Ten of the best stain removal tips

Red wine spilt down your favourite dress? Even worse if it's on your new cream carpet. But don’t despair. There are now a raft of powerful stain-removing products on the market that will clear up those nasty messes in no time - and before you spend any money, take a look inside your kitchen store cupboard, as many home essentials double as handy stain removers too....

Ten of the best stain removal tips

1. How to get rid of red wine stains
White wine should do the trick for fresh spills on carpet and clothes. Blot both liquids well, then sponge with warm water. Alternatively try Zoflora antibacterial Carpet & Upholstery Emergency Cleaner, £1.99, to banish red wine marks from carpet and sofas. It works a treat.

2. How to get rid of mud stains
Mums with football-mad kids will know mud is a devil to get out of clothes. Pre-treat stained sports kits with a stain removal bar before washing, and use methylated spirit (available from chemists) on persistent mud stains. On carpet, allow mud stains to dry, then simply vacuum them up. You may need to use a stiff brush to loosen the dried mud first.

3. How to remove blood stains
Soaking in bleach will remove blood from white clothes. For other washable fabrics, soak in cold, salted water for 15 mins then wash with a biological detergent. On carpet, sponge stains repeatedly with cold water and blot dry. If that doesn’t work, try carpet shampoo.

4. How to get rid of ballpoint pen stains
On fabrics or upholstery, dab with cotton wool moistened with a hydrogen peroxide solution (one part peroxide to six parts water) then machine wash. Alternatively, soak overnight in cold water containing biological detergent, then wash as normal. For older dried-in stains, dab with nail varnish remover (not suitable for synthetic fabrics) before washing.

5. How to get rid of curry stains
This is a tough one - and not one you want to put off dealing with. For washable fabrics, spray on Ariel Stain Remover and leave for up to 10 minutes, then wash as normal. Persistent stains may need treating with a hydrogen peroxide solution. Some people swear by diluted lemon juice to shift small stains on carpet, but more widespread spills may need professional cleaning.

6. How to get rid of pollen stains
If you get a nasty brown pollen stain on clothes, do not rub it! This will just make it worse. Use a piece of sticky tape to gently lift off as much pollen as possible, then normal laundering should remove any remaining marks. For stains on carpet, try De-Solv-it Spray.

7. How to get rid of grass stains
Try Vanish Oxi Action Gel for these tricky stains. Apply 2ml of the gel directly onto the stain and rub gently with the ridged dosing ball/cap, then wash as usual or rinse thoroughly. For a home-made remedy, use egg white and glycerine in equal parts on dried-in stains before washing.

8. How to get rid of grease stains
Cover greasy marks on carpet with brown paper then press with a warm iron until the grease is absorbed. Next, apply a solution of carpet shampoo with a sponge. Rub in gently then wipe off the foam. For washable fabrics, machine-wash using a biological detergent. On upholstery, sprinkle talc onto the mark, leave for several hours then brush off.

8. How to remove tea stains
Spilled tea on your carpet? A solution of bicarbonate of soda and water rubbed into the stain should get rid of it. This also works on white cups and mugs as well as discoloured teaspoons. For tea stains on clothes, use white vinegar. This method may need to be repeated a few times to completely remove all traces of the stain, but it should work. If the tea stain is fresh, try salt. It acts by absorbing the tea from the fabric. Rinse with water afterwards.

8. How to remove sweat stains
Dried-in perspiration on shirts leaves a yellow mark - as well as an unpleasant whiff! For speedy results, try Dr Beckmann Stain Devils. Dampen the stain, then sprinkle on the powder product and work in. After three minutes, brush off the powder using a cloth, and dab until clean.