Removing a tough stain can feel like an uphill battle, whether it’s on a favorite shirt or the carpet in your bedroom. However, stubborn stains won’t stand a chance if you follow these tips.

Stain-removal basics

No matter what kind of stain you’re dealing with, there are a few helpful tips to follow:

  • Act quickly, as the sooner you treat a stain, the more likely it will come out.
  • Make sure to follow all care instructions. What works for one material won’t always work for another.
  • Absorb excess liquid from the outside in with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Avoid rubbing stains; this can work them deeper into material or fabric.
  • Spot-test an area before applying a stain-removing solution.
  • Direct heat or hot water can cause some stains to set.
  • Repeat the removal process until the stain dissipates.

Stain solutions

Use these tips to remove everyday household items from your carpet or clothing.

Carpet stain tips: 

Apply a bag of ice cubes to the gum. Once frozen, scrape away the gum until all pieces are dislodged. Clean any remaining stain with a mild carpet detergent and water.

Allow the mud to dry before vacuuming the area. Apply a combination of one teaspoon dishwashing liquid and two cups of water, dab over the stain, and repeat until the stain dissipates. Rinse with water before allowing it to dry.

Nail polish
Apply rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball, and lightly dab the stain. Alternate between blotting the stain with new cotton balls and clean paper towels. Sponge the area with a damp rag after removal.

Red wine
Pour salt over the stain, then cover it with a plate or bowl so household members do not walk on it. Remove the salt, and vacuum the stain the following day.

Clothing stain tips: 

Mix one part white vinegar and one part water, drench the stain, and blot it away with a clean cloth.

Food grease and oil
Apply dishwashing liquid directly to the stain, gently scrub the clothing with your fingers or a brush, and rinse.

Grass stains
Lightly coat the stain with enzymatic laundry detergent, gently scrub with a soft-bristled brush, and allow the clothing to sit for fifteen minutes. Wash on a cool setting, and repeat the steps before drying if the stain remains.

Apply plain-white, non-gel toothpaste to the stain, and rub gently to lift the stain away.