Dealing with stains | Anyclean

updated: 15/11/2023

Oh no.  You just knew it was going to happen.  Gravity (spills), momentum (splatters), an inquisitive child or some other force of nature has stepped in and now you’ve got some terrible stain on some precious item.  Now what are you going to do?

Well, the first thing you are going to do is to act immediately.  The sooner you tackle a stain, the better.  If you put it off, the stain will have a chance to set and then you will never get it out.  Exactly how you deal with a stain, however, depends on what sort of stain it is.

Grass stains.  What fool decided that cricket should be played in white?  If you have a cricketer in your household, you will have to remove grass stains from white clothes at some stage.  If you’re lucky, your cricketer will wear synthetics, which don’t take stains well.  You are lucky – wash as normal.  For cotton, however, you will need to attack the stain.  White clothes can be soaked in chlorine bleach (not the greenest solution, I’ll admit, but it works) or in a nappy whitening solution.  For coloured clothing or for smaller grass stains, spot-treat with methylated spirits or white spirits and leave for a few minutes before washing as normal.

Beetroot and tomato sauce.  These tend to wash out without too much hassle, as long as you get onto it soon.  They’re bright, but if you wash them as soon as possible, all will be well.  The same applies to curries with turmeric.

Blood.  Every woman will have to deal with bloodstains at some stage in her life for obvious monthly reasons.  Soaking in cold water as soon as possible is the answer – overnight soaking can remove bloodstains completely.  Never wash in hot water, or even warm water, as this will set the stain in.  The same applies to egg.
Tar and bitumen.  So little Billy has decided that the gooey black stuff oozing out from the tarmac or chipseal looks tempting and it’s all over his shirt when he tried to wash it off.  Bitumen and tar used in road surfacing is soluble in kerosene, so spot-treat the garment in this before washing.  You may need to attack the stain with a scrubbing brush or fingernail to get bulky bitumen off.

Wax.  In the Norse fairy tale “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” the heroine won her prince off a troll because she knew how to wash candle wax off a white shirt.  The first thing you should do is to let the wax dry in a bead.  Then pick it off with your fingernails.  After that, cover the spot top and bottom with paper towels or toilet paper and apply a hot iron.  The melted wax will soak into the paper towels.  Then wash as normal.

Tempera paint (as used in kindergartens and primary schools).  Act immediately – if this dries, getting it off is next to impossible.  Soak in cold water with NO DETERGENT.  Learn from your mistake and make sure your child wears a paint shirt and/or old clothes next time.

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.