Time is tight, dinner is cooking and the dog just had an accident on the carpet. Let's take a look at some ideas to quickly remove stains using natural products - perhaps with an exception or two.
First a few general rules for removing stains:
My number one rule: Give your product time to work. Rubbing alcohol removes ink off most surfaces but not the minute you blot it on. Dab on your cleaner then allow a 30 minute wait. This gives the product time to dissolve the residue eliminating all the rubbing and scrubbing.
Always get to a spill immediately. The longer a spill sets the worse the stain.
Rinse the cleaner out of fabrics especially carpets with one-quarter cup white vinegar in two cups of water. Then repeat with plain water.
Blotting properly prevents fraying of fabric. Blot using a damp towel. Form a knuckle with your index finger and push into the towel.
Rock you finger back and forth, move the towel then rock your finger left to right. Repeat. Reapply the cleaner if needed. After the second application of cleaner, again make a knuckle with your index finger. Push your knuckle and the towel into the carpet then twist your wrist clockwise. Carpet fibers are twisted clockwise. This removes the stain from between the fibers without leaving them fuzzy.
Do not use heat of any kind even hot water. Heat sets stains. Dryer heat particularly means certain death for easy removal.
Put a clean rag under the fabric you are working on to prevent the stain from spreading to another surface.
Most stains land in 4 categories; food, grease etc., dirt and who knows. Throw in easy solutions for wax and gum and most perplexing
problems tuck their tails and run.
Do your white clothes appear dingy even though you bleach them? Bleach causes the discoloration. Add one-half to 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide per regular washer. The first time allow the clothes to soak in the washer for 30 minutes. Then wash normally only use less detergent. White clothes return to their normal brightness and colored cloths perk up as well. Add one quarter cup of baking soda to your washer for additional freshness.
Back to basics on laundry. Begin filling your washer with water (not for front loading machines.) Add your detergent and peroxide then
the clothes. The detergent can't clean unless it dissolves. Switch to liquid detergents for front loading washers.
Fill your tub only three-quarters full. Clothes clean by the agitating action amongst themselves. Crowd them and this cleaning action comes to a halt. Pretreat most stains with a dab of liquid dish soap. Add a few squirts to a spray bottle filled with water. It's cheaper than prewash sprays, works better too
Remember heat sets stains. Don't dry clothes unless the stain is gone.
Food Food never spills down your front unless you are out in public where it quickly makes a mockery of your front side. Should, that happen, head to the closest restroom. Gently dab a bit of liquid soap on the spot and resist the temptation to rub. Let the soap set. It may look funny until you get home, but the food stain comes right out.
Popsicles, red wine and other red dye stains
Cherry popsicles are a favorite treat except when they land in your lap. Mix a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and cool water.
Spray on and let it set 30 minutes. Rinse with a vinegar and water solution. It may take a treatment or two but it comes out. Peroxide
is bleach, so always test a spot first.
If a favorite shirt has an old stain, soak it in a 50/50 solution of peroxide and water for 30 minutes. It might surprise you and come
out, even after going through the dryer.
Coffee, coke, mustard and the likes of whatever your dish soap doesn't remove: First dab on liquid dish soap and let that set several hours. Blot and rinse as above. If the stain insists on being stubborn, try foaming shaving cream. Spray on the spot, no need to rub it in, and wait 30 to 60 minutes. I've had more good luck removing food stains with shaving cream. It contains 2 or 3 kinds of alcohol and they do an excellent job. The gel shaving cream does not work so use foaming.
Grease and oil
In the driveway or garage: Kitty litter will absorb most of the oil and grease. Apply and use a brush to work it into the concrete. In the evening, pour on concentrated orange cleaner letting it set overnight. It pulls any oil or grease to the surface. Use old towels to absorb what you can and hose down.
Oil or grease on fabrics or other surfaces: Dab on a bit of a natural orange cleaner and let that set at least an hour. Then blot with a clean cloth. It may take a treatment or two, but it works.
PLEASE follow this advice very carefully. If you spill gasoline on your clothes or in your car, dispose of your clothing properly and
replace the carpeting in your car. Gasoline and water don't mix making complete removal impossible. Gas spontaneously combusts
especially when the weather turns hot.
Always put a container of gas inside a plastic tub when carrying it in your car. If the tank spills over, the tub keeps the gas
contained saving your carpet.
Rubbing alcohol does a great job every time. Remember to let the alcohol set for 30 minutes. If regular rubbing alcohol doesn't work ask your pharmacist for denatured alcohol.
Permanent magic markers mean just that. They are nearly impossible to remove. Try dabbing on a bit of concentrated orange
cleaner. Let it set even overnight. Rinse to remove. Sometimes toothpaste will help lighten marker stains.
Grass stains and knees. It's a given, walk across the lawn and they appear from nowhere. Immediately rub in some liquid dish soap, let it set overnight, wash as usual.
Treat dirt or red clay on children's baseball uniforms in the same manner. For really stubborn spots mix a paste of dishwasher
detergent and work in. Don't rub real hard, or you could damage the fabric.
Wash on the top rack of your dishwasher. Remove before the dry cycle and air dry.
Gum and Wax
Freeze gum with an ice cube. Ice hardens it making removal easy.
Oh those dripless candles. They can and do drip, but nobody told you. First freeze the wax with an ice cube in a ziplock plastic bag.
Then chip off as much as you can with the blunt side of a knife. Using a hair dryer and a plain white paper towel, heat the wax blotting with the paper towel as it melts. This works just fine for carpets as well as fabrics. Remember to put plastic under a fabric so the wax doesn't transfer to the other surface.
Do not use this method on silk, wool or dry clean only fabrics. Always test a spot first for color fastness. Hydrogen peroxide is bleach, it's safe but it is bleach and could discolor the fabric. Often using household bleach only causes stains to worsen. Hydrogen peroxide will not cause those problems. If you use a 3% peroxide found at grocery and drug stores it can be used full strength. Often a 50/50 solution of peroxide to water works just as well. If you use a 20 to 30% solution then dilute with water 1 part peroxide to 5 to 6 parts water. Pour the peroxide on the stain and allow to set 30 minutes. Then wash as normal using cool water. Air dry to make sure the stain has been completely removed. Heat sets a stain making it difficult to remove. If the stain is still present after 30 minutes use the peroxide full strength.
If the shirt has odors as well as stains, then fill a sink with cool water adding 2 cups of peroxide and 1/2 cup of baking soda. Wait 30 minutes and launder.
Squeeze the juice from a lemon on the spot. Sprinkle on some salt and let it set several hours keeping the spot damp with lemon juice.
This is the order of business: 1) Dab on liquid dish soap; 2) Try WD40; 3) follow with hydrogen peroxide/water mixture or club soda and finally; 4) Break cleaner. If all those fail, send in your suggestions.
So your pet got sick after lunch and your carpet now has red stains. First of all switch food. It's the red dye in the dog or cat food that causes the problem. Dogs and cats are colored blind so they can't tell the difference. They want good tasting food not good looking food.
Follow the directions for popsicles above to remove the stain.
Always keep a bottle of a live enzyme product handy. Nature's Miracle is an excellent product. Remember when liquid hits the padding it spreads. A stain on the padding is twice as large as the surface stain. Unless the entire area is treated the pet continues to return to that spot. Pour enough enzyme product on the spot to saturate to the padding. Follow bottle directions allowing the enzymes time to eat away the residue. Then rinse with 1/2 cup white vinegar per quart of water then again with plain water. Vinegar also
helps neutralize odors.
Mary Findley spent 12 years professionally cleaning homes. Her book "Whistle While You Work" is the first ever written for the care of
RVs. It also covers home cleaning as well. She writes articles for several magazines and conducts informative and humorous seminars. You are welcome to print out her complete stain removal guide from her website at www.GoClean.com.