon.

Hair Dye
If you can use chlorine bleach on the fabric, mix a solution of 1/4 cup of chlorine bleach per three litres of cool water and soak for 30 minutes. And then rinse well before putting into the washing machine. If chlorine bleach isn’t safe for the fabric, mix one cup of ammonia with three litres of cool water. Hold the fabric taut over a jar or bucket and pour the ammonia mixture directly onto the stain, allowing it to drain through the fabric. (Caution: Never mix chlorine bleach and ammonia – the resulting fumes are hazardous).

Never use a product with bleach on a rust stain as it will create a chemical reaction that sets the stain.
Look for a commercial rust remover in supermarkets or hardware stores as it is the best way to remove rust.

Apply hairspray directly onto the ink stain and leave for 30 seconds before wiping it off with a clean cloth.

To remove water-based paint, rinse the back of the stain with warm water before popping it into the wash.



Whenever this happens, try to act as quickly as possible. Pour baking soda on the stain as it can help draw out the grease.

Avoid washing with hot water. Instead, rinse with cold water before pre-treating the garment with liquid detergent. If you need a quick fix, rubbing it with the original white toothpaste will help break down the compound.

Attempting to remove mud stains while they’re wet can make it worse. Instead, let it dry and once dry tap of larger chunks. For ground-in stains, apply a pre-treatment for a few minutes before putting in into the washing machine.

Pasta sauce
Working from the back of the stain, flush with cool water. Then, pretreat with a liquid laundry detergent; tamp the stain and let stand for several minutes. Rinse well and then sponge with white vinegar before rinsing again. Repeat the step with vinegar until you remove as much as possible and then put it into your washing.


Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
First, flush the stain with cool water. Then, mix one tablespoon of white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent with one quart of cool water. Soak in this solution for 15 minutes before rinsing with water.

Animal feces
Yep. If your pet has an ‘accident’ on your carpet, do this. Mix one tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon of white vinegar with two cups of warm water. Sponge the stain with the solution using a clean white cloth. Blot until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat the steps until the stain disappears or is no longer absorbed into the cloth. If the stain remains, apply a few drops of hydrogen peroxide, and then apply a drop or two of ammonia. Sponge with cold water and blot dry.

Candle wax
Let the wax dry and then scrape of as much as you can using a butter knife. Then, dampen a white cotton towel, fold it in half and place it over the wax. Press an iron set on “high” over the towel for 10 seconds. The heat will draw the wax out of the carpet and into the towel. Repeat until the wax is gone but be careful not to leave the iron on for too long as you might burn the carpet.


Tips by Starts at60 readers

1. Curry stains: “Rub bar soap on the stain and leave in the sun for an hour and then wash.” – Ariene Lane.
2. General stain removal: “Make a paste of carb soda with vinegar. Not thick. Leave on stain for half an hour. Works well for me.” – Grace Boland.
3. Lipstick or grease stains: “Dish washing detergent, a few drops rubbed into the stain, will remove grease/lipstick.” – Anne Mitchell.


Do you have some great stain removal tips to share?