Stubborn household stains are one of the messier aspects of raising children. Crayons, paints, biscuits, jam… it seems all the things designed to make your little ones happy just happen to also be brightly coloured, sticky and troublesome to clean. But before you rip up all the carpet and them all with laminate and swap your beautiful upholstery for industrial textiles, consider the following nifty tips for scrubbing stains out of your life:
Taking the biscuit
Tots love to cling on to their biscuits until they disintegrate into sticky oblivion, which often means smears of chocolate and crumbs galore stomped well and truly into the carpet. Attack ugly stains with a two-pronged approach: lead with a detergent solution, follow up with white vinegar, and repeat until lessened. Then, blast the offending area with a carpet cleaner for a bright finish which can restore even beige carpet colourings to their former beauty.
A pain in the grass
Garden plus child = grass stains. Whether it’s the once snowy-white school socks that are now bright green or a swampy football kit, don’t despair. First, give the garment a long soak in warm water with biological detergent. This should loosen up all the grime. If the stains persist, a dab of methylated spirits will exorcise any green ghastliness for good. Then make your child take a bath!
Colouring outside the lines
Most little Rembrandts need a lot of paint, glue, crayons and colouring pens to realise their masterpieces, and this means a whole rainbow of stain potential. Crayons are the worst offenders. On any sort of cotton surface, blotting paper and a warm iron will lift out waxy residue, but on non-washable surfaces, or if any unwanted colour remains, it can be flushed with any decent quality stain remover until eliminated. As for inks, alcohol-based products can obliterate most; try hairspray to wipe out ball-point pen and gentle application of WD40 to shift permanent marker on upholstery and clothing.
Of course, prevention is better than cure, so be ready for sneaky stains with a bit of preparation. Try to reduce the chances of stains occurring in the first place by keeping indelible pens out of reach of little hands. Stockpile some stain-busting basics like white vinegar, soft, white cloths, rubbing alcohol, baking soda, lemon juice and WD40.
Finally, remember to have a little patience. With persistence, the right ingredients and a bit of repetition, you (and your carpets) might just survive…