Tips for Tackling Household Stains

Home, Home & Family
on November 24, 2011

Some stains, once they’ve set, are impossible to get out. Others can be removed or improved with everyday cleaning products. Try these tips to help whiten and brighten clothing and to eliminate smudges from furniture and other household items.

  • Remove rings from coffee mugs and teacups by filling each cup with water and adding a denture tablet. To save money, use a half-teaspoon of baking soda instead of a denture tablet, suggests Mary Findley, co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Cleaning and founder of the Mary Moppins cleaning system.
  • Try foam shaving cream on stained furniture fabric. First, read the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and test on an inconspicuous spot. “Liquid cleaners soak in,” Findley says, “but the foam stays on top. Let it sit 10 to 15 minutes and wipe off with a sponge dampened with vinegar.”
  • Before laundering white tablecloths or clothing that has yellowed, soak the items in a sink filled with water and the juice of a lemon.
  • Lemon juice also may remove rust stains.
  • For whiter, brighter clothes, fill the washing machine with water, 1 to 2 cups of hydrogen peroxide, and organic laundry detergent. Add clothes and let them soak for 30 minutes before turning the washer back on to finish the cycle. “The trick is to give the cleaner time to work,” Findley says. Always read the manufacturer’s tags inside clothing items and follow instructions before cleaning.
  • Pour liquid dishwashing detergent onto grass-stained clothes and allow to soak overnight. Rinse well, so the detergent won’t foam, before running through a wash cycle. “Liquid dish soap is also a good degreaser,” Findley adds.

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