Unusual Stain Removal Items | Anyclean

updated: 15/10/2023

Are you checking through the items on your laundry shelves and seeing if you need to stock up on stain removal products? You never know – even if your commercial products have run out, you may have plenty of stain removal products in your house already without knowing it. Or you might consider switching to these unusual alternatives, especially if you are looking for more environmentally friendly, less toxic methods of cleaning your house.

This list is an A-Z of more unusual domestic cleaning products and what they’re good for. How many have you got in your cupboards?

* Alcohol. This includes methylated spirits, rubbing alcohol and strong drinkable (?) spirits like vodka and whisky. These are great as disinfectants and for removing ink-based stains. Alcohol is your best friend for removing permanent pen stains. Some varieties of hairspray contain alcohol and can be used to remove stains.

* Baking soda: This is such a safe, useful and versatile cleaner it’s a wonder that commercial cleaning products ever made it onto the market. It absorbs smells and is an all-purpose cleaner.

* Bread: White bread (preferably stale) can be used to rub greasy marks off wallpaper and as an improvised sponge for spills and slips at the table.

* Cigarette ash: This can be mixed to a paste with lemon juice and/or linseed oil and used to remove stains from wooden furniture. However, smoking is an appallingly dirty habit and you’ll do more for the cleanliness of your home (to say nothing of your health) if you quit.

* Denture cleaners: These are good for cleaning more than just false teeth. Leave in the toilet bowl overnight to soak out stains, or use it as a soaking solution for white cottons.

* Epsom salts: Good for cleaning stains and spills off floors.

* Lemon juice: a mild bleach, especially if you soak a stain in lemon juice and pop it into sunshine. This works on hair to put highlights in blonde hair and is reputed to fade freckles and other brown marks on the skin.

* Meat tenderiser: This contains enzymes that break down proteins. Use it for any protein based stain (in cold water) such as blood or egg.

* Milk: While some milk products can stain, milk itself can be used to soak out ballpoint pen marks from fabric. Milk added to water is also good for soaking leather that has been accidentally splashed with salt water (salty water can wreck leather). Wash the item in cold water after removing the stain to get rid of the milk.

* Onions: These make a cleansing polish for leather goods, including shoes.

* Potatoes: The starchy juice of a raw potato can be used as a stain removal stick. You can also use a cut up potato and baking soda (or salt) to clean rust stains off metal cookware.

* Salt: Use salt in the water when soaking protein stains. Salt also absorbs liquid stains – it’s an old remedy for dealing with spills of red wine on tablecloths or carpets. Salt can also act as a mordant for dyes – if you have bought new fabric for dressmaking, put it through the washing machine with salt but not washing powder to help set the dye in (you can also do this with home-dyed items).

* Soda water: The effervescence of soda water means that it floats the stuff doing the staining up to the top. An old remedy for wine stains on ties, and for most other things that can get spilled at the table – including blood.

* White vinegar: a mild bleach that works wonders on mildew and on wine stains.

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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.