The Worst Stains and How To Get Rid of Them

Whether it’s your curtains, clothing, carpets or upholstery, nothing is as frustrating as a stain that won’t come out. Here we’ve rounded up some of the worst culprits when it comes to stains, along with some handy tips on how to deal with them.



Photo by Julius Schorzman

The trick with a coffee stain is to catch it quickly enough, before it has a chance to set into the fabric. In this case, a good rinse with hot water should do the trick. If the stain is an older one, try soaking it in dishwashing liquid or treat it with a commercial spot remover.


chewing gum

Photo by Hans Braxmeier

A wad of chewing gum worked into fabric can create a nasty blemish. The best way to deal with this is to put the affected item into the freezer. If the item isn’t small enough for you to do this, apply ice cubes or freezer packs to the gum until it freezes, typically for at least 15 minutes. Once the gum is frozen, scrape as much of it off as you can with a butter knife. Then soak the material in a white vinegar solution to liquefy the residue and blot up the remainder with tissue paper. Thereafter, a regular wash should take care of any leftover marks.

Grape juice or wine


Photo by Mick Stephenson

A treat in a glass, but a nightmare on light fabrics. To avoid nasty red blotches, treat the affected area with a 1:1 mixture of dishwashing liquid and white vinegar. After rubbing the mixture on, leave it to soak into the stain for 15 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water. This approach may not completely remove the stain the first time around, but repeated applications should do the trick.

Tomato sauce

tomato sauce

Photo by SunOfErat

Any kind of tomato-based sauce, whether from a spaghetti dish or in the form of ketchup, can create an unpleasant stain. To handle this type of spill, add two teaspoons of white vinegar and one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid to one cup of cold water. It’s essential for the water to be cold because heat would actually cause the stain to set. Work the mixture onto the stain and allow it to sit for half an hour before rinsing. Repeat these steps if necessary.



Photo by André Karwath

To handle a chocolate stain, start by mixing one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and half a teaspoon of ammonia in one cup of cool water. Like for tomato sauce stains, avoid using hot water, which will cause the stain to set. Apply the mixture to the stain, leave it to soak and then blot the area with a lint-free cloth. Don’t rub or you’ll work the chocolate deeper into the fabric.

For tougher stains that just won’t budge, call on a team of professionals with purpose-built upholstery cleaning machines – they’ll get rid of just about any stain in no time.

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