How to Remove Stains Guide

When using any household chemicals, handle them with care and store them out of the reach of children. Never mix chemicals with each other or with household cleaning products unless there are specific directions to do so. Wear rubber gloves when working with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide solution, household ammonia, acids, or chlorine bleach. To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to work in a well-ventilated room. Establish cross ventilation with open windows and doors and an window fan to exhaust air.


Before using any chemical, test it on a small corner of the stain. If your procedure is wrong, the chemical damage will be limited to that one area. If you use steel wool on a stain, use grade 00 and rub gently. On wood, rub with the grain.

Alcoholic beverages. Try rubbing with a clean cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol.

Blood. Try clear, cold water first (before any detergent). If the stain remains, cautiously apply a solution of ammonia and cold water, and quickly rinse to avoid discoloration.

Cigarette burn. For heavy stains, try scouring powder and a piece of fine steel wool or a plastic scouring pad dipped in water.

Ink. Try a commercial ink remover, carefully following instructions, or us rubbing alcohol. It might be helpful to cover the stain with a poultice of earth and alcohol, cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight.

Lipstick. Try fine steel wool wet with detergent and water. If the floor is hard surfaced or has a no-wax finish, or is embossed vinyl composition, use a plastic scouring pad instead of steel wool.

Wallpaper. Clean fresh spots on wallpaper as soon as possible. Blot a new grease spot with a clean paper towel. Then, holding a fresh piece of absorbent paper on the spot, press with a warm (not hot) iron. Change the paper when it becomes greasy.

Coffee and tea stains. Remove stains from glass or ceramic pots by soaking them in a solution of 2 tablespoons chlorine bleach per 1 cup water. Another method is to soak the stained cookware overnight in a solution of 2 tablespoons automatic dishwasher detergent to 1 pot warm water.

Shoe polish or nail polish. If concentrated detergent solution doesn’t work on resilient flooring, try scouring powder or steel wool. On wood and cork, fine steel wool should do the trick. Don’t use nail polish remover; it may soften resilient flooring.

Tar. Use ice cubes to chill the tar to brittleness. Then scrape toe tar carefully with a plastic spatula. To remove the tar stain, apply a damp cloth wrapped around a paste made of powdered detergent, chalk, or diatomaceous earth and water. Leave the paste on the stain for several hours.

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