Stains are a common hazard within a busy house. Some of the worst that you might have encountered are from greasy or alcoholic foods, like gravy or wine. There’s also the challenge of cleaning up after your kids and your pets. Lastly, some stains persist over time, and seem permanent like those on your walls or bathroom tiles.
If these stubborn household stains are giving you a headache, fear not! There are a number of easy and efficient ways to clean your home. With the right tools and methods, you can get your house back to looking squeaky clean in a breeze. We’ve compiled a list of pro tips for getting rid of the most common household stains, as well as a primer on your approach to scrubbing away those dreadful stains.
Luckily, not much is needed to remove stains efficiently. For example, one of the best secrets to removing caked-in dirt particles is a microfiber cloth. Microfiber, a synthetic fiber that is a blend of both polyester and nylon (polyamide), has threads that are many times finer than human hair. It’s a great tool for a much more thorough cleaning because it reaches areas that other cloths and fibers – like cotton towels and paper tissues – simply cannot.
Other great cleaning tools are also just lying around your house. You can’t go wrong with making simple solutions out of water, detergent, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, or even nail polish remover. These are inexpensive and can be as mild or heavy-duty as you want them to be.
Before you get into cleaning in earnest, remember this motto: “wet for cleaning, dry for dusting.” Wring a wet towel as thoroughly as possible, so that you can increase its capacity to pick dirt particles and residue or simply use separate cloths for cleaning/scrubbing and dusting.
Pro Tips for Stain Removal
With all that being said, here are our five pro tips for taking out those stubborn stains.
- Painted walls. Want to get an ugly stain out without chipping the paint on the walls? Clean off grime and dirt buildup with a mixture of ammonia, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and warm water. Gently wipe this solution onto the wall with either a microfiber cloth, gently scrubbing as needed. For stains made with ink, use nail polish remover. For lines made with permanent markers, gently dab it with rubbing alcohol. Once the stains are removed, just rinse the surface with water and dry thoroughly.
- Ceramic tiles. For stains building up on your ceramic floor tiles, what usually works is hydrogen peroxide or diluted bleach. First, wash the stains with soap and water and wipe down thoroughly. Then dab with hydrogen peroxide or bleach. Greasy food stains can also be removed with water and club soda. For the tricky in-betweens in the tiles, you can also use a sponge or small brush. Finish the job by running a microfiber mop across the dry surface.
- Furniture. To remove aggressive stains on the fabric of your armchairs or couches, take the following steps: wipe the stained area with a dry cloth to remove dirt and dust, then sprinkle a small amount of baking soda over it and leave it to sit for about half an hour. Then thoroughly vacuum the baking soda off the surface, and give the fabric one last wipe-down.
- Carpets. For dirt that’s accumulated on carpets or rugs, apply a mix of ammonia and water. Darker stains might require a stronger solution; in this case, you can add a small amount of borax to a solution of water and white vinegar. Rub the solution into the stained area with a cloth or sponge, let dry, and then vacuum. These homemade solutions will work wonders for accidental coffee and juice stains, or for splotches of pet urine.
- Toilets and bathtubs. Stains on toilets and bathtubs can be particularly unsightly. Get hard-water and rust stains out of your bathroom with a simple solution of baking soda and vinegar. You can also pour a small amount of borax into the toilet bowl, add a cup of vinegar, and let sit alone for twenty minutes, and then scrub out the bowl with a toilet brush before flushing to rinse.
If you want a little more in-depth information, you can watch how-to videos on using different cloths and brushes or reviews of cleaning solutions. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help; messy households are a worldwide phenomenon! There are a ton of people out there who can help keep your home spick and span.
This is just to get you started on refining your cleaning technique—with a little elbow grease, you’ll be taking on those stubborn stains like a pro!