After I wrote yesterday about getting nail polish stains out of a shirt, several of you offered advice for removing other types of stains — so I thought it might be useful to compile those comments here in case they’d be helpful to others.
Kristy says: “For fresh berry stains, pour hot water (straight from a tea kettle is best) through the stain. (Please don’t do this while wearing the garment. I wish I didn’t have to actually state that.)”
Ashley comments: “While we’re on the topic of stains – I use a peroxide-soaked cotton ball to get blood stains out of my scrubs. I’ve also used that trick on denim when my nephew scrapes his knees and whatever else :)”
From Laura: “For the chapstick, put a not so nice kitchen towel over it. Put a medium hot iron on it and run for a a few seconds. This will pull the wax off of the carpet so that you can treat the color. This works on candle wax also on table clothes. For the stain, you can use any of the suggestions above.”
Sue B. says: “I’ve been using zout spray with a sprinkle of the powdered oxy clean on top of that rub it in a little then wash like normal. It has successfully removed all my stains from blood to food, if used it once or twice on carpeting as well.
- From Scott: “the best trick I have tried on oil stains is to spray them with WD40, let it set a minute or two and then use dish soap. Works everytime.”
- Yvette says: “I have always used my grandmother’s trick for getting out oil stains. Dust the stain with a heavy dose of flour (or corn starch or baby powder) and let it soak up the oil. Sometimes requires a second application depending on the amount of oil, but really helps in emergency situations to prevent the stain from setting in if you can’t remove the item right away. (Funny how certain restaurants and such frown on topless dining, eh?)”
- Jen shares: “I have a trick for olive oil too. We had food in a take home back bag that got a little to close to me. Big olive oil stain on my pants. I washed them and nothing came out. I left them out to air dry and then covered the stain with baby powder for a few days. Brushed off the baby powder, washed as normal, air dryed and no stain.”
- Kristy comments: “For the oil stains, do not waste your time and energy scrubbing out the stains. Apply full strength Dawn (or similar dish detergent) directly to the stains if they are large, then put in a bucket (or large bowl) of cool water and let it sit overnight (or longer) and launder as usual. Sometimes it can take multiple attempts, but you really don’t need to actually scrub it. That’s the job of the soap/detergent. I dropped a brand new bottle of canola oil, and it completely splattered my cotton skirt. I put the Dawn only on the biggest spots (because really the whole skirt was covered in tiny speckles of oil) and let it soak in warm water in my large mixing bowl for a couple of days (I forgot about it, oops!) then laundered it normally. It all came out.”
- From Barb: “You can get GOOP from Home Depot or Menards that gets out oil stains pretty well.”
- From Michelle: “My niece slept on my leather sofa with sharpie drawings on her arms. It left sharpie tattoos all over the leather. I used spray sunscreen to get it off. Be careful with dark colored leather though. (it can remove the color) Don’t spray it directly on. I used Qtips and traced the drawings. Worked like a charm.”
- And Barb says: “Hairspray for sharpie or pen marks works well.”
Outlander comments: “One more tip: if you need to clean soot of the walls, I found that only Magic Eraser works! I’m sure you are wondering- I had a candle burning in the bathroom during one power outage and my kids thought it was fun to put a wad of paper towel in it, which in turn made bigger flame and candle melt and drip. In other words we were lucky I noticed in time. The walls were covered in soot, and I tried scrubbing with different cleaners and rags, but nothing worked until I used Magic Eraser. It really was magic!”
From Outlander: “Here is a tip for spaghetti sauce or other tomato based sauce- put SHAVING CREAM on it, let sit a bit, rub it in if necessary and rinse out as much as you can. It happened to me- I spilled it on very light colored carpet (sand colored), rubbed it in and it really worked. I blotted it really good with paper towels.”
- From Jane: “Avons SSS (skin so soft) will take any kind of labels or stickers or residues off. Its a miracle cure all!”
- Deb suggests: “My husband got a laptop soft case for free and it had a large sticker with residue on it I got it off with peanut butter. Now my son has a perfect laptop case for free.”
Outlander comments: “I can’t remember exactly, but I think I remember hearing to soak with white vinegar and then wash. Maybe use some baking soda too. Baking soda is great for many things. Make a paste of it and rub into a stain and it will probably remove the stain.”
From Outlander: “Not sure if it will work on dog pee, but (on mattresses when my kids had accidents and I got big yellow stains) what usually works is baking soda generously sprinkled on top. Let dry and vacuum up. You might have to repeat it. Make sure you do it while it is wet, you will see soda turn yellow as it absorbs the pee. If it is dry by the time I get to it, I spritz with diluted vinegar, or diluted bleach or just water. Don’t get it too wet. Then put soda on it and let dry.”
Last ditch stain removal recipe
Kristy shares: “For really, really stubborn stains, I use the stain removal recipe recommended by Amy Dacyczyn from the Tightwad Gazette:
1 cup Clorox II (or generic equivalent)
1 cup Cascade powdered automatic dish washing detergent (or generic equivalent) Pour into a 5 gallon bucket (Homer buckets are perfect for this). Add the hot water (from the tap is fine) until the powders dissolve (about 2-3 gallons). Soak the clothes directly in the bucket, overnight or for up to 24 hours. Drain, wring out the clothes, and launder normally.
I would recommend this as a last ditch effort, not for regular use – it can damage elastics. I have only had one thing “ruined” – a white shirt with red embroidery bled back onto itself (but nothing else in the load), and it faded out to a very faint pink spot after washing. This has worked on everything but road tar (but at least my husband’s safety shirts were extremely bright!)”