Household Spot And Stain Removal Guide

wine stain

General Cleaning Tips

Where ever possible read fabric labels BEFORE you use a cleaning solution on the carpet or fabric. Using improper solutions can do permanent damage to fibers. If you are unsure, call a professional. You could do more damage than good. 
  • Don't over saturate the fabric or carpet with water. You can cause problems such as mildew or permanent stains. 
  • To absorb and remove the stain, you should blot (not rub) using an absorbent white cloth such as a terry cloth or flour sack dish towel. Colored cloths may transfer color to the material you are cleaning. Harsh rubbing or scrubbing may damage the fibers and set the stain farther into the material.
  • Each of the stain removal methods below uses a combination of commonly available cleaning solutions.  See the list of these solutions on the right side panel 
Stain Removal Guide
Beer
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply vinegar solution
  3. Apply warm water and blot dry 
 Glue (animal)
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply ammonia solution
  3. Apply vinegar solution
  4. Apply warm water and towel dry 
Mustard
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply vinegar solution
  3. Apply warm water and blot dry
Blood
  1. Apply cool water
  2. Apply solution of meat tenderizer
  3. Apply cool ammonia solution
  4. Apply cool detergent solution
  5. Apply warm water and towel dry 
Gravy
  1. Apply dry cleaning fluid
  2. Apply detergent solution
  3. Apply ammonia solution
  4. Apply vinegar solution
  5. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Nail Polish
  1. Apply nail polish remover
  2. Apply dry cleaning fluid
  3. Apply detergent solution
  4. Apply ammonia solution
  5. Apply vinegar solution
  6. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Butter
  1. Apply dry cleaning fluid
  2. Apply detergent solution
  3. Apply ammonia solution
  4. Apply vinegar solution
  5. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Grass
  1. Apply nail polish remover
  2. Apply dry cleaning fluid
  3. Apply detergent solution
  4. Apply ammonia solution
  5. Apply vinegar solution
  6. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Newsprint
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply vinegar solution
  3. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Catsup
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply ammonia solution
  3. Apply vinegar solution
  4. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Grease (auto)
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply vinegar solution
  3. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Oil (car)
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply vinegar solution
  3. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Chocolate
  1. Apply cool water
  2. Apply solution of meat tenderizer
  3. Apply cool ammonia solution
  4. Apply cool detergent solution
  5. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Gum
  1. Apply ice cube to area to chill then shatter gum
  2. Apply dry cleaning fluid then blot to remove residue
 Plant Food
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply ammonia solution
  3. Apply vinegar solution
  4. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Coffee
  1. Apply ammonia solution
  2. Apply vinegar solution
  3. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Hand Cream
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply vinegar solution
  3. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Rust
  1. Apply rust remover (from grocery or hardware store).
  2. Apply ammonia solution
  3. Apply vinegar solution
  4. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Cola
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply ammonia solution
  3. Apply vinegar solution
  4. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Ice Cream
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply ammonia solution
  3. Apply vinegar solution
  4. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Sauces
  1. Apply nail polish remover
  2. Apply dry cleaning fluid
  3. Apply detergent solution
  4. Apply ammonia solution
  5. Apply vinegar solution
  6. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Cosmetics
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply vinegar solution
  3. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Ink (Ball Point)
  1. Apply dry cleaning fluid
  2. Apply rubbing alcohol
  3. Apply detergent solution
  4. Apply warm water and blot with towel to dry
 Shoe Polish
  1. Apply dry cleaning fluid
  2. Apply detergent solution
  3. Apply ammonia solution
  4. Apply vinegar solution
  5. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Crayon
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply vinegar solution
  3. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Ink (washable)
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply ammonia solution
  3. Apply vinegar solution
  4. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Soot
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply vinegar solution
  3. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Finger Paint
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply ammonia solution
  3. Apply vinegar solution
  4. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Jelly
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply ammonia solution
  3. Apply vinegar solution
  4. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Tar
  1. Apply dry cleaning fluid
  2. Apply detergent solution
  3. Apply ammonia solution
  4. Apply vinegar solution
  5. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Food (greasy)
  1. Apply dry cleaning fluid
  2. Apply detergent solution
  3. Apply ammonia solution
  4. Apply vinegar solution
  5. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Lipstick
  1. Apply nail polish remover
  2. Apply dry cleaning fluid
  3. Apply detergent solution
  4. Apply ammonia solution
  5. Apply vinegar solution
  6. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Tea
  1. Apply ammonia solution
  2. Apply vinegar solution
  3. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Food (general)
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply ammonia solution
  3. Apply vinegar solution
  4. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Liquor
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply ammonia solution
  3. Apply vinegar solution
  4. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Urine
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply vinegar solution
  3. Apply warm water and blot dry
 Furniture Polish
  1. Apply nail polish remover
  2. Apply dry cleaning fluid
  3. Apply detergent solution
  4. Apply ammonia solution
  5. Apply vinegar solution
  6. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Medicine
  1. Apply nail polish remover
  2. Apply dry cleaning fluid
  3. Apply detergent solution
  4. Apply ammonia solution
  5. Apply vinegar solution
  6. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Wax
  1. Cover with several layers of paper toweling
  2. Place iron set on moderate heat over toweling
  3. Apply dry cleaning fluid to remove residue 
 Fruit Juice
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply ammonia solution
  3. Apply vinegar solution
  4. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Milk
  1. Apply dry cleaning fluid
  2. Apply solution of meat tenderizer
  3. Apply detergent solution
  4. Apply warm water and towel dry 
 Wine
  1. Apply detergent solution
  2. Apply vinegar solution
  3. Apply warm water and blot dry

Download Stain Guide Chart

You can use this link to download a printable copy of this chart

Fun Fact about Household Spot And Stain Removal Guide

Cleaning Solutions

  • Dry Cleaning Fluid
    Select a non-flammable spot removing liquid. This is easy to find at the grocery, hardware, or drug store. One well-know brand is Energine.
  • Nail Polish Remover
    Nail polish remover is a liquid lacquer thinner. Purchase at the grocery or drug store.
  • Detergent Solution
    Mix one-half teaspoon of mild powdered non-bleaching laundry detergent with 1 pint (2 measuring cups) of lukewarm water.
  • Warm Water
    Lukewarm tap water
  • Amonia Solution
    Mix one tablespoon of household ammonia with one measuring cup of water.
  • Vinegar Solution
    Mix one cup of white vinegar with 1 measuring cup of water.

My Favorite Household Cleaner

Although this is the last item in our cleaning solution list, vinegar, is my go-to house cleaning product.  I always jokingly say that the household products industry would go broke if they depended on our household for revenue.  

I use vinegar, diluted and full strength, for many tasks in my house.  Here is my short list:

white-distilled- vinegar Run vinegar through my coffee pot to remove mineral build-up.
  • I keep a spray bottle of vinegar and water in my kitchen to clean my granite counter tops.  It removes greasy film.
  • My window, mirror and shower door cleaning formula includes 1 part Windex, 1 part water and 1 part white vinegar.
  • We soak our faucet filters and shower head in vinegar to dissolve mineral build-up.
author

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.