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If you live with kids, pets or anyone prone to spills, chances are you're used to stains. But they don't have to be permanent. Consult this handy guide, where you'll find stain-fighting solutions for almost any problem. With some basic cleaning supplies and a little elbow grease, your home will be spotless in no time.
Before you start
- Test a stain remedy in an inconspicuous place. If the material remains unharmed, proceed as directed.
- Try the least toxic remedy first. Stronger cleaners are often corrosive.
- Avoid mixing cleaners. Some combinations, such as chlorine bleach and ammonia or an acidic product like tile cleaner, produce toxic fumes.
You can use the remedies for laminate and stone on floors made of those materials as well.
- Organic stains (food, coffee, tea, etc.): Wipe your counter regularly with a soapy sponge and these should disappear.
- More stubborn stains: Mix three parts baking soda to one part water. Let stand several minutes on the stain; gently wipe away, rinse and dry. An all-purpose household cleaner, such as Fantastic or OxiClean Miracle Foam, can also be effective. Allow it to sit on the spot for a few minutes; blot with a clean cloth and rinse.
Solid surface, like Corian
- Light blemishes: Treat with a dish-washing liquid or an ammonia-based cleaner, such as Windex.
- Stubborn stains on matte surfaces: Apply an abrasive cleansing powder, like Comet, with a nylon scouring pad.
- Stubborn stains on semi-gloss surfaces: Use a mild abrasive cleaner, such as Soft Scrub, with a sponge or a mixture of one part bleach to 10 parts water with a white scouring pad.
- Most stains: Flush the spot with water and dish-washing liquid, rinse well and dry; repeat.
- Oil-based stains (caused by cooking oil, grease, milk, etc.): Clean with ammonia, mineral spirits (a type of paint thinner) or acetone (nail-polish remover).
- Ink: On light-colored stone, use hydrogen peroxide or bleach; on dark stone, use lacquer thinner or acetone.
- Metal or rust stains: Apply a poultice (try RPP Stain Remover; www.stonecare.com).