Stains happen. They are as inevitable as those other two, death and taxes, and they happen more often than either of those two. You can minimize clutter with common household stain removers by knowing a few stain removing tricks. Reduce the number of specialty cleaning chemicals, and organizing is half done.
The rule of thumb for stains on fabrics and carpets is to only use the amount of treatment needed, starting with the most mild treatment, working gradually to more powerful stain fighters. Rely on common stain fighters that you already have own to limit your exposure to chemicals and allergens, and to save money.
If you know what kind of stain you have, your battle is half over. Treat it immediately with the right stuff. Work from the outside edge of the stain inward to avoid spreading the stain.
Oil stains should be blotted, then covered with a layer of fine cornstarch or even talcum powder, which will soak up excess oil. Wash with a spot treatment of liquid dish detergent, such as Dawn liquid. Simple Green is a great all-purpose de-greaser that can be used at full strength if needed, and diluted to treat oily laundry stains. (It’s smart to test in an inconspicuous area first.)
Protein stains, like food or blood, can sometimes be soaked out with regular water or seltzer water. Baking soda is a great scrubbing booster.
Baking soda and white vinegar works to eliminate both stains and odors. In fact, you can replace your fabric softener all together and replace it with vinegar in your washer’s cycle to refresh and soften clothes.
Hydrogen peroxide is also a stain lifter, especially for organic stains on light or white fabrics.
White paste toothpaste (not gel!) can also be used to remove ink marks from leather. It works to remove permanent marker from woodwork, too. It also works as a wall spackle in a pinch.
White shaving cream can clean many carpet stains, including red wine.
Hair spray and rubbing alcohol can remove ballpoint ink. Place a towel underneath the stain and spray until wet. The ink should work through to the paper towel.
Get wax or gum on the tablecloth? Place in freezer (or spot freeze by applying ice), then scrape off as much as possible, following up with a spot treatment for oily stains before laundering.
Orange and grapefruit essential oils (or any cleaner with an orange base, such as lemon oil used to polish wood) can be used to remove stickers from glass and furniture.
Another all natural stain remover is a steamer. The multifunction SteamMachine from HomeRight can steam your carpets, clothes, and grout. Steam machines are notorious for being weak or clogging easily, so it’s best to buy a good one for your needs.
If you only stock one commercial stain remover in your arsenal, my choice is an oxy product like Tide with Oxi. The oxi action works to break down many kinds of stains, while being kinder to your clothes than bleach. And it’s a multi-use product that can clean many household items in place, and even things like cleaning patio furniture.
A surprising stain eliminator is bright sunshine. Lay freshly laundered whites in the sun to dry, and many organic stains, like baby spit-up and diaper stains, disappear. This works best with direct summer sunlight, and does not work in the winter where we live in PA.
Lemon juice from a real lemon will attack sweat stains, coffee stains, and will even shine copper pennies and pots when you scrub with a little salt. Who doesn’t want clean pennies?
Some of these stain removers are so easy to forget about, and it’s easy to reach for that toxic stuff from the grocery store. You might want to print this list for your laundry room or pin it to your Pinterest boards.