DIY Stain Removers

By Caroline Strogis

We’ve all been there, a party guest splashes her red wine on your new white rug, or you turn around for two minutes and come back to crayon-coated walls. Spills and stains can happen in an instant. If only the clean-up process were just as quick and easy.

Our initial instinct is to use some stain- remover from the store, full of chemicals. But, scrubbing away with expensive cleaners to undo a mistake that took seconds to make gets frustrating. What if the solution to easily eliminating tough stains were already in your cabinets?

Homemade stain removers are often cheaper, more natural and more effective. Here are some ways to remove the most common stains without running to the store:

INK STAINS

Ink stains are tough, but the solution is quite simple. Most can be removed with alcohol, specifically ethanol. You can find ethanol in non-aerosol hairspray, hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol. Apply the alcohol of choice liberally and let the material soak for 10 minutes, then throw the item in the wash on a normal cycle. is trick will work even for set-in ink stains, and is safe to use on color fabrics!

RED WINE STAINS

Red wine stains can be lifted to the fabric’s surface and easily washed out with the application of salt and club soda. First blot the stain to dry excess fluid, then cover the spot with salt. Wait a few minutes and rinse with club soda, and then again with water. is method is effective because it makes it easy to act fast and not let the stain set. Another great thing about this trick is that it’s available both at home and at most restaurants. There’s no need to let a small spill ruin your night!

GREASE/OIL STAINS

Grease and oil stains, including crayon and lipstick, can be problematic if they are rubbed in or left to set. However, WD-40 is great for removing oil and grease from fabrics of all kinds. You simply spray the area, let it soak, then wash as usual. If you don’t own WD-40, an alternative for oily fabric stains is baby powder. e powder soaks up the oil and the stain will rise to the surface, making it easier to remove. Using WD-40 or baby powder to soak or lift the stain is an important first step before you start scrubbing away at greasy fabric stains. WD-40 is also great for wiping o crayon, dirt and fingerprint marks on walls.

SWEAT STAINS

Before you throw away your kid’s white shirts because of those yellow, underarm sweat stains, try this removal trick. Crush two aspirins and dissolve the powder in a 1/2 cup of warm water. Soak the stain for two to three hours, (the longer the better), then rinse to find your go-to white-tee looking good as new. If you don’t have aspirin, a mixture of lemon juice, salt and water will often lift the stain. For this remedy, however, be sure to wash the garment quickly after application!

MATTRESS STAINS

Even though our mattresses are covered by layers of sheets, sometimes as parents we know deep down that our child’s mattress has a stain or two from a potty accident. Here’s how you can get those dreaded yellow spots out of the mattress that you spent a lot of money on! Fill an empty spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, finish with a simple drop of liquid dishwashing soap. Spray the yellow stained area and let it soak for five to 10 minutes. Blot the wet area with a towel to raise the stain. If the stain is not completely out, repeat the process!

Giggle Tip: Spot test a small section before cleaning the mattress! There are some mattresses in which this remedy may not be the best.