Emergency Stain Removal Kit | Anyclean

updated: 13/11/2023

The best time to remove a stain is right now, so if you have searched for this article online, print it out (on recycled paper, preferably) and take it with you as you get back to the job. The longer a stain sits, the harder it will be to remove.

But what do you do? How do you get that stain out? And does stain removal have to involve harsh chemicals that do goodness-knows-what to your skin and make your eyes water when you use it?

First aid for all stains is plain cold water and lots of it. Water is the closest thing we have to a universal solvent, and it can start dissolving and breaking down the stain. Well, most stains, anyway. What’s more, it also saturates the thing being stained so less of the unwanted substance can get into the fibres of the fabric, allowing a good bit of the stain to float out and away.

Every household that has human beings living in it (and other species as well) would pay to have an emergency stain home cleaning kit. Like the first aid kit and the natural disaster emergency supplies that should also be part of all sensible households, everyone in the house ought to know how to use the stain removal kit.

The kit should contain:

A jug for pouring water onto the spot. If you have to clean a stain out of a carpet, don’t overdo the water, or you will start spreading the stain. Try to keep the stain contained.

Salt: If you spill something really staining (red wine being the most common culprit) onto the carpet, the sofa or the tablecloth, dumping a generous amount of salt onto the stain while it’s still wet prevents a lot of problems. Salt absorbs the moisture more easily than fabric does, so the wine will go into the salt rather than into your carpet. Vacuum or sweep up the salt once the moisture has evaporated.

Several towels: Once you have flooded a spot with water, you need to blot up as much fluid as you can, which will contain the stuff that stains. Blotting with a towel is also the first step when cleaning up puppy pee (or human pee, in the case of a child who is still getting the hand of being potty trained), and a towel is also the best thing for scooping up vomit.

Methylated spirits, isopropyl alcohol, vodka or some other strong spirit: Any one of these is great for removing grass stains, permanent marker and biro. Hairspray is also supposed to remove permanent marker, but this writer hasn’t tried it.

Sard Wonder Soap: If you can get hold of it (it’s made in Australia), this is great for general stain removal in the laundry. It even gets grass stains out of cricket whites.

A scrubbing brush: Often, a good hard scrub with soap (Wonder Soap or ordinary soap) is all you need to clean a stain out of a carpet. The dirt floats up in the foam and can be rinsed or blotted up.

Kerosene: Not exactly natural, but removes tar. Handle with rubber gloves and don’t breathe the stuff in if you can help it. Rinse everything well afterwards, including your hands.

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.