Stain removal

Remove the pain from stains

From red wine and mud to chewing gum and grease, stain removal can be a nightmare. But do not give up just yet.

Here are a few tips on how to save that sweater, shirt or trousers from some of the most popular stain culprits.

It's a good idea to have a stain remover in your cupboard at home to add extra muscle to your stain removal technique.

Blood: pre-soak in heavily salted cold water or detergent.

Candle wax: Cover the stain with brown paper and use a warm iron over the top to draw out the melted wax.

Chewing gum: Put clothing in the freezer as once the gum is hard and brittle it can easily be scraped off with a knife.

Removing the smell of cigarette smoke: Not quite a stain, but bicarbonate of soda is your friend as well as white vinegar. You can make a solution of 250ml of each and soak the garment in the bath for one hour. Remove as much excess water as possible and then wash as usual.

Cooking fat: Create a paste of bicarbonate of soda and a little water to spread over the stain, leave for 30 minutes and then wash in biological detergent.

Crayon: if the crayon is soft, freeze the fabric to harden the crayon, and then scrape off the excess. Place the stain between clean paper towels and press with a warm iron to transfer the stain to the paper towels. Repeat as needed. Pre-treat with a pre-wash stain remover, blot and let dry.

Grass: dab with methylated spirits and allow to dry, then wash as normal.

Ink stains: spray with hairspray and blot with a paper towel. Biro stains can be removed by soaking in a little milk.

Mud: pre-soak clothes as soon as possible in a bucket of cold water with three tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda for at least an hour. Then wash with a biological detergent and line dry.

Perspiration marks: Soak in white vinegar, rinse and then wash.

Red wine: Make a bicarbonate of soda and water paste and layer it onto the stain. Leave for a few hours, then moisten and then wash. You could also try continually rinsing with carbonated or soda water. If it doesn’t work, you may need to look at buying fabric cleaners from a shop.