22 Home Hacks for Removing Common Stains

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Accidents happen, and they can totally put a damper on your otherwise positive demeanor if you don’t know how to properly eliminate the stains they cause around the house. To prevent your own spontaneous combustion, consider these 22 home hacks for common stains:

1. Coffee on Clothing

We’ve all mistakenly sipped from the wrong end of the Starbucks cup. When that happens, reach for the seltzer, says cleaning coach Leslie Reichert. When you spill coffee on your white shirt, spritz it with the seltzer water, she advises. Blot the stain after applying.

If you have a Sodastream machine, its quick and easy to create seltzer out of ordinary tap water that you can keep in the car.

2. Red Wine

The best solution for removing red wine is hydrogen peroxide. Pour the hydrogen peroxide right over the wine stain and let it sit. If you have a big spill you can sprinkle the area with salt to absorb the wine, then shake it off [or vacuum] and use the hydrogen peroxide.

Merry Maids home cleaning expert Debra Johnson offers another solution: If you notice a red wine stain, blot it right away with a white cloth until all of the liquid has been absorbed, she says. If the stains dry, whip up a quick solution of dishwashing liquid (1 tbsp), white vinegar (1 tbsp) and warm water (2 cups) to blot away the stain.

3. Chocolate

Red wine pairs very well with certain chocolates. If they both end up on your clothes, place the item with the chocolate stain in the freezer then scrape off all the hard chocolate. Use a drop of dish soap in water and dab the area until the color comes out. Finish by rubbing the area with alcohol to remove the greasy stain.

4. Salad Dressing

To remove salad dressing stains, blot the area and remove as much of the oil as you can. Spritz the area with rubbing alcohol or vodka and let the alcohol break down the oil. Then gently rub in a gentle soap like ivory soap to lift and remove the stain.

5. Candle Wax and Crayons

Place the stained item in the freezer and remove as much of the hard part as you can. Once the item is back to room temperature, place a clean white cloth over the area and use a warm iron to pull the wax out of the area. Continue until the wax or crayon is removed. If there is a waxy or oily film remaining, use alcohol over the area to break down the oils, and then finish with a gentle soap to lift out residual stains.

6. Pet Urine

Blot up as much of the pet urine that you can from the area. Sprinkle the area with baking soda to absorb the moisture. Pick up any moist baking soda and sprinkle more on the area. Spray with hydrogen peroxide. You can then continue to clean the area with dry towels. Finally you can spray the area with an enzyme cleaner that can be bought at a pet supply store or make your own with orange peels and brown sugar. The enzymes are actually good bacteria that will eat the urine until they go dormant. You want to keep the area moist as the enzymes go dormant when they dry up.

7. Permanent Marker

Use non-gel toothpaste to remove permanent marker from cabinets, advises Meg Roberts, president of Molly Maid. Apply a small amount of the white paste directly on the marker stain and use a clean, white cloth to wipe along the grain on the cabinet to remove the stain.

8. Coffee Pot Residue

I learned how to clean coffee pots working a bowling alley when I was a teenager using salt, ice cubes, and cold water, but Roberts offers another tactic. Take some powdered dishwasher detergent, shake it into the bottom of a cool coffee pot and fill with hot water, she says. Let it sit for an hour and it should be good as new — no scrubbing, no boiling, no replacement needed.

9. Oil on Upholstered Furniture

Family movie night is fun, but hands from buttery popcorn can leave spots on your upholstered furniture. When that happens, place a brown paper lunch bag on the oily spot to absorb the grease and run a warm iron over it to lift the mark away. For leather furniture, sprinkle cornstarch on the spot, let it sit for two to four hours and then wipe away. Another hack is to use a clarifying shampoo on the oily stain.

10. Rusty Toilet Bowl Rings

To easily clean toilet stains including stubborn rust rings, drop two Polident denture cleaning tablets in the bowl and let them fizz for 15 minutes. Then gently scrub the bowl with a toilet brush and flush to rinse.

11. Ink

Simply add the alcohol to a cotton ball, or if it’s a tiny stain you can use a Q-tip. Then blot the ink stain. Don’t rub it around, otherwise the stain will spread. The alcohol absorbs into the cotton ball. Blot until the stain is full removed. You may need a couple more cotton balls if you run out of room for the ink, depending on how severe the stain.

If you want to check out the remaining 11 hacks, be sure to click here for Part 2!

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