Getting yucky stuff off clothes and carpets


StainBlood: Salt is good on fresh blood. Pour it on and leave to absorb. Use peroxide on dried blood. Rinse both with cold water.

Anti-perspirant: Sponge or soak in white vinegar, leave for half an hour and launder on hottest wash possible for the fabric. (It’s the aluminum in the antiperspirant. If the stick says “deodorant” only (and isn’t combined with antiperspirant), there’s no aluminum. Remember, deodorants prevent odor-causing bacteria, while antiperspirants prevent sweat. Antiperspirants rely on aluminum-based compounds, such as aluminum chloride, to cause cells in your sweat ducts to swell and block sweat from escaping. When these active ingredients (which also happen to be quite acidic) bond with your sweat, they’re prone to stain clothing.)

Gum: WD40 works, so does freezing and chipping off frozen gum. Egg whites brushed over gum and left for 15 minutes before laundering can also work.

Lipstick: Rub in vegetable shortening or petroleum jelly and launder as normal. On a napkin? Place the napkin, stain down, on layers of paper towel. Dampen another towel with rubbing alcohol (70 or 90 percent), then dab away at the stained area. The lipstick should transfer to the paper towels. Keep at it.

Spaghetti sauce: Wet the fabric and scrub gently with toothbrush loaded with powdered dishwasher detergent. Rinse and launder normally.

Sweat: Scrub shampoo into collar and cuff stains with toothbrush; shampoo dissolves body oils. Or soak in equal parts ammonia and water overnight and wash as usual.

Fruit stains: Get clothing into cold water immediately. Soak the clothing in cold water for 30-45 minutes.  Remove from cold water and cover the fruit stain with powdered starch. Allow the starch to absorb the moisture, then rinse with cold water and wash on cold in the machine.

Coffee and tea:  Rub the stain with liquid laundry detergent and wash the fabric in very hot water, as hot as the fabric can stand. If the stain persists, repeat. Do not dry fabric until the stain disappears.  Alternately, try rubbing the stain with glycerin.

Maple syrup Remove as soon as possible. Begin by using a blunt kitchen knife to remove any excess syrup still on the fabric. For washable fabrics, flush with cool to warm water from the back of the stain. Pretreat with a stain remover or liquid laundry detergent and let sit for several minutes. Rinse well. Wash as recommended according to the garment label. Don’t put in the dryer until the stain is gone!

Ink stains:  Place an paper towel or rag under the ink stain and saturate it with an alcohol-based hair spray. Blot the stain with a rag or paper towel.  Repeat as needed and launder as usual.  You may want to test hair spray on a portion of the clothing that can’t be seen to make sure that it won’t harm colors.

Wine: Pour on salt to absorb red stain. Float off fresh red wine with fizzy, clear water, blot with a clean cloth or paper towel. If clothing – very hot wash.  If bleaching – cold water works best.

Didn’t mention your stain? Check out this chart on the American Cleaning Institute’s website.