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The 10 Most Common Household Stains And How To Clean Them

Household stains are a fact of life. No matter how pristine your home may look right now, sometime soon — in a week, a few days, or maybe even as you’re reading this article — you’re going to spill something.

If you’re anything like me, your first reaction is to mourn that part of your home, because there’s absolutely no way that your spilled glass of red wine is ever going to come out of your carpet.

Before you rearrange your furniture to strategically hide your spill, read on to see how to clean even the most stubborn common household stains.

**Note: Always test an inconspicuous spot first to make sure your treatment will not leave any discolourations.

Red Wine

how to clean red wine stain

A glass of red wine is a great way to unwind after a long day…unless you spill it, in which case it’s a major source of anxiety and stress. If you were unfortunate enough to stain your couch or rug, follow these steps to have them looking good as new.

  1. Dab (don’t rub) stain with paper towels to absorb as much liquid as possible.
  2. Spread salt liberally over the stain.
  3. Pour club soda over the stain.
  4. Wait a few hours or overnight while the salt soaks up the stain.
  5. Gently wipe or vacuum the salt away.
  6. If the stain persists, mix 3 parts hydrogen peroxide with 1 part dishwashing liquid. Pour over stain, let sit, and repeat as necessary. Blot away with paper towel when finished.

Pet Stains

how to clean pet stain

They may be man’s best friend, but your pet can be your home’s worst nightmare. If your pet had an accident on your carpet, the perfect remedy is waiting in your pantry.

  1. Absorb as much of the stain as possible with paper towel.
  2. Soak the stain with vinegar.
  3. Add a small amount of baking soda.
  4. Let sit at least a few hours or overnight.
  5. Vacuum the baking soda away.

Scuff Marks

how to clean scuff mark

Image courtesy of Helen Adams Realty

From shoe markings on hardwood floors to lines on your doors from banging your suitcase into them, it’s easy for a home to quickly accumulate scuff marks. Thankfully, there’s one “magic” solution.

  1. Dampen a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
  2. Gently rub scuff mark.
  3. Watch it disappear.

Seriously, depending on the severity of the particular scuff mark, it can be that easy. Just be especially careful when treating scuff marks on walls — if you rub too hard, you could damage the paint and leave an even bigger marking. Door and windowsill paint is usually fine, though.


how to clean juice stain

Image courtesy of Harpenden Cleaning

Many parents can attest to how much kids love juice, as well as the inevitable cleanup process that can so often be the case. The next time that juice time gets a little too exciting, here’s how to clean up the mess.

  1. Blot with paper towel to absorb as much liquid as possible.
  2. Spray with water and continue blotting. Continue until you no longer see any juice being absorbed.
  3. If there is still a stain, combine 1 tablespoon of basic dishwashing liquid (no bleach or lanolin) with 2 cups of warm water.
  4. Use a sponge to work solution into the stain. Blot with a paper towel.
  5. Repeat step 4 until stain is gone.
  6. Rinse out solution by spraying with area with water and blotting.


how to clean coffee stain

Not only is your floor a mess now, you’re also still groggy because you didn’t get to have your coffee yet! Don’t worry, it’s easy to clean up so you should have no problem treating the stain while you’re still half asleep.

  1. Blot as much as coffee as possible with paper towel.
  2. Pour a small amount of cold water onto the stain and blot. Repeat until as much of the coffee as possible is absorbed.
  3. Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of dish soap and 2 cups of warm water.
  4. Apply cleaning solution with a towel to the stain.
  5. Blot solution out of carpet/material with clean paper towel.
  6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 if necessary.
  7. Rinse by pouring a small amount of water onto the affected area.
  8. Blot with a clean towel until as much moisture as possible is removed.


how to clean blood stain

Image courtesy of Band Aid

This is perhaps the most unpleasant stain, as well as one of the most difficult ones to get out. If you act fast (after first treating your wound, of course), you just may be able to save your furniture before it has a chance to set in.

  1. Mix 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with 2 cups of cold water.
  2. Dip a clean cloth into the solution and blot it on the stain.
  3. Blot stain with a clean cloth.
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 until the stain is gone.
  5. If the stain is still not coming out, mix ½ cup of warm water with 1 tablespoon of ammonia.
  6. Apply solution with a cloth to the stain.
  7. Blot stain until liquid is absorbed.
  8. Use a cloth dipped in cold water to the stain and blot dry.


how to clean mud stain

An outdoor lifestyle can be lots of fun, as long as it stays outdoors. If you’ve managed to track mud into your home, here’s what you’ll need to do.

  1. Let the mud dry. As difficult as it may be, resist the urge to clean immediately — it’ll be much easier.
  2. Once dry, vacuum up as much mud as you can.
  3. Mix 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with 2 cups of warm water.
  4. Use a clean cloth to transfer the solution onto the stain.
  5. Blot with another cloth until liquid is absorbed.
  6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 as necessary.
  7. Once the stain is gone, sponge cold water onto the stain and blot dry with another cloth or paper towel.


how to clean ink stain

Image courtesy of Toner Giant

An ink stain can seem impossible to get rid of, but here’s a remedy to try that just might surprise you.

  1. Spray lacquer hair spray onto the stain, which will soften the ink.
  2. Blot the lacquer with a cloth.
  3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 until the stain disappears.
  4. Once dry, brush the area and then vacuum to remove the lacquer after it has hardened.


how to clean grass stain

After a nice picnic in the park, you come home and watch some TV, only to discover that you had grass stains on our pants which *gasp* have now transferred to the couch. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Mix ½ teaspoon of mild laundry detergent with 2 cups of cold water.
  2. Dip a cloth into the solution and blot the stain, starting from the outside and working inwards.
  3. Repeat step 2 until the stain disappears.
  4. Apply cold water with a sponge or cloth and blot dry with a clean cloth until all liquid is absorbed.

Cooking Oil

how to clean oil stain

Heat up your pan just a little too much and it’s easy for cooking oil to splatter all across your kitchen. If you have any absorbent materials like curtains or rugs anywhere nearby, then you know all too well how oil can stain. When it happens next time, here’s what you should try:

  1. Blot as much oil as possible onto paper towel.
  2. Use a cloth to blot a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto the stain.
  3. Mix 4 cups of water with ¼ teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid (no bleach or lanolin).
  4. Apply solution with a sponge and blot with a clean cloth. Repeat until stain is gone.