Stain Removal 101 – Tricks To Tackle Stubborn Stains

We’ve all been there – that moment where a glass is knocked over or a ketchup bottle squirts everywhere, and the realisation sinks in that you’ve got a stain on your hands. Most of the time they can be easily washed away, but depending on the substance spilled, and the material it’s been spilled on, stains may prove a great deal more troublesome.

Wine stains on cream carpets or coffee on white shirts are perhaps the best-known examples, but there’s a whole spectrum of different stains that could play havoc with your house, office and clothing. These range from grass stains after a trip outdoors to oil and grease stains after cooking, which are often tough to eliminate if left for too long.

Frustrating though it may be, despair not – 99% of stains can be removed if treated within a few days. In most cases, quick action and a little expertise will ensure the stain is lifted right off your clothing or surface. The only hitch is knowing what to do for which situation – if this is you, pay close attention as our blog dives into the subject.

In Vanguard’s latest piece, we’ll explore some useful tips and tricks to help remove stains. We’ll discuss general best practice when dealing with stubborn stains, and investigate how some of most common types of stains can be removed. Finally, we’ll examine how Vanguard can elevate the cleaning standards of your premises, stains or not.


5 Important Figures To Remember When Treating Stains

  • 99% of stains can be removed if treated in a few days.
  • UK adults accidentally spill food or drink up to 100 times a year.
  • 79% report stains from condiments like ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard.
  • 65% report stains from sticky foods like syrups, jams, and sauces.
  • The best-performing commercial stain removers are 75% effective, the worst only 59% effective.


How Should Tough Stains Be Tackled?

An ingrained stain can become a real problem, and in worst case scenarios it can ruin an expensive carpet or a treasured piece of clothing. According to studies, hundreds of thousands of people in the UK use stain removers once a day or more, meaning we can assume the numbers of those who use them regularly, like once a week or month, will be larger still. What this indicates is that stains are a very common problem, and many of us resort to purchasing expensive commercial products instead of using home-brewed solutions.

This may not be necessary if the right steps are taken at the right time. Regardless of the type or location of the stain, it’s important that you deal with it as quickly as possible, as this ensures the stain has less time to sink in and will be easier to lift out. You could think of it as piece of cutlery or crockery – cleaning immediately after use will be quick and easy, but leaving it on the side for a while will cause the leftover food to harden and stick. The same principle applies to stains.

While it may be tempting to rub or scrub stains, this is counter-intuitive, as it pushes the substance further in and makes the affected area worse off. Make sure to dab or blot stains instead, and gently rub them rather than scouring vigorously. In the same way, stains on clothing or double-sided fabrics should be rinsed from the other side, behind the stain itself. The flow of water helps push the stain out, while running water directly over it will only serve to push the staining further down the fabric. Finally, avoid putting your stained items in a dryer, as this virtually guarantees the stain will stick.

It’s also worth noting that household products such as baking soda, vinegar, and bleach can prove to be just as effective as specialised cleaning products. These are not only cheaper and more environmentally friendly, but sometimes can be safer and less damaging to the material itself. In any event, they will usually be closer to hand in those critical first minutes after a stain is formed.


How To Eliminate Different Types Of Stains

The following stains are some of the most common, and most difficult to deal with. Learn how to remove them below.


Blood Stains

Cleaning blood stains is a grim topic, but one that may prove useful in the event of an injury or medical condition. This is especially important considering the deep shade of red that blood is, meaning it will show up easily on most clothing and materials.

To remove blood stains, soak the affected area in some hydrogen peroxide. As an antiseptic that is used to treat cuts and scrapes, this substance is readily available in most pharmacies, and should not pose too difficult a challenge to get your hands on. If possible, use a 3% hydrogen peroxide product instead of more industrialised 6% or 12% products.

After soaking, scrape away any dried or congregated blood with a spoon or butter knife, before rinsing away with more hydrogen peroxide. If unable to find any, soda water or salt will serve as useful replacements – just make sure to launder the item afterwards to finish the job.


Bodily Fluid Stains

Whether a child that has been ill, or an elderly relative that couldn’t hold their bladder, bodily fluid stains can be difficult to remove. The most important method is to pretreat the affected area and soak in a product that contains enzymes, such as detergents or commercial stain removers, as this well help break down the fluid. The stained item can then be laundered with non-chlorine bleach such as sodium hypochlorite bleach or oxygen bleach.

It’s also important to note that if cleaning up someone else’s bodily fluids, there is a risk of their diseases being transmitted to you. These range from Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) to Hepatitis B or C (HBV/HCV). As a result, be sure to wear full PPE and take the necessary precautions to avoid exposure. For more information, see the NHS’s infection prevention control procedures for blood and bodily fluids.


Carpet Stains

Undoubtedly, carpet stains are among the most common types of stains. Fortunately, they are also one of the easiest to deal with.

If still wet, blot the affected area with a cloth or paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Then sprinkle some baking soda and wait 15 minutes for it to soak in, before gently rubbing to remove the stains. Make sure not to scrub too vigorously, as this only serves to damage the material.

For more handy ways to use baking soda for cleaning, see our comprehensive article here.


Clothing Stains

According to some estimates, people wear the average garment only 7-10 times before throwing it away, with stains being a major reason behind such quick discards. Therefore, removing stains from clothing will not only save your garment and allow it to be passed down or resold, but also help the environment and limit the harmful effects of fast fashion.

For general clothing stains, rinse the item in warm water and put in the washing machine as usual. Laundry detergent, dish soap, and stain removers all work well to get rid of lesser stains. For tougher marks, you may need to soak garments in a mixture of water and oxygen bleach for several hours or overnight. Typically, the longer it’s left to soak before laundering, the better.


Grass Stains

Perhaps bringing back memories of school, grass stains are not just a problem for the UK’s schoolchildren. For those of all ages, it’s simply too easy to take a seat during a hot summer day or kneel down to pick something up and be left with grass stains marking your clothing.

To get rid of these green smudges, toothpaste is a surprisingly effective solution. Apply a small amount of the paste onto a toothbrush and dip the utensil in water before scrubbing away the stain. Rinse and repeat as needed until the stain is removed. Finish by laundering the item as usual to make your clothing as good as new.


Ink Stains

In the unfortunate event of a pen exploding in your pocket or in your hands – don’t despair. There are ways to get those ink spots out.

If it’s a ballpoint pen, blot the stain with a paper towel to pick up any pooling ink. Apply some rubbing alcohol to the area and let it soak for 10 minutes before rinsing and washing in hot water. As for felt tips pens, soak the item in warm water treated with some laundry detergent or dish washing liquid. Add a little ammonia and rub gently to massage the stain out. Soak overnight or until you’re satisfied the stain has fully dissipated, then give the item a final wash.


Oil/Grease Stains

Many different types of meals are made with oil, and unfortunately, if grease gets on your clothes or surfaces while cooking, serving, or eating, it is difficult to lift off.

To remove pesky grease stains, apply a bit of corn flour to the affected area. This will soak up the grease, so be sure to leave for 5-10 minutes to soak up as much as possible before brushing it away. Follow up with a little bit of dish soap, and run the item through the washing machine to eliminate the stain for good.


Tea Stains

Something that is undoubtedly British – tea stains are frustrating and easily done in everyday life.

To treat tea stains, rub a bit of detergent into the affected area. If wet, soak the item for 5 minutes, but if the stain has dried, a 30-minute soaking duration may be required. Finally, rinse the area and launder to fully remove the mark.


Wine Stains

Finally, the most infamous stain of them all – red wine!

To remove wine stains, sprinkle the area with some baking soda, before gently blotting with a damp cloth to absorb the wine. Do not rub or scrub the area, as this will only further entrench the wine into the material.


How Vanguard Can Heighten The Hygiene Of Your Premises

Stains are far from the only cleanliness problem your premises will face. Dust, dirt, grime, and smudges will all collect quickly, and if this is not kept on top of, you will begin to see a negative effect on your businesses. For this reason, the assistance of a professional cleaning company may be needed to maintain your brand’s reputation and keep employee morale sky high.

Vanguard is proud to provide a comprehensive service that can be relied on. Our cleaners undergo excellent training, with procedures accredited by the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc), and regular top-up training to ensure they stay abreast of the latest infection control and spillages procedures.

On top of this, Vanguard conducts regular audits to ensure our standards are kept as high as possible. This involves detailed inspections of our cleaning standards and staff, concluding in client feedback sessions that allow any concerns or steps to be taken and addressed. This is just part of our tailored service that designs custom cleaning schedules for your specific premises.

To receive a free, no obligation quote, and learn how we can heighten the hygiene of your premises, contact us using the information listed below.