How to remove 6 common household stains

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Whether the culprit is a kid, pet or clumsy adult, the moment something drops, sticks or spills somewhere it isn’t supposed to can send you into a frenzy. 

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In case of a mishap, Consumer Reports suggests keeping some basic cleaning products — dishwashing liquid, nail-polish remover, Fels-Naptha — around the house. But before you panic and throw the soiled item into the washer, first try to remove the stain as much as possible.

How to remove 6 common stains

Thanks to Consumer Reports, here are some tips for removing six common household stains (and most of these will work on furniture and carpet, too):

Juice: Blot with solution of 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid (like Ivory) in 1 cup warm water. Red-dye remover works on red fruit punch.

Gum: Dab with extra-strength Bengay, heat with hair dryer, scrape with press-to-seal bag. Blot with detergent solution and rinse.

Gravy: Pretreat with a paste of Fels-Naptha soap, then wash. Repeat if necessary. Don’t put item in the dryer until the stain is gone.


Mustard: Apply repeated applications of detergent solution to remove solids. When stain is reduced, rinse and dry in bright sunlight.

Lipstick: Blot with acetone-based nail-polish remover, followed by the detergent solution, and rinse.

Wine: Blot with water. If stain remains, try detergent solution. 3 percent hydrogen peroxide is effective on red wine.

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