Stubborn Stains?

Spring cleaning can be a truly joyous occasion. Out with the old and all that. It's finally your chance to get rid of that red wine stain from the cream sofa or the coffee mark on the carpet. Of course, it's always best to attack spillages as soon as they happen, but what about wishing a fond farewell to those lingering stains that have clung on from the dinner party you threw for your spouse's birthday or the kid's Christmas celebration? Here I offer some advice on what to do when trying to remove stains (both old and new) caused by some common beverages.

Before you start cleaning...

Before using any of the following methods to remove stains, please check the manufacturer's instructions for the item you intend to clean. It is also advisable to test a small patch of the fabric, carpet or upholstery before attacking a larger, more conspicuous area. If you aren't sure if the instructions I give are suitable for your item, please seek professional cleaning advice prior to attempting the solutions offered here.

Coffee cup(97241)Credit: MorguefileCoffee Stains

Have you ever been a bit gung-ho with the biscuit dunking and ended up with coffee sloshing here, there and everywhere? No worries.

To remove coffee stains from carpet: On new spillages, simply use a sponge doused in cold water, then blot dry with another clean sponge or cloth. Use a powerful carpet shampoo if the stain persists.

To remove coffee stains from clothing: Mix some washing soda solution into warm water and dab the stain. Wash the fabric in the machine on as hot a setting as the fabric can take. If stains are particularly stubborn, a very effective method is to soak the fabric in a one part vinegar, two parts water solution.

To remove coffee stains from upholstery: Sponge the coffee stain with cold water then dab at the spillage with diluted laundry detergent. Rinse with water before blotting dry. In extreme and stubborn cases, a stain remover may be needed.

Blueberries(97238)Credit: Morguefile

Blueberry/Blackcurrant Juice Stains

A favourite with kids, blueberry and blackcurrant juice can prove to be a nightmare for house-proud parents the world over. Never fear. Try these tips out and your home will be stain free in a jiffy!

To remove blueberry juice from carpets: Dab fresh stains immediately with kitchen towel until as much of the liquid has been absorbed as possible. Once the kitchen towel fails to pick up any more, pummel the stain with a stain-removing bar and shampoo the area.

To remove blueberry juice from clothing: Rinse the item in cold water. Pre-soak the fabric in a washing-soda solution. Then wash the item in the washing machine on as hot a setting as the fabric can take. Remember to use a biological detergent. Particularly stubborn stains may need to be treated with a proprietary stain remover.

To remove blueberry juice from upholstery: Dab the stain gently with clean cloth doused in cold water. Once the stain is diluted somewhat, blot it dry with a cloth or kitchen paper. Extremely persistent marks may need to be attacked with a hydrogen peroxide solution, but always remember to test such solutions on areas of upholstery that are not on view.

Beer(97239)Credit: MorguefileBeer Stains

If you've had one too many and over-filled a pint glass or two, you may have experienced that delightful 'morning after' smell left by rotting beer stains. No need to panic, they can be dealt with!

Removing beer from carpets: The only real way of removing the stain along with the smell is to shampoo the carpet. For particularly stubborn odours, try a targeted stain removal product. Persistent and older marks and smells may improve if blotted with methylated spirits.

Removing beer from clothing: Wash clothing as usual in the machine on as hot a setting as possible (check the item's washing instructions first). Make sure you use a biological detergent. If you are dealing with an older stain, soak the item first in washing-soda solution.

Removing beer from upholstery: Sponge down the stain with warm water. If you;re dealing with an old stain, attack it with a 1:5 solution of clear vinegar and water, but take care that the upholstery doesn't get too damp. Once complete, rinse with clean water. Dab dry with kitchen paper or a cloth.

Red Wine(97231)Credit: MorguefileRed Wine Stains

There are a few myths that circulate when it comes to getting rid of red wine stains. Salt, for example, doesn't work at all and although adding white wine to a red wine stain can have some success, it leaves a string odour. I have found that more conventional cleaning methods have always proved far more effective.

In general, dab the stain with kitchen towel, soaking up as much of the liquid as possible first. Then soak the spillage with sparkling or soda water, before blotting it again with kitchen towel or cloth. Repeat this process as necessary. Then attack the remainder of the mark with a sponge and hot soapy water, before blotting again.

Removing red wine from carpets: If the stain is really stubborn and the above method is falling to clear it, clean with carpet shampoo and rinse well.

Removing red wine from clothing: If blotting doesn't do the trick here, wash the garment as normal. Persistent stains may react well to a proprietary stain remover.

Tea(97243)Credit: MorguefileTea Stains

If you like nothing better than a cup of tea in bed first thing in the morning, the likelihood is you are still half asleep whilst slurping it back. This can lead to spills on the bed clothes. There's nothing to get worked up about though; these tips will have your duvet back to as good as new in the dunk of a biscuit.

Removing tea from carpets: Sponge the stain with cold water, then apply a trusted carpet shampoo.

Removing tea from clothing: Fresh stains respond well to being rinsed in luke warm water, before being treated with a biological detergent. It's important for older, dried up spills to be pre-rinsed in a stain treatment before putting the item in the washing machine.

Removing tea from upholstery: Dab straight away with a sponge soaked in cold water, then soak the item itself in water and biological detergent. Rinse the garment thoroughly and dab it dry.

Milk(97240)Credit: MorguefileMilk Stains

As the old saying goes, there's no use crying over spilt milk. I couldn't agree more!

Any milk stain can be flushed with cold water and, if caught early enough, that should suffice. Repeat as necessary on more stubborn or older marks, before cleaning the area as you normally would. One of the major problems with milk is the lingering smell it can leave if not attacked early enough; the milk goes stale and the smell stays around forever. One of the many and varied specialised deodorizing sprays is probably the only real solution here.