Cleaning is hard and not a lot of fun. Getting stains out is one of the least entertaining parts of cleaning, and that’s saying something! Of course, if you know a few good tips for getting out stains and dealing with the issue quickly, you can save yourself a major headache.
Use the Right Order
It’s easy to see a stain or a new spill and instantly try to go all in. Don’t. You’ll make it worse. Instead, follow the correct order and you’ll get a much better result.
First off, vacuum if you can. If the stain is older or anything that’s not liquid, vacuum it up as much as possible. As an added bonus, this helps lift other gunk out or to the surface, allowing you to clean everything a bit better.
Second, blot. Blot up everything you can. This is actually the first step if the spill is liquid, since you shouldn’t really vacuum liquids up. It’s not good for your vacuum cleaner, unless you have a wet-vac.
Once you’ve done that, spot-clean. Most of the time you’ll find baby wipes or white vinegar is enough to get rid of a stain. Some, however, can be a little trickier, so make sure you have a good idea of what you’re doing. If you aren’t sure, leave it alone until you have a good plan in mind.
Last, do a final overall clean. After all that work, you can probably just do a simply vacuum or wipe-down of the furniture, and call it a day.
This will probably be mentioned several times, but it really is important. Anytime you have a stain on a fabric item, don’t rub! All it does is push the stain deeper into the fabric fibers. That usually results in one of two things happening – you’re either left with a permanent light stain, or the smell keeps coming back. Both of those things are bad and it’s easier to avoid them.
This isn’t to say that you can’t rub at all or ever, but you should never rub first. Always blot, and blot. Then blot more, until you’re certain that all your blotting is doing is making your arm tired.
Avoid Total Saturation
Whatever you’re using to clean up the mess, try not to soak it straight though. You can soak things like small carpets or clothing, but not furniture. Not only does it not increase the effectiveness of whatever product you’re using, but it can drag the mess farther in. Even worse, if you soak a cushion too much, you run the risk of mildew.
Use Rubbing Alcohol for Pen and Nail Polish
Anyone with teenage girls – or someone who’s just clumsy, like me – knows that nail polish in your carpet, on your sofa, on your pant legs or in your hair is a nightmare. While a simple shampoo is usually enough to get it out of your hair, it can be a little harder to take it out of the carpet or sofa.
Along that same line, kids tend to love coloring, but it’s just not as much fun to color on paper, right? There are always pens somewhere they can find, so of course the sofa could use some color. Rubbing alcohol actually is pretty magical for both of these issues, pants included.
For pen, all you need to do is blot a bit on there, watch the marks disappear, and wash as normal. Nail polish is pretty much the same idea, but you must blot as much off the top as you can. Don’t rub it at all until you’ve blotted your heart out, or you’ll just mush it deeper into the carpet. Afterward, let it dry, then add the rubbing alcohol and rub the rest of the polish right out. You can use nail polish remover if you want to, but be careful. Certain kinds can bleach the carpet or sofa, so rubbing alcohol really is your best bet.
Get Grease and Oil Out With Chalk
Plain old sidewalk chalk has some amazing absorbent properties. If you spill grease or oil on furniture or your clothes and you’re struggling to get it out, chalk is the way to go. Rub a good amount of it on the spot and let it sit for a while. The chalk will bind to the spill, but retain its wonderful washable properties. After an hour or so, just wash it like you normally would. For some fabrics, like sofa cushions, you might be able to run the cover through the wash. Otherwise, just wipe it down with a damp cloth to collect the chalk.
Remember, there’s nothing like prevention to stop yourself from having to do extra work. Take care of your items and ask other people to do the same. It’s worth it.
Megan Wild loves choosing unique and comfortable furniture for homes. Check out more of her design ideas and tips on her blog, Your Wild Home.