Scrubbing Out Stubborn Stains with DIY Tricks

Wednesday Aug 18th, 2021



Dealing with stains is a pain most people don’t want to deal with. Maybe you decided to eat in the family room one evening and spilled spaghetti on the carpet, or perhaps you turned your eyes for two seconds and your child has drawn a lovely work of art on your wall. Or maybe after an extremely long day you plopped down on the couch with a glass of red wine and sploshed some onto your cushions. No matter how stains make their way into your home, one thing is for certain: getting rid of them is not fun. 

Madison McCausland is the owner of Mads Manic Cleaning Co. in OttawaOntario, where she and her team offer residential, commercial, and short-term cleaning services so you can spend more time enjoying your home, not dusting or mopping it! McCausland shared some tips on how you can tackle stubborn stains without spending a fortune on specialty products. 

Food stains out of clothes

Ketchup, chocolate, gravy—really anything can stain your clothes and leave an unpleasant blotch on what was once your favourite shirt. While house cleaning services don’t typically include laundry, McCausland shared her personal method of getting food stains out of clothing. 

“Soda water, salt, and baking powder work magic,” she says. “Vinegar and lemon as well! Always let the stain sit before washing, then dab the mixture onto the affected area. Check the stain in between washes and never dry the garment until the stain is out completely.”

Red wine on the furniture

It happens. An exciting moment in a movie, a dramatic conversation, or even an unexpected sneeze can send your red wine over the brim! Most peoples’ first reaction is to frantically try to scrub out the stain with a cloth, but that can actually do more harm than good, according to McCausland.

“Don’t pour another glass until you deal with it!” jokes McCausland. “Get to the stain immediately or it’ll settle further into the fibres of the couch. A mixture of vinegar and baking soda works wonders! Be sure to only blot the stain—soak, never rub. Use a wet white cloth to see the results as the wine comes up. The number one trick with this method? Patience.”

Muddy footprints on the carpet

Winter and spring see a lot of mud trekked into your home, which can be fine when it’s on the tile, but once that mud finds its way onto your carpet it becomes a bigger issue. Don’t immediately rush to scrub it out though, shares McCausland.

“Always let the mud dry first,” she explains. “Grab your vacuum and suck as much of the excess dirt as you can. Dishwasher detergent is your next step! I personally love Dawn. Mix with some hot water and blot with as much pressure as you can until the stain is lifted.”

Pet stains out of carpet

We all love our pets, but doesn’t it feel like you love them just a little less when they decide to do their business on your carpet? Not only can pet messes leave unsightly stains, they can also leave lingering smells that are tough to get rid of. 

“Make a mixture of dish soap, vinegar, and salt, then use a toothbrush to scrub deep into the fibres of the carpet,” says McCausland. “This also helps to get rid of any smell left behind.”

Crayon off walls

Unless you’ve designated a space in your home for your kids to scribble all over the walls, odds are you’ll want to get that crayon off as soon as possible. 

“It sounds crazy but mayonnaise is the go-to!” shares McCausland. “Grab a damp cloth or toothbrush, grab your mayo, and head to the wall. Oh, and get those kids to help!”

You’ll want to be careful if your paint has a matte or flat finish, however, as the surface may absorb the oil from the mayonnaise. If you do have matte walls, try softening the crayon with a blowdryer, then use mild dish soap and a hot rag to wipe it off. 

Loosening up old stains

Whether you’ve procrastinated dealing with a stain or just didn’t even realize it was there, all is not lost! You can still salvage your carpet, furniture, or clothing with a simple DIY solution. 

“A great option is to make a paste of water and baking soda along with some laundry detergent,” explains McCausland. “Again, soak, soak, soak for as long as it takes to get that pesky stain out!”

Always work quickly

There’s no way to prevent stains completely, save for covering your furniture in plastic or living in a bubble. But there are ways you can prevent them from getting worse! Don’t ever rub a stain or let it sit, as that can just work it into the fibres even more. A good rule of thumb is to immediately apply a warm cloth and let it soak. 

Stains are inevitable, and there’s no way for you to get them out of your life completely. However, knowing how to deal with common stains can make them easier to deal with and ultimately lead to longer use of your favourite furniture and clothes! 


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