Expert Q&A

How to remove stubborn stains

Tired of working your hands to the bone scrubbing dirty clothes over and over again? Follow these tips and you'll spend more time relaxing and less time in the laundry.
If the kids have been playing football again (and destroying their clothes in the process), sponge with water then rubbing alcohol (or surgical spirit) and leave to dry. Later, sponge again and wash with liquid detergent, before rinsing. If the stain remains, soak it in a stain-reducing enzyme for an hour and wash as normal.
Soak berry-stained clothes in soda water or milk, then rub vinegar solution (one part vinegar, five parts water) into the stain with your fingers. Cover with salt and wash at a high temperature. For mulberries, you can remove the stains by rubbing the area with unripe mulberries.
Red wine
Blot up any excess liquid, treat with a stain remover and wash with a detergent in hot water as possible.
Apply stain remover to the mark and wash fabric at the hottest temperature possible with a bleach-free liquid detergent.
Dab lipstick stains with methylated spirits, then rinse. For mascara smudges, gently rub with dry-cleaning solution to lift the stain, then blot with a sponge soaked with laundry powder and warm water. If it still hasn't come out, mix one tablespoon of ammonia with half a cup of water and dab onto the stain before washing as normal.
Mix one tablespoon of salt in two cups of cold water and sponge into the blood stain. Treat with an ammonia solution and then wash in cool water.
We all love flowery gifts, but stubborn stains from lilies are a nightmare to get out of clothes. First, shake the item outdoors and try lifting any extra pollen with sticky tape. Rinse the back of the stain with cold water and then soak for 30 minutes. If it still doesn't disappear, try using a stain remover stick before washing in your machine.
Attack dye stains immediately. Work rubbing alcohol into the stain, rinse and repeat. Some people use hairspray instead of alcohol. For white items, treat with both detergent and bleach in hot water before machine-washing.
Leave melted chocolate to harden, then scrape away with a blunt knife. Spray the stained area with stain remover and wash as normal.
Dab vomit stains with a dry sponge to absorb fluid, and then soak in cold water. Move the fabric with your fingers to loosen the vomit, and then put in a cold wash with a detergent containing enzymes.
For butter, motor oil or hand lotion stains, blot up the excess using talcum powder, then treat with a solvent-based stain remover. Keep washing as many times as you need to until the stain disappears.
If your husband has yellow sweat stains all over his shirts, sponge them with water (moving outwards from the middle of the stain). Drip ammonia onto a damp cloth and leave over stain. Keep changing the cloth as it picks up the stain, then rinse.
This article is brought to you by Vanish Napisan. To find out more on how to keep whites "crystal white", head to

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