Skip to main content

10 of the Best Cleaning Secrets for Impossible Stains

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

I love miniatures, writing, painting and spending time with my best friend, my husband. Here are my DIY cleaning hacks.

DIY Cleaning Hacks

DIY Cleaning Hacks

How to Get Ink Out of Carpet and Other Top-Secret Cleaning Hacks

Don't you just hate it when you come across a stain on something difficult to clean? You either wind up spending way too long trying to get it clean or throw it away. How many dried-up paintbrushes, items with blood stains or paint drips, and burnt pots and pans have you had to trash? How many carpet stains, mattress stains, or wall stains have you just learned to live with?

Well, there's not always a need to work so hard or, worse, throw your hard-earned money away. Some things can be cleaned more easily than you would've imagined. It just takes the right product and knowledge.

Over the years I have learned of many cleaning secrets and I am going to share my knowledge. Some I have learned from trial and error . . . lots of error. Some I have read about and some have been whispered in my ear by an older, wiser relative or friend along the way. My mother says that "If it can be cleaned, Tammy (my childhood nickname) can clean it."

So here are 10 of the best-kept secret tips for cleaning the "impossible." If you do learn a new tip here, and you find it works, please come back and leave a comment about it. If you have a tip or suggestion for one of mine, leave it in the comments section below.

10 Best-Kept Cleaning Secrets for Cleaning Stains and Spills

  1. How to Remove Bloodstains
  2. Removing Permanent Marker
  3. Ink Stain Removal
  4. Fruit Juice Stains
  5. Getting Wax Out of Carpets
  6. Cleaning Up Paint Drips and Spills
  7. Removing Paint From Hard Surfaces
  8. Cleaning Soap Scum
  9. Pet Stain Removal
  10. Cleaning Burnt Pans

1. How to Remove Bloodstains

Bloodstains are, for most, the most challenging non-oil-based stain usually encountered. Anything stained with blood is usually regarded as just ruined. This doesn't have to be the case. As with any stain, the fresher it is, the more likely it can be removed. Even if it has dried, don't assume it's useless. Dried blood stains can be removed from most fabrics if they are less than a week or so old.

And what miracle product can remove such a stubborn stain as blood with mere blotting? Good, reliable, usually in every household—hydrogen peroxide! Yes, hydrogen peroxide is remarkable for removing blood as well as any other bodily fluid stains from most fabrics. For washable fabrics, just pour on and watch it do its magic. Then, launder as usual. For non-washable fabrics such as upholstery and especially mattresses, wet stain and blot stain until gone.

Try it on a perspiration stain one time too; it works on those as well. Perspiration stains can be found on collars, the inside rim of most ball caps, and washable hair accessories, not just underarms of shirts.

2. Removing Permanent Marker

Permanent marker, especially the Sharpie type, is another stain that is considered non-removable. And on many objects that's true, but not all. Most anything that you can use fingernail polish remover with acetone on without messing up its surface, you can remove permanent marker from using nail polish remover. Just be sure to rinse with water after cleaning. This includes most doll faces/bodies, granites, marbles, hard plastics, toys of most types, linoleums, etc. Just be sure to test an inconspicuous area first and never on wood of any kind.

3. Ink Stain Removal

Ballpoint pens love to lose their ink in the most inconvenient places such as carpet, a purse corner, or a front shirt pocket. These aren't necessarily ready to be trashed yet either. Before giving up on getting the stain out, get that can of hairspray from the bathroom and spray onto the stain while the fabric is DRY. It is best to have a cloth you can dispose of when done on one side to "catch" the stain and work from another side. Saturate the stain only.

Be careful not to oversaturate as the stain will spread to the entire area that hairspray is absorbed. Try spraying very small amounts until the stain is wet without too much spreading. Take another cloth, to be thrown away as well, and blot, blot, blot. Use your nail to separate fibers as you go to release stubborn areas. Keep repeating until the stain is gone. If you spray stain and nothing loosens the first time, it's trash—forget it. But if it loosens only a small amount, just keep working at it.

4. Fruit Juice Stains

Got kids? Got fruit-flavored drinks? Got carpet stains? Probably! Ever had your carpets steam cleaned and wondered what it is they do that removes those pesky stains when you spent hours on your knees scrubbing away and couldn't make it go away? I did, and when I got tired of wondering, I asked. Who wants to live with the stains in between cleanings?

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Dengarden

I couldn't believe my ears when they revealed their secret to me. So simple and only takes a few minutes and no scrubbing. Just a disposable cloth, steam iron, and water. Yes, that's it—no magic formula, no chemicals, just water, iron, and cloth.

  1. Dampen (don't wet, just dampen) stain with water to "activate" it again. Do this even if it's a fresh stain because it thins the dye of the stain out.
  2. Place a dry cloth over the top and use the highest setting with steam on the iron to iron over the cloth. Keep the iron moving at all times. The steam lifts the stain into the dry cloth.

Note: Paper towels can be used for this task if you are especially careful to keep moving the iron so as not to burn the paper towel.

5. Getting Wax Out of Carpets

While you have the iron out taking care of the drink stain, got a spot where your favorite candle spilled over, and wax is embedded in the fibers of your carpet? Take the iron temperature down to a medium-high setting and turn off the steam. Place yet another disposable cloth or paper towel over dried wax and iron, iron, iron. The wax will be transferred onto the cloth you're ironing over and out of the carpet fibers in a matter of minutes.

You may have to move cloth a time or two to a new clean area as you iron because the cloth can only hold so much wax, and if you still have more to remove, it will just move back and forth from cloth to carpet if you don't move cloth to fresh area as needed.

6. Cleaning Up Paint Drips and Spills

Ever had your home's interior painted and discovered the painters (or yourself) got paint on your doorknobs, light fixtures, hinges, handrail hardware, or other metal hardware? Tried to wipe it away and found yourself still standing there twenty minutes later, scraping it little by little with the corner of a fingernail until finally, you decide nobody will notice and walk away? Oh, they will notice but not as much as you will . . . but no worries, just remove the paint. Easily, quickly, and still have its shine when you're done. How? Two solutions on this one.

On most fairly new spots that are too thick, such as brush strokes accidentally left on a knob or ceiling light, a quick spray of ammonia-based window cleaner rubbed with a cloth usually brings it right off. For more difficult spots, take a paper towel saturated with plain white kitchen vinegar and wrap around the stain. Let sit for a few minutes and go back with spray window cleaner and towel.

7. Removing Paint From Hard Surfaces

Another place that paint spatters and overspray love to stick to without mercy is bathroom sinks, tubs, shower stalls, especially those enclosure types made of fiberglass and all one piece. To remove paint from these areas, you'll need a lemon (or citrus) oil furniture polish. Aerosol will work, but liquid is best. You may also need a sponge with a non-scratch scrubber on one side.

Rub the paint stain with lemon oil and let sit for a few minutes. This loosens the paint. When paint loosens, use a cleaning cloth or sponge to rub paint away. Stubborn spots may need more polish, or use the scrub side of the sponge. After spots are removed, do an overall cleaning with your regular cleaner.

8. Cleaning Soap Scum

While we're in the bathroom, do you have a problem with glass shower doors and soap scum? Most people do. It is truly a nightmare for maid services and homeowners all around the world. First is the problem of removing the built-up and hardened soap scum. Then, once it is clean, there is the dilemma of how to keep it from getting that way again without having to clean it daily.

Anyone who has wasted their money buying those shower sprays knows they don't work. Spray once a day and never have soap scum again, NOT! I haven't found one that works yet. And I don't know of any permanent solution either. But, I do know how to make cleaning the old tub a bit easier as well as a simple little trick to prolong its building up again.

To clean the old scum away is a three-step process that takes a little time to finish, however, you can be doing other things while waiting for the scum to break down.

  1. The first step is going to be done with liquid lemon furniture polish. Using an old towel or sponge, saturate the glass door and surrounding areas of soap scum as generously as possible with the polish and let sit for about an hour. Check periodically and re-saturate any areas that have dried as needed.
  2. When an hour has passed, begin the second step. Using a plastic scraper like one used for removing paint, scrape away the biggest portion of soap scum. Do not use metal as it can scratch the glass. If the glass is textured, a fine steel wool pad is good for this step.
  3. Next, using a mixture of equal part water and vinegar, clean the glass. This should remove the oil as well as any soap scum that remains. Be careful to avoid getting vinegar mixture on metal as vinegar tends to turn aluminum black.
  4. Rinse well and re-clean the entire area as normal to remove all oil, vinegar solution, etcetera, and rinse well again. Dry the area as well as possible and then let air dry for at least half-hour before beginning the final step.
  5. For the final step, you will need any type of wipe-on, buff-off automobile wax. The easier to use products are best. Wipe the entire glass door(s) on inside and outside with car wax and allow to dry to a haze. When the wax is hazy, buff with a clean towel to a beautiful luster. This step not only helps the door be water-resistant, it also prevents the soapy residue from easily sticking to the glass. Does not stop scum from the building, but slows it down.

When this preventive method is used in conjunction with a squeegee to remove excess water after each shower, it could be several months before it becomes necessary to clean again. It's time to redo this procedure when water begins to cling to the glass more than it should.

9. Pet Stain Removal

Some of the worst stains I have dealt with on a regular basis are pet stains in rugs or carpets. I don't know what they put in dog food that is not just a dye but a staining agent when processed through the digestive tract of an animal. I've had bloodstains lift easier out of carpet fibers before ever learning about peroxide. They are horrible. Even when you think they are gone, a little foot traffic and they are back.

The best thing I have found so far to dissolve these little problem spots and keep them away is to pre-treat the area with one of those scrubbing bubble bathroom products that come in the aerosol can. Only the aerosol works and of course, without bleach as well. Spray stain very generously, completely wetting it through.

Pet stains run all the way into the subfloor below your floor covering and if not cleaned all the way through will come back later to haunt you. So there isn't a too much or too wet option in this case. Once wet enough, let it soak for a minimum of 15 minutes. Scrub lightly with a medium bristled brush to remove as much staining as possible. If using a carpet cleaning machine, clean as usual. If not, use a cloth to wipe up as much stain and wetness up as possible. Let dry and vacuum.

10. Cleaning Burnt Pans

My final tip is one of my simplest. Many times I have tossed a pot or pan after burning food in it that just would not come off. If only I had known all that you need to do is fill the pan or pot with plain water and place it on the stove on high. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn off heat. Let the pan cool down but not completely. Carefully remove, pour out the water and rinse away the majority of the burnt food. Clean stubborn areas as needed. It may be necessary to repeat the procedure for large areas.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Rmmacgilvray on January 11, 2017:

Step one states: just pour on and let it do its 'magic' ! BUTtttt you done say What you are pouring!?!?!?!???

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on October 20, 2015:

What a great hub! I would keep this is mind, especially for the burnt food tip on my baking pans.

jorge on October 26, 2014:

What if there is a stain and you don't remember what it was but is been there for a long time can you still remove it?

Sandy K. on November 30, 2012:

The best kept cleaning secret I know of is Genesis 950 cleaner. By far the best thing to clean everything with. From carpets to showers, ovens to clothing stains.

Debby Bruck on December 18, 2011:

Tammy ~ Very, very useful and I shall bookmark for future removal of stains. blessings, Debby. P.S. Congratulations on Hub of Day award on your miniature book instructions!

Related Articles