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Removing stains

Getting a stain on a well-loved item of clothing can be so disappointing but it doesn’t need to spell the end. Stain removers can be very effective so try to keep one in your cupboard at home, just in case. However, there are simple remedies for lots of common stains. Check out these tips to help you tackle top clothes-spoilers: 


Pre-soak in heavily salted cold water or detergent. 

Candle wax

Cover the stain with brown paper and use a warm iron over the top to draw out the melted wax.

Chewing gum

Put clothing in the freezer as once the gum is hard and brittle it can easily be scraped off with a knife.

Smell of cigarette smoke

Not quite a stain, but bicarbonate of soda is your friend as well as white vinegar. You can make a solution of 250ml of each and soak the garment in the bath for one hour.

Remove as much excess water as possible and then wash as usual.

Cooking fat

Create a paste of bicarbonate of soda and a little water to spread over the stain, leave for 30 minutes and then wash in biological detergent.


If the crayon is soft, freeze the fabric to harden the crayon, and then scrape off the excess. Then place the stained area between clean paper towels and press with a warm iron to transfer the stain to the paper towels. Repeat as needed. Pre-treat with a pre-wash stain remover, blot and let dry.


Dab with methylated spirits and allow to dry, then wash as normal.

Ink stains

Spray with hairspray and blot with a paper towel. Biro stains can be removed by soaking in a little milk.


Pre-soak clothes as soon as possible in a bucket of cold water with three tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda for at least an hour.  Then wash with a biological detergent and line dry.

Perspiration marks

Soak in white vinegar, rinse and then wash.

Red wine

Make a bicarbonate of soda and water paste and layer it onto the stain. Leave for a few hours, then moisten and then wash. You could also try continually rinsing with carbonated or soda water. If it doesn’t work, you may need to look at buying fabric cleaners from a shop.