How to Treat Every Fresh Stain in Six Easy Steps

Whenever you’re able to react right away to an accidental fresh stain, there’s a very high chance that you’ll succeed at cleaning all traces. So think action, not crisis. Whatever you spill, this handy step-by-step process will work for you.

  1. Limit the damage.

    Take a plain white – not coloured – paper or cloth towel to a liquid spill and, with care, blot from the centre of the spill to minimise spreading.

  2. Lift off solids, using a spoon and a blunt knife.

  3. Stop and think! Identify the stain and its stain group – water-based, grease-based, and so on.

    Read the care label, if there is one, so that you know what this fabric can happily withstand.

  4. Unlock the stain by turning it into a liquid.

    To do this, you use a solvent.

    Water, the simplest solvent, works more often than you might think. But don’t guess on this; you also need to get the temperature right, because getting it wrong (as in too hot) can make the stain permanent.

  5. Work from the inside out if you can.

    It’s far simpler to push the liquid back out the way it came, and doing so stops the stain from going right through the fabric on its journey out. (Clearly you can’t do this with fitted carpets.)

  6. Be ready to repeat everything, perhaps several times.

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