Thereís nothing worse than having to say goodbye to a much-loved garment, rug or sentimental item because it has ruined by an accidental spill. Readers of The Australian Womenís Weekly have for years been sharing their hints on removing stubborn spots. Some of these stains are PECULIARLY AUSSIEÖ.Ok?

Bird droppings

Allow to dry before scraping off excess. Soak washable articles in biological detergent or sponge with a weak vinegar and water solution before washing. Non-washable articles: Sponge with weak ammonia and water solution, then white vinegar, then cold water. Dry thoroughly and quickly.


Sponge fresh blood stains quickly with a mixture of one tablespoon of salt in two cups of cold water, then with an ammonia solution. Wash in cooler water than usual. Old stains should be soaked in a hydrogen peroxide or ammonia solution (one part to eight parts of water), then wash in detergent with a few drops of ammonia added.Carpet: For carpet or mattress, apply a thick paste of raw starch and water, allow to dry, then brush off.


Scrape closely, then place absorbent paper over and under stain and iron with a warm iron. For washable items, rub powdered detergent welt in, then rinse. Try white spirit or dry-cleaning fluid if the stain is still there, then wash in water as hot as the fabric will stand. Non-washable items: Try ironing through paper, then dab with dry-cleaning fluid. Blot as dry as possible.

Candle wax

Scrape off as much as possible, then put the article in the freezer for an hour or two. Otherwise, use a few ice cubes in a plastic bag to harden the wax. Then place fabric between sheets of absorbent paper or between several tissues with stronger paper on top, and iron with warm iron. Remove any fragments with methylated spirits or dry-cleaning fluid. Carpet: Place absorbent paper over the mark, iron on a cool setting.

Make a bucket of detergent water to which you add ammonia and vinegar. Get a big square bristle brush. Dip, scuz rub the carpet so foam appears on top surface.Swipe with clean, dry rag. Do again,Swipe again. Takes a pile of rags. If you want to do the entire house, you put all the children, husband, friends, neighborhood kids to work with their own square brush and pile of rags. Do the whole house in an hour.

Chewing gum

Rub with ice cubes or put in freezer to harden, then scrape off as much as you can. Dab remainder with fluid, white spirit or methylated spirits. Non-washable items: Blot dry as quickly as possible.


Scrape off solids with a blunt knife. For washable articles, use boiling water poured from a height (taking care not to splash yourself or apply biological detergent with enzymes to the back of the stain, mopping as you sponge. Rinse. Use aerosol grease solvent to remove any residue. Wash as usual.


Soak washables in a solution of 30g borax to one litre of warm water, then wash as usual. Non-washables: Sponge first with grease solvent then the borax solution. Carpet: Sponge with borax solution (one tablespoon to one cup warm water).


On carpet, mop up excess immediately from outside to centre of spill.Lightly sponge remaining stain with eucalyptus wool wash in lukewarm water.


Mop us excess then sponge with one tablespoon of dishwasher powder dissolved in four cups of warm water. Non-washables: Mop up excess, sponge with cold water and blot as dry as possible.

Correction fluid

Most of these have their own thinners, which will remove the stain but, if not available, try dabbing with a cloth dampened with turpentine. Sponge with warm water and detergent to remove the stain remover before washing as usual.
Non-washable items: First check that colour doesnít run, treat as above, then sponge with cold water and blot dry.


Remove solids. If washable, apply liquid detergent, then rinse.Repeat if needed. Any stain remaining can be soaked in an ammonia solution before garment is washed.
Non-washable articles: Sponge with white spirit or dry-cleaning fluid until make-up colour disappears. Commercial spot-removing kits are available for upholstery.

Cream/ice cream

Scrape or sponge off as much as you can. Rinse washable articles in cold water, then soak in biological detergent or borax solution (one tablespoon to one cap water). When dry, use dry-cleaning fluid on residue. Wash.
Non-washable articles: Dab with dry-cleaning fluid, then methylated spirits.
Carpet: Sponge with one teaspoon detergent and one teaspoon white vinegar in one litre (qt) warm water. 


Soak stain with white vinegar, then rinse and wash as usual.
Non-washable articles: Carefully sponge with warm water and liquid

Egg yolk

Soak washable items in cold water and biological detergent, then wash as usual. Use a grease solvent to remove any remaining stain.Non-washable items: Expert care is required so find a dry-cleaner without delay.


Remove anything solid, then spray washable articles with biological detergent. Use grease solvent on whatís left before washing in the usual way.
Non-washable articles: Dab with grease solvent, then liquid detergent and sponge oil with cold water, repeating as often as necessary.

Fruit, fruit juice, berries

Sponge or soak fresh stains at once in cold salted water, soda water or milk. If article is washable, treat it with detergent, rubbing it into the stain with your fingers; or treat with borax solution, vinegar or an ammonia solution (one part to five parts water). Cover wet stain with salt and wash at high temperature, if possible.Non-washables: Sponge with cold water when dry, use upholstery spotting kit or dry-cleaning fluid. Carpet: Sponge with warm water, then treat as for chocolate.

Furniture polish on carpet

Dab with dry-cleaning fluid, lighter fuel or turpentine, then sponge with a solution of one teaspoon of detergent, one teaspoon of white vinegar and one litre of warm water.

Gentian Violet or Mercurochrome

On clothing or carpet, cover stain with calamine lotion. Allow to dry, then brush off. Dab with cloth dipped in methylated spirits.For carpet thatís heavily stained, make a paste of methylated spirits and borax and rub into fibre. Cover slain and let dry before vacuuming. Repeat as necessary.


Dampen stain on washable items, then rub with methylated spirits or glycerine. Leave an hour, then wash as usual.Non-washable items: Sponge with methylated spirits or liquid detergent, followed by cold water. For stains that have browned, sponge with one teaspoon wool wash in one cup warm water. Rinse after sponging.


Scrape off, then sponge with cold water. if washable, soak in a pre-wash solution, then wash with biological detergent.
Non-washable articles: Sponge with cold water, then treat with whitespirit or dry-cleaning fluid. Sprinkle with talcum powder; wipe and re-apply Carpet: Treat the same as for chocolate stains.


Scrape off what you can, then put absorbent paper under and over grease mark and press with a warm iron (change paper as often as needed). Sponge with white spirit or dry-cleaning fluid and, if washable, rinse then wash as usual.
Non-washable items: Try as above without washing.Carpet: Sprinkle with talcum powder, cover with paper towel and hold a hot iron over the paper. Press only lightly and repeat if necessary.

Hair dye

Once itís dry it will often not come out, so act quickly. Rinse washable articles in cold water and rub with liquid detergent. Sponge with methylated spirits or ammonia if necessary. Rinse, wash as usual.
Non-washable articles: Dab with hydrogen peroxide, methylated spirits or ammonia and sponge with cold water.


For washable articles, cover stain with damp English mustard and leave for 24 hours before washing as usual.Non- washable articles: Sponge with alcohol or methylated spirits.


Soak or sponge garments in a solution of 30g borax to two cups warm water, then wash as usual.
Non-washables: Sponge, stain with warm water containing ammonia or borax or use dry-cleaning fluid.

Meat juices

As with blood, theyíre harder to move when dry, so rinse or sponge with cold water quickly. Soak washable items in biological detergent, working the powder into the stain. If itís still visible, use white spirit or dry-cleaning fluid, rinse, then wash in lukewarm water.Non-washables: Use a dry-cleaning solvent.

Metal polish

Scrape off what you can. If washable, rinse in cold water, rub with liquid detergent or try methylated spirits. Rinse again, then wash.Non-washable items: Dab with white spirit or dry-cleaning fluid.


Unless the fabric is drip-dry or permanent-press, soak in diluted bleach, then wash as usual. Or spread spots with lemon juice, cover with salt and leave in the sun. Keep moist till spots are gone, then rinse and wash as usual. For dark clothes that have been hanging in a cupboard, sponge with hot water and a dash of Dettol. Iron kill mould spores and dry well before rehanging.


Rinse washables in cold water. Then soak in lukewarm water with detergent and a dash of ammonia. If needed, follow up with dry-cleaning fluid, rinse, then wash as usual.Non-washables: Sponge with a grease solvent, then with lukewarm water and blot dry.


Let it dry and brush off what you can. Soak in hot water with plenty of good detergent, then rub by hand in the bucket to release as much dirt as possible before putting the article in the washing machine.Non-washable articles: Sponge the dried mud with detergent and water solution, then use dry-cleaning fluid.


Rub a mulberry stain with a green mulberry, then sponge, or wash as usual.

Nail polish

Wipe up spill and dab with acetone or amyl acetate; donít use oily polish remover. Sponge out any colour left with methylated spirit.Rinse, wash as usual.
Never decant Leave any household poisons in their original containers. Never store dangerous liquids in empty food or drink containers.


Always easier tackled while still wet, itís a good idea to note from the can the name of the thinner for the paint you are using in case of a major spill. Water-based paint should wash out well in cold water but, if it has dried, use methylated spirits or paintbrush cleaner. For oil-based paint, sponge with warm detergent and water, then soak stained area in white spirit and scrub gently with an old toothbrush. It takes a while and you will need to repeat the process, but it will come out in the end. Alternatively, soak paint-stained garment overnight in warm water with one tablespoon of vinegar, two tablespoons of ammonia and one teaspoon of salt. Rinse in cold water and hang to dry.


Act immediately on spilt perfume. Rub in a little glycerine, leave for several hours, then wash in warm soapy water and rinse.Non-washables: Sponge with warm water and borax.


Soak for 30 minutes in warm white vinegar, rinse well and wash as usual; or dissolve three tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda in a bucket of cold water, soak for an hour, then wash in the usual way.On a silk dress or shirt, make a paste of fullerís earth and water and spread over the stain. Brush off when dry. For a woollen garment , sponge with a weak mixture of bicarbonate of soda and warm water. If the underarm area is yellow, sponge with hydrogen peroxide and keep it damp for half an hour. If itís oily, dab with dry-cleaning fluid.
Pet stains See Urine/Vomit.

Sauces, Cream

Scorch marks are difficult to get rid of. Careful rubbing with fine sandpaper or steel wool with a little peroxide may help fade the mark. For washable articles sponge or soak in ammonia, hydrogen peroxide or borax solution. On silk or wool, cover scorch with a mix of equal quantities borax and glycerine, leave for one hour, then carefully hand wash.
Non-washable articles: Sponge lightly with glycerine solution, then sponge with warm water. Repeat.

Shoe polish

Scrape off what you can. Dab with white spirit or grease solvent, while holding an absorbent pad underneath to stop stain spreading.Whites can be bleached. After treatment, rinse and wash as usual.Carpet: Sponge carpet or chair covers with a mix of three parts wool wash and four parts warm water. Use a rough cloth like towelling, then sponge with cold water. If necessary, first treat with white spirit or dry-cleaning fluid.
Soft drinks See Fruit, Fruit Juice and Berries.


Scrape off deposit. For washables, apply white spirit or eucalyptus oil. Rinse, wash as usual. Sponge tar off petsí paws with eucalyptus oil on a soft cloth, followed by warm soapy water. Non-washable articles: Dab with white spirit or eucalyptus oil - or see a drycleaner.
Tomato juice See fruit, fruit juice and berries.


Fresh stains on washable articles can be rinsed in cold, salty water, then washed. Soak dried stains in biological detergent and use hydrogen peroxide and ammonia solution if necessary. Non-washable articles: Sponge fresh stain with cold water, then white vinegar solution. For dried stains, you may need a drycleaner.


Remove excess. Run washable article under cold tap, soak in biological detergent, rinse, then wash as usual.Non-washable articles: Sponge with cold water. Then sponge with mix of two and a half cups warm water and one tablespoon of borax. A wipe with eucalyptus oil helps cover odour.


Articles that have been stored for some time and yellowed can be corrected with a mild bleach solution. For something that canít be bleached, soak 12 hours in one dessertspoon of cream of tartar to four litres of hot water. Rinse, wash as usual. 
Zinc cream Remove deposit. Dab with neat wool wash on a cloth wrung out in hot water. Repeat as necessary, using a fresh part of the cloth for each application.