8 Types of Stains You Should Absolutely Know How to Clean

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Say Goodbye to Stubborn Stains

If you're enjoying some sushi on your lunch break at the park on a windy day, beware of the soy sauce. One gust and it's all over your white pants, leaving you in a scramble before you have to head back to the office. Yes, this is personal, folks, and yes, that happened on my birthday of all days. Some stains are as infuriating as they are hard to get out, and others have tried-and-true solutions that everyone should know. Here are some of the main stains you should know how to tackle if they pop up and threaten to ruin your lunch break, birthday, or day in general. 

Related: 9 Things You Should Absolutely Never Put in the Washing Machine

Red Wine Spilled From Glass On Carpet

1. Red Wine

We're willing to bet that red wine stains plague white carpets more than any other surface. It's some kind of sick rule of the universe. Next time it happens to you, fight back against the panic, and don't turn straight to scrubbing. Blot the wine instead with a towel, soaking up as much of the liquid as you can. Then, combine equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and dish soap and dab it onto the stain, letting it sit for a few minutes before doubling back on dabbing. 

Related: These 7 Personal Care Products Can Ruin Your Clothes

Dirty fabric with oil stain or grease stain.

2. Grease

Maybe you got a little overly excited on wing night or you were wrenching on your truck and used your pants to wipe your hands off — whatever the case may be, grease and oil stains are nagging nuisances. Here's the trick: Soak up as much of the grease or oil as you can before you wash it by using baking soda. When you're ready to wash, cover the stain with a colorless dish soap or a diluted colored dish soap and rinse the stain with cold water as you work the stain out with your fingers or a toothbrush. Pour some vinegar onto the stain and rinse again. Finish by putting your stained clothes into the washing machine, and laundering at the hottest temperature setting. 

Related: 10 Things You Should Never Clean With Bleach (and What To Use Instead)

Spill coffee in white clothes
Halyna Romaniv/istockphoto

3. Coffee

Anyone who has ever rushed out the door, running late for work, has probably spilled their coffee on themselves during the commute. It's another one of the universe's sick rules. As soon as you spill — or as soon as you're able to put the car in park if you're part of the aforementioned scenario — blot the coffee to soak up as much as you can. Soak the stain in lukewarm water, combined with 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap and a tablespoon of vinegar for at least 20 minutes before washing with your normal laundry detergent. 

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Women hold bed sheet with period blood spot stains on blur background. Need to be cleaning.

4. Blood

Next time you accidentally nick yourself while shaving and dribble a bit of blood on your shirt, stay away from hot water (that will just set the stain). Instead, soak your shirt in cold water before rubbing it with a bit of dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. You can also pretreat the stain with a stain remover before tossing it in the washing machine with laundry detergent.

Female’s hand showing dirty grass stain on white clothes
Halyna Romaniv/istockphoto

5. Grass

Sometimes rolling the dice and pretreating grass stains with a stain remover before washing them with laundry detergent in the washing machine works out. But if you're after a more surefire technique, try mixing one part of vinegar with two parts of water, rubbing it onto the stain. Then, feel free to move forward with that dice-rolling method — using cold water for the wash cycle.

Couple painting house wall

6. Paint

Let's start this one off by recommending you wear clothes you don't care about if you're painting rooms in a house or doing an art project. If you forget to change and find yourself faced with a paint stain you want to get rid of, rinse the fabric with warm water while the stains are still wet, and then wash the stained clothes with laundry detergent.

I am a little bit messy!

7. Chocolate

Hold chocolate in your hands just a moment too long and it melts everywhere. These stains don't have to be a reminder of your gluttony though. Scrape off any excess chocolate and then soak it in cold water. Before washing the stained clothing with laundry detergent, make sure you pre-treat it with a stain remover.

Man cleans shirt with food

8. Ketchup and Other Sauces

If you slop ketchup or get a barbecue stain on your white T-shirt like Tim McGraw, use a fork, spoon, or even a french fry to remove any excess sauce without rubbing it deeper into the fabric. Run it under cold water through the back of the stain to push the sauce out, and then rub laundry detergent into the stain. You can also dab it with a bit of hydrogen peroxide before washing.