For all these stain removal methods, clean whatever has got the stain with the substance recommended, then rinse by sponging with fresh water (preferably cold water) and blotting dry. Clothes can then be washed as normal, but if you are cleaning stains off carpets, you should make sure that the carpet dries thoroughly (don’t use too much water). The best way to dry a carpet after spot-cleaning is to lay a thick towel or bath mat down over the place and press it in firmly. If you live in a particularly damp house, follow this treatment by standing a heater (turned on) near the place (upright as normal so you don’t start a fire) or help things along with a hair dryer.
Blood: Cold water. Never use hot water or even warm water or you will set the stain.
Ballpoint pen: Methylated spirits or any other strong alcohol. Ballpoint pen will wash out of clothing in the normal wash, but it may take two trips through the machine until the ink is gone.
Chocolate: Rub the spot with glycerine and allow this to sink in before scrubbing the spot with soap before rinsing.
Curry: Methylated spirits, vodka, whisky or other strong alcohol. Avoid curry stains and spills on carpets (which are a real pest to remove) by restricting eating to one room only – the one with the table in. If you are indulging in a curry in front of the telly, put down a towel or plastic sheet first in case the worst happens.
Egg: Cold water
Grass: Methylated spirits, vodka or brandy, or else eucalyptus oil
Lipstick: Glycerine. Allow it to sit on the stain for 30 minutes before scrubbing with soap.
Ink: On clothing: soak in lemon juice and salt before rinsing and washing as normal. On carpets, sprinkle well with salt to absorb as much as possible then vacuum or sweep up. Fix any lingering stain with methylated spirits or some other strong alcohol.
Mildew: Soak in lemon juice. If possible, expose the mildewed item to sunlight to allow the dual bleaching/mould-killing action of UV rays and lemon juice to work to their fullest potential.
Milk: Sponge with cold water. In the case of carpets, sprinkle baking soda over the spot after rinsing and drying to absorb the horrible smell of sour milk.
Sweat: Make a solution of baking soda and water. Soak the stain with this solution. For older stains, soak the stain in white vinegar. Obviously, this treatment is unlikely to be used on carpets.
Wax: Use fingernails to scrape up as much as possible. Next, use an iron set on low plus paper towels or loo paper to melt out the wax. Finally, deal with any lingering grease marks by soaking the spot in glycerine for half an hour before scrubbing with soap.
Wine: Immediately sprinkle salt on red wine spills to absorb as much as possible. Sweep up, then flood the stain with fresh water. Blot again. Continue until the stain has gone.
Vivid (permanent marker): Methylated spirits in large quantities. Hairspray is also supposed to remove permanent marker stains.