How to Put Together a Stain Shifting Kit - dummies

How to Put Together a Stain Shifting Kit

By Gill Chilton

Having the right cleaning tools on hand can make fighting stains a lot easier. Keep these items together, so that you can take them at once to wherever you need them in your home. A plastic tool caddy with a handle is ideal.

General items to collect include:

  • Bar soap: Use it to cut through dirt- and grease-based stains. It’s especially good for delicate fabrics.

  • Carbonated water (club soda): A soda siphon if you have one is super. But sparkling mineral water is also good. This is an essential for carpet spills. The oxygenated bubbles help lift semi-solids and liquids out from the fibres.

  • Disposable gloves: Some stain jobs are just so yucky that you don’t want to have to wash out gloves afterwards.

  • Plastic spray bottle: Ideal if you can’t take your stain to the basin. Also, having one of these handy bottles about means that you can regulate the amount of water or diluted solvent you apply to your stain.

  • Protective facemask: Use to protect your nose and mouth from chemicals as you work. Also, you’ll stick at an unpleasant clear-up longer if your sense of smell is masked.

  • A roll of white paper towels: Practically everything that you can spill can be blotted up with a few sheets of this. For sheer convenience, paper towels win out over old rags.

  • Small stiff brush: Careful brushing can lift up dry particles before they get the chance to do damage. A brush is also perfect for loosening dried mud and grease stains that you’ve treated with an absorbing solvent.

  • Sponge: You need this to deal with carpet and upholstery spills. Because you can’t take the floor or the furniture to the sink, a thick sponge acts as your go-between. You use it to introduce soapy solutions to the stain, then to rinse the suds out.

  • White cloths or rags: Save money by switching from paper towels to these when you’ve a major-league mess to sort out. Treat as disposable, and don’t be tempted to launder them afterwards.

  • Blunt knife or spoon: Great for scooping up solids before tackling the stain.

Add to your collection a variety of stain-fighting solvents.

Other household items that you may also call on include:

  • Biological detergent liquid (detergent with enzymes): Use diluted to soak stained fabric. Can be applied neat to spot-treat cottons before they go into the wash.

  • Bleach: Visibly fades stains on a variety of fabric and hard surfaces around the home. Great for mould stains on fabric and yellow perspiration stains on white shirts.

  • Denture cleaning tablets: These are quite versatile with concentrated cleaning power. In the same way that they stop false teeth from yellowing whilst also removing everyday food stains, they also take out yellowing from stored cotton bedding, remove tea rings from mugs, and get scum stains out of vases.

  • Pre-wash stain remover or wash booster: Give your regular detergent a helping hand whenever you load the washing-machine with highly stained items.

  • Shaving foam: Good at lifting grease-based stains out of carpets. The mousse (foam) sits on the surface encouraging the stain to get up out of the carpet and join it.

  • White vinegar: You can do so much with this humble wonder. You use it most often as a final treatment, to remove all traces of smell from a stained area. But vinegar also has bleaching qualities, which means it can lighten colour stains such as ketchup.