Top Tips for Stain Removal

When it comes to the art of stain removal, it seems everyone's got an opinion. 

From removing red wine stains from carpets to various makeup smudges, find out how to enjoy your clothes, linens, fabrics and furniture and get rid of unsightly stains thanks to these helpful tips from cleaning expert, Shannon Lush.


  • If you wash joggers and sport shoes in your washing machine, make sure you put them into a pillowcase first and tie it off tightly to ensure they keep their shape.
  • While fake tan is the safest way to get that golden glow, it isn’t doesn’t look so great on your clothes! To remove a fake tan stain, just wipe with a little lavender oil, and wash the item as usual.
  • If you hate ironing simply combine a teaspoon of lavender oil and a litre of water in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the mixture over your clothes and then put them on. Lavender oil is a fibre relaxant, so the creases will just drop out.
  • To remove sunscreen from your t-shirts, rub normal (not eco) dishwashing detergent into the stain with your fingertips until the mark starts to feel jelly-like. Once this has occurred, the stain is water soluble and can be washed out on a normal cycle in the machine. This tip works for all oil-based stains.
  • Makeup stains like foundation, lipsticks and mascara: wipe them with a small amount of white spirits, then five minutes later paint them with a paste of Vanish NapiSan and water. Leave for a further five minutes before washing as normal.
  • To remove grass stains, wipe with a small amount of white spirits before soaking overnight in Vanish NapiSan. Wash normally in the morning and dry in sunshine.

Around the home

  • To whiten yellowed sheets you will first need to know if they are cotton or polycotton. For polycotton sheets, soak in a small amount of methylated spirits and warm water first, and then follow process for cotton sheets. For cotton sheets, simply place two dessert spoons of Vanish NapiSan into a 12L bucket of hot water and soak overnight. Washing the next day and hang them to dry in the sun.
  • To remove red wine from carpet, first place paper towel over the stain and absorb as much moisture out of it as you can by standing on it. Then, sprinkle the stain with a small amount of bicarb soda and tap it with your fingers. You will find that the stain goes pale grey, as you have changed the pH of the stain. Sponge the bicarb soda out with a cloth wrung out tightly in white vinegar and you will notice that the stain goes pale pink, as you are doing it as you have reverse the pH. With heavy stains you may need to do this several times, and you will find that each time you change the PH of the stain it gets lighter and loosens from the carpet.
  • Don’t be tempted to use newspaper to clean glass!  50 years ago, newspaper used to contain a material called lampblack that was a wonderful glass polish, but it has not contained in this material for a very long time. Instead, use white vinegar and paper towel but remember always use vertical strokes on the outside of the window and horizontal stripes on the inside. Having the strokes different allows you to see when you miss a spot, and vertical strokes on the outside means that rain will run down without leaving track marks across your window.
  • Tablecloths and other soft furnishings can get covered in all sorts of stains when you are dining alfresco.  Prevention is always better than cure, so simply spray cheap hairspray over the surface of your outdoor tablecloths, cushions etc. Spills can then be wiped away with a paper towel and the hairspray will come out easily in the wash.
  • To clean canvas and outdoor furnishing fabric, saturate them with a heavy salt solution (1 kg of un-iodised salt per 9 L bucket of water) leave to dry and then just brush off. As the salt water dries the crystals regrow expanding in the fibres and pulling the mould spore out of the fabric with them. Firmly brush the crystals off for a lovely, clean, mould- free finish.
  • If you find that your drawers are sticking rub a cake of normal bathroom soap along the runners, not only does this keep them moving smoothly it stops insects getting into your drawers.

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Posted by Elaine50Report
Bicarb Soda and white vinegar (equal parts) is perfect to soften new bed sheets first wash. Thank you.
Posted by Jacqueline336Report
Does anyone know how to get red clothing dye out of a white plastic laundry sink please, I had to soak a red dress and the dye strained the wash tub :(
Posted by Joanna188Report
Great tips!
Posted by Susan223Report
No one wants dirt in their home. This makes a bad impression on visitors. I love your tips specially how to deal with red wine stain. I personally had an bad experience of dealing with these stains :(
Thanks for writing these tips. Did you ever tried skip bins? That is also a nice way to keep your waste out. :P
Posted by Always Fresh CarpetReport
Hey Mate,
I totally agree with you.
Posted by Always Fresh CarpetReport
Hey Mate,
Totally agree with you.