Uh oh! Faced with a make-up covered neckline, or perhaps the dog has run something diabolical through your carpet?
Here are 10 common stains and how to treat them.
1. Get sweat out of your shirt
• Use a prewash stain remover or rub the stain with a bar of soap.
• Launder using hottest water safe for fabric.
• If the sweat has already changed the colour of the fabric – usually to a yellow, apply ammonia to fresh stains or white vinegar to old stains; then rinse before washing as above.
• If the stain is old or stubborn, you may want to add a product containing enzymes or oxygen bleach in hottest water safe for fabric.
Bonus tip: While it might be tempting to add extra washing detergent, this can actually trap the stain.
2. Remove foundation on your neckline
• Pre-treat with prewash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent (or make a paste of powder detergent and water.
• Wash as normal.
3. Get the lipstick off your (or his) collar
• Cover the stain in dishwashing liquid, allow to soak in, then wash as normal.
• Some swear by hairspray applied to the stain – handy if you’re out and about and have some on hand!
4. Remove stains caused by beverages - coffee, tea, soft drinks, juice, wine, or other alcoholic drinks.
• Sponge or soak the stain in cool water for about 30 minutes.
• Now pretreat with stain remover, liquid laundry detergent or paste of laundry powder and water.
• Wash using oxygen bleach.
5. Dealing with blood stains
• If the stain is fresh, soak in cold water - hot water will set the stain, so check the water temperature before running under the tap.
• Wash as usual.
• If the blood has dried, soak in warm (not hot) water with a product containing enzymes.
• Wash as usual.
6. General rules for removing carpet stains
Before getting started with different types of stains, there is a general rule of thumb for any spills or streaks on your carpet.
• Scoop up as much of the spill as possible, with a towel or a spoon.
• Blot the spot – and never rub or scrub.
• Apply warm, not hot, water to the stained area and blot until the stain stops transferring to the cloth.
7. Removing pet faeces from carpet
• If the stain is dried on the carpet fibers, you’ll need to moisten it after lifting as much of it as possible. Apply a special carpet stain cleaning product specifically targeted at pet stains to dampen, then blot until the stain is gone.
8. Removing urine from carpets
• If your pet has urinated on the carpet and you’re worried some may have dried, use a black light (which can be purchased online or often through pet supply stores). Turn out all of the lights in the room; turn on the black light and lightly outline the areas with chalk on your carpet.
• You can now neutralize the odor and stain with a solution of 1/2 white vinegar and ½ warm water.
• Spray this solution liberally onto the spot. Allow it to soak for several minutes and then proceed with the blot technique until stain is gone and spot is almost completely dry.
• When the area has almost dried sprinkle a good handful of baking soda over the soiled area.
• Mix half a cup of 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of mild liquid detergent. And slowly pour over the baking powder.
• Work the dissolving baking soda well into the carpet, first with your fingers and then with a scrubbing brush. Allow the area to dry completely and then vacuum thoroughly.
• You can also use a urine removal product in place of this solution – they can be purchased through pet stores. Never use ammonia or carpet cleaners, as the first can create a cycle of reoffending, the latter can coat the urine and render it immovable.
9: Removing Coffee Stains from Carpet
• After following the first two steps, try a mixture of vinegar, water, and dish washing detergent spritzed onto the stain and dabbed off.
• If this doesn’t work, try a carpet cleaning product designed for your type of carpet – these can be purchased through many supermarkets, or try a specialist vacuum shop.
10: Removing red wine from carpet
• After blotting, pour a few drops of cold water directly onto the wine stain. Doing this helps dilute what remains of the stain, making blotting a bit easier. Continue blotting until you find that no more of the stain will come out.
• Prepare a baking soda paste by mixing a three to one ratio of water to baking soda and applying it to the affected area. Once the paste is dry, vacuum the stain.