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Tips To Remove Stains

Easy Ways To Remove Stains

Like it or not, sooner or later you'll find a stain of something or other on your favorite t-shirt, blouse, suit, or even on outdoor furniture! Everything under the sun has the potential of being stained at one time or another. As a matter of fact, sunlight itself causes stains. At the moment, we'll address a variety of other types of things that cause stain and what you can do to remove stain from your valued possessions or clothing.

"What And Where" Of Stain Removal

The word "stain" is actually defined as a "discoloration by a foreign matter." Determining the components of the stain will determine what agent you will employ to effectively lift and remove the stain itself.

Most stains are relatively easy to identify. They may be juice or fruit stains, blood, grass, tomato or other food stains, oil and grease (edible or not), rust, water spots, etc. They may also be caused from moisture, chemicals, minerals, mildew and rot.

  • Organic Stains
  • Mineral, Rust or Metallic Stains
  • Petroleum, Grease or Oil Based Stains
  • Environmental, Smoke or Dust Stains
  • Water Stains

Obviously, the location or material that has the stain ultimately dictates how you will go about getting the stain removed. If it's an automotive oil stain on the concrete of your garage, it will not respond to the same treatment you use for removing salad oil from your good dress. Can't you just see it now? "Use a few drops of liquid dish detergent on the concrete, scrub lightly and toss into the washer!"

Kidding aside, let's get serious about treating serious stains.

Removing Organic Stains

The rule of thumb is to treat stains with like-substances. Organic stains can be anything from A to Z that grows naturally and includes apples, avocado and grass stains, blood stains, berry stains, tobacco stains, urine stains, coffee stains, leaves, bird and animal droppings, etc. Organic stains respond to cleaners that contain hydrogen peroxide, enzymes (complex organic substances that are found in cells of plants and animals), ammonia and oxygen. Organic stains may also be removed by flushing with household ammonia, white vinegar, lemon juice OR plain water and allowing to dry in bright sunlight. Sunlight itself is known for its bleaching effect.

Again, dependent upon the material that contains the stain, use caution before applying any stain remover. There are a lot of disparities between objects and/or materials. For instance, an organic stain on marble should NEVER be treated with a remover that contains acid - that means, no lemon juice, no white vinegar. So what do you use on marble? A mild solution of hydrogen peroxide with a few drops of ammonia directly on the stain. Blot up when bubbling stops.

Rust Stain Removal

Rust stains or any other metallic stains can be very difficult to treat. In the old days, if your linens, towels, and clothing was washed in water with a high iron content, they were subject to the rusty, red stain of the iron. There are specific products today that are very effective in spot stain removal. One I especially recommend is called Rust-Away. Besides working well with rust spots, it has the added advantage of being 100% environmentally friendly - including its plastic container which is recyclable.

Another common metallic stain, besides iron, is copper. You all know what that looks like. Besides common rust stains from water in porcelain sinks, copper could also be transferred onto the porcelain because most homes were built with copper pipes to carry the water. Today, PVC has replaced most of the old piping, but copper can still be a problem. Again, be aware of the surface that has the copper stain. It is on porcelain, you may try saturating the stain with white vinegar. You can keep the vinegar from running off by either saturating a sponge with the vinegar, a washcloth, or several thicknesses of paper towel and letting it sit on the stain. Then use a little elbow grease along with the vinegar soaked sponge or rag and scrub until the stain is gone. If it's an old stain, you may need to repeat this.

The best way to remove this type of stain is to remove the offensive minerals from your water. I speak from experience. My well is 360 feet deep and has a high concentrate of iron and manganese. My sinks, dishwasher, bathtubs, toilets and washing machine were all becoming very stained by rust. It was an investment, but one that I have never regretted. I had a water purification filter system installed in my pump house. Not only did the system effectively remove a natural odor (like spoiled eggs) caused by manganese, but also has stopped the rust deposits in my appliances. I purchased commercial preparations to remove the rust from my dishwasher and clothes washer which worked very well. The stains inside my dryer have disappeared and, after cleaning thoroughly, the stains in the toilets, sinks and bathtubs have also disappeared. In this case, $700.00 worth of prevention is priceless!

Removing Stains Caused By Grease, Petroleum Or Oil

Whenever possible, it's best to use biodegradable products to remove petroleum products, grease and motor oil stains from your concrete garage floors, walkways and driveways. There are a number of good products available, one of which is called Accepta 7121 specially formulated as a concrete and asphalt cleaner.

However, lacking that, if the stain or spill requires emergency action, sprinkle clean cat litter on the puddle of oil, and allow it to soak up the excess, then sweep it up and dispose of it. If you don't have any cat litter handy, use paper towels, newspapers or old rags to mop up as much of the oil as possible. Sprinkle a liberal amount of powdered detergent on the stain, add a couple of cups of hot water, then scrub vigorously with a long handled, stiff brush. Wipe up, flood with hot water, and mop up. You may need a few applications like this to remove the stain.

Smoke or Dust Stains On Walls

Some stains just happen - you didn't drop or spill anything but there it is. Maybe you decided to move furniture around which involves hanging pictures in a different location. You take one down and find the wall around it is so stained that you can see where the picture was hanging. Atmospheric dirt and dust is constantly around us - indoors and out. This atmospheric contamination, which may also contain smoke residue if you have cigarette smokers in the house or use a wood stove, clings to walls and works its way in. It eventually sets and noticeably alters the colors of your walls. Before you resort to repainting the room, try washing the walls first.

  • 1 Cup Household Ammonia
  • 1/2 Cup Liquid Colorless Detergent
  • 3 Gallons of Warm Water

Don't forget to protect your hands with rubber gloves as the ammonia, which is great for cutting grease, can be pretty hard on bare skin. Use a large household sponge and begin at the bottom of the wall and work up. Do section by section. Depending on the size of the room, this can be a big chore for one person. Enlist the help of your spouse, roommate, or teenager. Once you get started, it goes pretty quickly. The benefit is your walls are clean and you don't have to put up with the painting mess and expense. If any of the cleaning solution drops on carpeting or furniture, it will not leave a bleach stain.

Generally, water stains are caused by dust adhering to moist surface. If this is the case, washing the entire wall should do much to alleviate the stain. If the moisture has actually encouraged mildew or mold to grow, that's a whole different ballgame.


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Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Mrs Clean (Corina Wilson) is not only the owner of the company, but a very busy mother of 3 children.

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Mrs Clean realized long ago, that a clean home is a necessity, not a luxury when we are struggling to find the time in our day to cover the very basic levels of work and/or family obligations. The battle seems to never end... (but that's why we're here to help!)

When Mrs Clean is not busy managing her house cleaning company or running her kids back and forth to their events, she enjoys experimenting with natural and non-toxic cleaners and learning new techniques to remove stains.

She thoroughly enjoys sharing her valuable information with the readers of her blogs and various social media sites.

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