How To Remove Old Stains

Learning how to remove old stains, using quick and simple methods, can help to rejuvenate your wardrobe or restore your grandmother’s tablecloth to pristine condition. While it is always best to treat stains when they are fresh and still damp, old stains do not have to mean your heirloom linen or favorite shirt are ruined.

How To Remove Old Stains

If you are looking for guidance as to how to remove old stains, the first thing that you need to do is to determine the type of fabric you are working with. If your stained bedding or shirts are silk, for example, then you will need to ensure you only use cleaning methods that are appropriate for silk.

How To Remove Old Stains From Upholstery

What You Will Need Before You Start

  • Vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachment
  • Mild dish detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Clean absorbent towel
  • Clean sponge

If your upholstered furniture still has its original care tag on it then you may be able to find instructions for removing stains from it. Be sure to follow those instructions, if they are available. If no information is available to help you learn how to remove old stains, then the following steps should get the job done.

  1. Vacuum around the sofa or chair to remove any crumbs or other dirt debris that might be on the furniture. If you don’t vacuum up debris before getting to work on the stain, you might just find that you are working the grime into the stain, which is the last thing you want to do.
  2. Create a cleaning solution of a quart of warm water, two teaspoons of liquid dish detergent, and a quarter cup of white vinegar.
  3. Do a colorfast test the cleaning solution on an inconspicuous part of the couch before you get to work on the stain.
  4. Soak the clean sponge in the cleaning solution and squeeze out excess water.
  5. Blot at the stain until the stain is thoroughly damp. Be sure not to rub at the fabric, or you could cause the fabric to pill.
  6. Blot at the stain with a clean absorbent towel, white is best. The stain should start to lift out from the upholstered furniture.

If the stain is particularly severe then you should get the stain well and truly soaked with the cleaning solution and place a folded towel over the stain, with a book or heavy item on top. Allow it to sit for up to fifteen minutes and repeat the process until the stain has been thoroughly removed.

How To Remove Old Stains From Carpet

What You Will Need Before You Start

  • Carpet pretreating solution
  • Clean absorbent white towels
  • Soft bristled brush

A carpet with numerous old stains can be enough to lead someone to consider ripping it all up and living with bare concrete in their home. Concrete can certainly be great for minimalist living, but there is no need to give up on your carpet just yet. There are a few things that you can do in order to get your carpet back to spotless condition.

  1. Thoroughly vacuum the carpet to remove any pet hair, dirt, and other debris that could interfere with the stain removal.
  2. Spray your carpet pretreating solution onto the stain, completely saturating the stain.
  3. Allow the pretreating solution to soak into the fibers of the carpet for up to fifteen minutes.
  4. Use the clean absorbent towel to blot at the stain to see if the stain will lift up.
  5. If the stain is proving to be stubborn then use the soft bristled brush to work in another good soaking of the pretreating solution.
  6. Allow the solution to sit for fifteen minutes and then blot at it again.

If the stain appears to be particularly stubborn then consider repeating the above steps until it has been worked out of the carpet fibers. Use a carpet shampooing machine to rinse the carpet with hot water and clean the rest of the area.

Dealing with pet stains is another situation entirely and should include an enzymatic cleaning solution.

How To Remove Old Stains From Clothing

What You Will Need Before You Start

  • White vinegar
  • Dish detergent
  • Stain pretreating solution
  • White absorbent towels

Whether trying to resurrect your favorite blouse from last year’s Fourth of July barbeque picnic incident or cleaning up stains from your thrift shop bargains, there are several methods that can help you discover how to remove old stains from clothing. Before you try anything, however, be sure to do a colorfast test on an inconspicuous spot. Also be certain that you clean the clothing using methods approved for that fabric, as some fabrics like silk and wool require specialized care.

  1. Place the white towels on a flat surface and lay the stained item of clothing on top.
  2. Pretreat the stain using the cleaning solution.
  3. Allow the pretreating solution to work into the stain for up to twenty minutes.
  4. Thoroughly rinse out the pretreating solution.

If the stain is still visible then consider filling up a basin with warm water, adding half a cup of white vinegar and three teaspoons of liquid dish detergent. Allow the garment to soak for thirty minutes and rinse completely. If the stain is proving to be stubborn then you may need to repeat the process until you have worked it out of the clothing.

Unfortunately some older stains just might never come out of the fabric, even if you use hydrogen peroxide and dab it on the stain. Consider sewing an attractive applique piece or ironing a patch over the spot to revitalize the item of clothing.

How To Remove Old Stains From Linens

What You Will Need Before You Start

  • Laundry soap
  • Oxy cleaning products

Don’t give up on your favorite bed sheets or grandma’s linen tablecloth, rather learn how to remove old stains and get them back to looking like new. The most important thing to keep in mind is that some fabrics require special care in order to keep them from becoming damaged while being cleaned.

  1. Test an inconspicuous spot on the linen for colorfastness before you start working on the stain.
  2. Using a small bit of liquid laundry soap, work the soap into the stain until it is completely covered.
  3. Allow to set for up to fifteen minutes and rinse clear in the sink.
  4. If the stain is still stubbornly clinging to the linen, use the oxy cleaning products to make a paste, mixed with a bit of water, and work into the stain.
  5. Soak in the washing machine or sink for up to thirty minutes and then wash using cold water.

While it is always infinitely easier to remove fresh stains, it is not entirely impossible to learn how to remove old stains from a variety of surfaces. If the stains stubbornly persist, even after your best efforts, then you may consider using harsher products like hydrogen peroxide, or bleach if the products are white.