Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Homemade Stain Removers


By Reena Nerbas

Homemade Stain Removers

Dear Reena,

My new life goal is to purchase less store bought products and make my own stain removers. Can you tell me the different kinds of stain classifications? Mel

Dear Mel,

Stain classifications include; protein, tannin, dye, oil or a combination of the two. Different stains require customized treatments and the faster you attend to a mess, the better the results. Protein stains are those which come from the body such as: eggs, blood, yogurt, ice cream and milk. Never use hot water to treat a protein stain. Blot the area with cold water and dish soap, continue this treatment and notice if the stain is disappearing. If it remains, pour 3% hydrogen peroxide and salt onto the stain until the area is damp, leave for 2-3 hours and wash or blot with water. Repeat until the stain is gone. If you spill a combination stain such as; ketchup, spaghetti sauce or any other tomato based food, treat the area by scooping up as much of the sauce as possible. Do not scrub or you may push the stain further into the carpet. Onto a washcloth put a few drops of dish soap and very hot water. Blot the stain. Follow that with dish soap on a washcloth and cold water. Continue this treatment until the stain is gone. The goal is to make the stain colorless even if you can’t remove it entirely. Sunlight bar laundry soap is effective at removing a variety of stains, but it is increasingly difficult to find.

Another stain classification is tannin, I like to think of these as, ‘from the ground’ i.e. wine, coffee, tea, fruit juice etc. If someone happens to spill red wine onto your carpet, immediately react by pouring white wine over the area. If you do not have white wine, pour a liberal amount of salt over the wine. You will immediately notice the salt turn pink. Allow the area to dry and brush the salt away. Next, sprinkle the area with borax and water, leave for 30 mins. Wipe and blot with white vinegar. White vinegar is important as a last step because it prevents stained areas from turning brown. Test all treatments on an inconspicuous area.

Cleaning Mini Blinds

Dear Reena,

What is the best and fastest way to clean mini blinds? Norma

Dear Norma,

On a weekly basis, it is wise to put the brush attachment onto your vacuum nozzle and vacuum your blinds. If you prefer not to use the vacuum, put a clean sock on your hand and wipe the slats of the drapes with a damp cloth and a small amount of shampoo. When the time comes for a thorough cleaning, remove the blinds from the window. Either lay them on the lawn and spray them with a hose. Or place them in your bathtub and spray with shampoo and water. Or run the jets in your jet tub to get the blinds clean. Rinse with water and rehang. After the blinds are dry, wipe each slat with a fabric softener sheet to repel dust.

Cleaning Velvet

Dear Reena,

I have had my velvet sofa set for over 25 years and never cleaned it. It is hardly ever used and still looks new; well it did until my son spilt tea on it. Any suggestions as to how to clean velvet? Mindy

Dear Mindy,

Begin by vacuuming the couch to freshen the upholstery. Next in a 2 cup measure, pour 1 cup lemon juice and add 1 tbsp. baking soda. The mixture will bubble. Remove the foam from the measuring cup and spread the foam onto the couch. Wipe the entire couch including the stain. Scrub the couch until all traces of foam have disappeared. This is an effective procedure to clean and freshen furniture and get rid of stains without soaking the furniture with water.

Handy Tip of the Week

To clean oil based paint off of your hands, use vegetable oil. Then wash hands with warm soapy water.

Life just got easier!

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Need a Presenter on the topic: Effective Speaking or The Power of Words? Check out: