A to Z Stain Removal Guide for Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery

Removing stains from carpet
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Stains happen. That's just a fact of wearing clothes or having a carpet and using anything that drips, leaks or smears.

So to help you take care of those stains, here's a comprehensive list of stain makers from A to Z. Each link takes you to a step-by-step description of the products you'll need and how to remove that specific stain from washable fabrics, dry clean only fabrics, as well as, carpet and upholstery.

While many stains are treated the same way, others require special steps or they can become permanent. Treating stains on upholstery and carpet takes a bit more skill than just tossing a shirt in the washer.

Not sure what caused the stain? There are ways to identify mystery stains and get you started. Take a few seconds and treat the stain-making culprit the right way to make sure that you'll wear your favorite shirt another day.

 

Stains A to D

Stains E to L

Stains M to R

Stains S to Z

A

E

M

S

Acne Medicine

Easter Egg Dye

Make-up

Saffron

Apple Juice

Egg

Mango

Salad Dressing

Artichoke

Eggplant

Maple Syrup

Salt Stains

Avocado

F

Margarine

Self Tanners

B

Face Cream

Mascara

Shoe Polish

Baby Food

Feces

Mayonnaise

Shrimp and Seafood

Baby Formula

Fingernail Polish

Metal Button Tarnish

Skunk Odor

Bacon

Fish

Mildew

Smoke and Soot

BBQ Sauce

Food Coloring

Milk

Soft Drinks

Beef and Red Meats

Formula

Mustard

Sour Cream

Beer

Fried Chicken

Mud

Soy Sauce

Beet

Frosting

N

Steak

Bird Poop

Fruit Juice

Nail Polish

Steak Sauce

Blackberry

G

Nectarine

Sticker Glue

Blood

Gasoline

Nicotine

Strawberry

Blueberry

Glow Stick

O

Sunscreen

Butter

Grape Juice

Oil

Super Glue

C

Grapefruit

Ointment

Sushi

Candle Wax

Grass Stains

Orange Juice

Sweet Potato

Caramel

Gravy

Oyster

T

Cat Urine

Grease

P

Tabasco Sauce

Caviar

Gum

Paint - Latex or Oil

Tar

Cement

H

Papaya

Tea

Champagne

Hair Dye

Paper Dye Transfer

Tomato

Cheese Sauce

Hair Spray

Peach

Toothpaste

Cherries

Hamburger

Peanut Butter

Tree Sap

Chicken

Hog Odor

Perfume Odor

U

Chocolate

Honey

Permanent Marker

Underarm Stains

Cigarette Odor

Hot Sauce

Perspiration Stains and Odor

Urine

Cigarette Stains

I

Pesticides

V

Coffee

Ice Cream

Pet Feces

Vanilla Extract

Corn

Ink

Pine Resin

Vaseline

Correction Fluid

Insect Droppings

Poison Ivy

Vitamin Gel Caps

Cottage Cheese

Iodine

Pollen

Vomit

Cranberry

J

Pork

W

Cream Cheese

Jam and Jelly

Pudding

Washable Markers

Crayons

Jello

Pumpkin

Watermelon

Curry

Jewelry Tarnish

R

White Glue

D

K

Raspberry

White Wine

Deodorant Stains

Ketchup

Red Wine

Wood Stain

Deodorant Stripes

Kiwi

Red Wine Vinegar

Worcestershire

Diaper Stains

Kool Aid

Ring Around the Collar

Y

Diesel Fuel

L

Rubber Cement

Yellowing

Dip

Lamb

Rust

Yogurt

Dog Urine

Lemon Juice

 

Z

Duck

Lime Juice

 Zucchini

Dye

Lipstick

  
 

Liquid Medicine

  
 

Liquor

  
 

Lotion

  

 

Stain Removal Supplies to Keep on Hand

Oxygen Bleach - Oxygen-based or all-fabric bleach is a gentle bleaching agent that removes stains, whitens and brightens laundry and is safe for use on almost all washable white and colored fabrics. Because of its chemical ingredients, it works more slowly than chlorine bleach, is less corrosive and damaging to fibers and is more environmentally friendly.

Enzyme-based Stain Remover - Natural or processed chemically, different enzymes target specific soils and the catalytic action breaks the soil into smaller molecules to be washed away. Look for a stain remover that contains these enzymes:

  • protease - degrades protein based soils
  • amylase - degrades starch based or carbohydrate soils
  • cellulase - breaks down cotton fibers to release soils
  • lipase - degrades fat based soils
  • mannanase - degrades food based stains
  • pectinase - degrades fruit based stains

Laundry Soap Bar - Fels Naptha or Zote or Ivory are pure soaps that work very well in cutting through body soil on collars and cuffs.

Dry Cleaning Solvent - A solvent is needed to lift oily stains from non-washable fabrics. Always use in a well-ventilated space and follow directions carefully.

Acetone - An essential product for removing fingernail polish.

Rubbing Alcohol - Removes ink from fabrics and leather.

Chlorine Bleach or Laundry Disinfectant - A disinfectant is required to kill most types of bacteria, viruses and mold/mildew spores.

Soft-bristled Brush - Use to work stain remover into fabrics.

White Cotton Cloths - Always use a white cloth or paper towel to blot away and treat stains to avoid accidental dye transfer during cleaning.