The tools & supplies you need to clean most stains

Stain removal is simple if you have the right tools, solvents and supplies on hand. Here's the ones you'll probably need the most:

The tools & supplies you need to clean most stains

The right tools for the job

Removing stains or applying cleaning products requires a few simple tools:

  • Cotton swabs, squares and balls for all kinds of stains.
  • A dull knife or an old toothbrush is handy for scraping dried-on stains.
  • A generic spray bottle makes spraying water easy.
  • An eyedropper can be used to apply cleaning solvent in small, precise areas.
  • A clean sponge helps flush water through a stain.
  • Tissues, paper towels, old terrycloth towels or any clean, colourless, absorbent fabric all make great stain absorbers.
  • An artist's eraser can be used to clean marks right off leather or suede.
  • A suede brush and a clothes brush will round out your cleaning arsenal.

Cleaning brushes to use

Clothes brushes can remove surface dirt and lint from clothing. Here are some options:

  • Natural-bristle brushes are more expensive but more effective at removing dust and stains from clothing.
  • Synthetic-bristle brushes are hard on clothing because the bristles are stiff.
  • Velvet-faced lint brushes remove lint or pet hair from garments without harming napped fabrics.
  • Tape rollers also remove lint and pet hair harmlessly, although you must replace the tape after each use.
  • Lint combs remove lint as well as pills, or little fuzzy balls, on loosely knit clothing, such as sweaters.

Stock up on supplies

  • You can readily find all of the products needed for stain removal at supermarkets, hardware, paint and discount stores.
  • Your cabinet should include laundry detergent, in granular and liquid forms, pre-soak products,  and pretreat products
  • For tougher stains, you'll need the following: rust remover, bleach (chlorine and non-chlorine), rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, and cleaning solvents such as acetone or denatured alcohol.

Do everything with your safety in mind

  • When storing cleaning products in the home, be sure to keep them in their own clearly-labelled containers.
  • All cleaning products need to be safely out of the reach of children.
  • When using cleaning products, particularly those that are flammable, work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear protective gloves if necessary.

Stains can ruin even your most favourite clothes if you don't have the right supplies. But if you have everything at hand, you could remove a stain before it has time to do any damage.

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