How to Remove Stains from Laundry, Carpet, and Tile
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How to Remove Stains from Laundry, Carpet, and Tile

May 2nd, 2012   •   No Comments   

In our fast-paced world of eating on the go and hurrying from place to place, stains are a normal, everyday occurrence. From the ubiquitous ketchup stains speckling your kids’ wardrobes to the late-night red wine spill on the living room carpet, not to mention the pink fingernail polish on the bathroom tile that serves as a reminder of your daughter’s last “sleep”-over, stains are truly everywhere. Fortunately, they don’t have to stick around and taint your home or your clothing. With a little know-how and the right ingredients, you can banish stains from your laundry, carpet, and tile. Here’s how:


Unfortunately, there is no cut and dry, treat and wash answer to all of your laundry-room queries. The specific stain removal procedure will depend on the type of stain you’re dealing with. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Act fast. The quicker you attend to a stain, the better your chances are of obliterating it.
  • Identify the stain. This may take a little detective work on your part, especially if you have a few kiddos running around. Start with the color of the stain—that should provide you with some valuable clues. Now, mentally review last weeks’ menu and household activities and consider the possibilities. Yellow=mustard, macaroni and cheese, finger-paint, or Play-doh. Red=ketchup, blood (gasp), marker, or spaghetti sauce. Brown=dirt, coffee, chocolate, or….oh no! You get the idea.
  • Soak in cold water. Never use hot water on a laundry stain as this can cause the stain to set, making it extremely difficult or impossible to remove.
  • Choose your weapon. Not all stains are alike, but they all have an antidote; the key is finding the right stain remover for the specific stain you’re up against. Premixed laundry stain removers such as Shout, Spray-n-Wash, or the greener Nature’s Source laundry stain remover may be your best bet for everyday stains, but for the tougher ones, you may need a more formidable strategy. Here are some of the most common laundry stains and their remedies:
    • Coffee—stain pretreatment product or concentrated mild detergent
    • Blood—1 part ammonia and 1 part soap solution
    • Mustard—cold water and spot removing solution
    • Ink—rubbing alcohol or fingernail polish remover


Some of the same basic principles to treating laundry stains can be applied to removing spots from your carpet as well. As in treating laundry stains, cleaning spots from your carpet will require a quick response time and the right cleaning solution. In addition, there are a few special strategies unique to carpet-based stains:

  • Don’t rub it in. The very first thing you should do when faced with a carpet spill is to blot. Get a hand towel and try to soak up as much of the substance before it soaks into the carpet. Whatever you do, don’t scrub before applying a stain remover.
  • Break it down. When faced with a solid stain such as ground-in dirt or food, or gooey substances such as Play-doh or peanut butter, try scraping to break up as much of the stain as you can and then vacuum up as much of the residual as possible.
  • Flush it out. Apply water to the stain before trying any other potentially damaging stain removers that can permanently alter the appearance of your carpet.
  • Find a solution. Preferably one that targets the specific type of stain you’re dealing with. You may want to test the solution on a hidden area of carpet first to ensure that you’re not doing more harm than good. Then, apply the solution to the stain and scrub lightly with a wash cloth from the outside of the stain inward, so as not to spread the mess.


Tile is popular because of its propensity for being easy to clean. Even tile is not completely immune to stains, however. Hard water, rust, grout, and some spills can tarnish your tile over time. Here are some techniques that can remove any stains and keep your tile looking terrific!

  • Mix 3 parts baking soda, 2 parts ammonia, and 1 part vinegar, pour onto tile, and scrub with a toothbrush to remove the grout in between tile.
  • Treat rust stains with a borax/lemon juice or vinegar/salt paste.
  • Use acetone to remove spilled finger-nail polish.

As in anything else, accepting and admitting that you have a problem is the first step in solving it. Stains are virtually unavoidable, so don’t resist; just prepare. Keep the necessary materials on hand, assure yourself that you have the tools and skills to tackle even the toughest stain, and then relax! Enjoy life without fretting over household stains because with the right approach, they’ll be gone before you know it.

Camilo Kawas understands the importance of choosing the right products for removing stains effectively as the owner of a successful commercial cleaning company specializing in carpet cleaning and floor care.

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