Every house gets its fair share of stains. The good news is most, both inside and out, can be remedied with the right method. From pen on walls and drink spills to rust on your cooktop, we’ve rounded up ten of the most common household cleaning dilemmas and how to tackle them.
Revitalise timber floors and walls with an eraser pad block. Cut the block to the desired size and lightly dampen it before gently wiping the affected area. The pads also work well to clean crayon and pen off walls.
Tip: High-traffic areas like the living room are notorious for scuffed walls. Keep leftover paint on hand for touch-ups.
Don’t panic if your toddler has used your soft furnishings as a canvas. “To remove pen and ink marks, blotting with paper towel and isopropyl alcohol should do the trick,” says Jay Rawcliffe of Pristine Professional Cleaning (pristinecleaning.com.au).
Tip: Choose an easy-clean wall paint, such as Dulux Wash&Wear, in kids’ areas.
“The only way to reliably remove urine stains and odour from soft furnishings is with an enzymatic cleaner,” says Jay. “First, blot with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Then soak with an enzyme cleaner.” Try a specialist cleaner, like Simple Green pet stain and odour remover.
Fast action is the best remedy for coffee, juice or red wine spills. “Use paper towel and a gentle blotting motion to absorb the liquid, followed by a sprinkling of baking soda or talcum powder to soak up the stain,” suggests Rowena Jongejan of Family Clean (familyclean.com.au). “Then apply carbonated water to the stain, blot the area and soak up remaining liquid with a microfibre cloth.”
For mud on carpet, Rowena Jongejan recommends leaving it to dry completely before gently vacuuming the affected area. “Follow by blotting the carpet with a microfibre cloth and a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid, before removing residue with a dry cloth,” she says.
Target mould with a solution of four parts white vinegar to one part of water, says Rowena. “Spray the affected area and let it sit for an hour. Using a soft sponge, scrub the surface to remove residue and liquid,” she says. For pervasive problems, wheel in the big guns with a specialised mould cleaner like Concrobium, which also helps prevent mould reforming.
Tip: “Whenever using cleaning products we always recommend opening up all the doors and windows for good airflow, and wearing gloves and a mask” Jay Rawcliffe Pristine Professional Cleaning.
Soap scum on glass and tiles can often be cleaned with a thorough scrub, but for calcium deposits, you’ll need to use an acidic cleaner, such as vinegar or CLR, to help soften the build-up. “Follow by rinsing the glass and working a scraper blade in one direction to remove the deposits,” says Jay. Finish with a glass treatment like EnduroShield to help repel water and soap, and squeegee after showering.
Gently rub rust patches from stainless steel cooktops and appliances using super-fine grade 0000 steel wool. “Just be sure to spot test to ensure it won’t scratch,” cautions Jay.
Benchtops need to be treated carefully, as some off-the-shelf products can affect the finish. For a gentle yet effective clean, Rowena recommends making your own paste using a combination of baking soda, dishwashing liquid and water, and gently applying it to the trouble spot with a non-abrasive sponge.
Tip: Wipe up spills straightaway to help avoid permanent stains on your benchtop.
Banish oil stains on your garage floor or driveway with a dose of CLR oil and grease remover. Apply the remover to the problem area and let it sit for three minutes. Using warm water and a stiff-bristle broom, scrub the area and then rinse thoroughly with fresh water.
For more ideas on keeping your house spick and span, check out our five useful ways to use isopropyl alcohol around the house.
Photo Credit: Brigid Arnott, Lisa Cohen/Dulux Australia, Anna Robinson, Cibo Design, The Home Duo/Sophie Cocks and Jamie Prebble, and Getty Images
Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.
When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.