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The lowdown on stain removal

Stains can be a real annoyance of our lives - save your wardrobe and your pocket with our ultimate stain removal guide including free download to stick on your fridge!

Stains are frustrating. Especially for parents with weaning kids, or young kid, or just generally messy or active kids! We can spend a fortune trying to remove stains or replacing overly stained items so here is the Family Lowdown ultimate guide to removing stains. Our overarching tip would be to get some mineral bleach. Vanish and other similar brands do contain mineral bleach but not as concentrated and these can be expensive. Mineral bleach is NOT like normal blech, it contains no chlorine. Sodium percarbonate is the technical name and you can buy in bulk on Amazon here or you can buy a laundry bleach which contains this ingredient here. These are just a couple of examples and there are a variety of products available.

1 Fruit and Tomato

You'd think eating fruit would be an achievement with some children, however the fallout from squeezing fruit juice all down their front can sometimes feel like a fail.

Wash stained clothes on a low temperature and then put out in the sunshine. Some people swear by pouring boiling water onto berry stains - but always be careful with your fabric!

Top tip: For extra stain removal power, rub some lemon juice onto it

2 Chocolate

Thinking of chocolate fingers and warm hands - don't worry, we have a solution.

Rub liquid laundry detergent or washing up liquid on the stain & soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Repeat until you aren't seeing any improvement. Wash the clothing with mineral bleach or an oxygen based stain remover

3 Grass

Football mad family? Kids love playing sports or running and sliding down grassy banks? Grass can be tricky but there's hope.

These are tricky as they're 'combination stains' of more than one thing. Try rubbing the stain with laundry liquid, but if that doesn't work, try soaking and rubbing with white vinegar or alcohol

4 Banana

You'd think banana with its pale innocent looking colour would be a fairly easy stain to remove? This needs a little extra care and attention.

Treat as soon as possible for the best chance of success. Mineral bleach can work - but banana is an annoyingly tricky one - once it oxidises, it can be tough to remove. Soak in cold water and vanish/mineral bleach immediately. Once faded/removed put through a standard wash.

5 Wax Crayon

Someone felt like have a Picasso moment and you are not sure what to do? Try this.

WD40 is great for this (though worth ironing any crayon on a low setting through some brown paper to get rid of the worst). Rinse well before putting in the washing machine though - WD40 can make everything smell!

Top tip: WD40 is also brilliant for removing sticker residue!

6 Poster Paint

Who hasn't had a white polo ruined by the dreaded creative substance?

Another tricky one - but washing up liquid is a great starting point. Soak in cold water, & try to remove as much paint as possible without spreading the stain around. Then give a good rub with washing up liquid or laundry detergent before washing in a cold wash. Worth trying mineral bleach too - but red & blue can be especially tricky to get out.

7 Biro & Permanent Markers

Alcohol is your friend here - vodka, hairspray or hand rub will all work. Dab onto the stain and gently rub. Wash as normal.

Top tip: If all else fails, drink the vodka and at least you won't care about it!

8 Baby Poo

Sunshine is your best bet here - just put the stained clothes or nappy in the sunshine, and watch the stains disappear!

9 Suncream

The substance to ruin many a white summer t-shirt - especially round the collar.

Rub the stain with washing up liquid, and wash as normal. Some people swear by 'elbow grease' as well. Suncream is a tricky one - so good luck!

Top tip: lots of people recommend Calypso as it apparently doesn't stain clothes.

10 Blood

Not the nicest thing to have to remove but the knowledge is a definite necessity.

Hydrogen peroxide is the key for this! You can either use it neat (though this does risk turning white clothes yellow) or using mineral bleach (sodium percarbonate). Cold soak immediately, then mix up some mineral bleach with hot water, let it cool and soak - your stain should vanish!

Top tip: you can buy 'Violet's mineral bleach' or for a cheaper option, pure sodium percarbonate here.

11 Mud

A classic on the parenting repertoire - mud glorious mud. Nothing quite like it...for a laundry day!

Rub the stain with laundry liquid and wash with a good scoop of mineral bleach. If that fails, try soaking in mineral bleach (mix with hot water, cool then add clothes).

12 Sweat

Again, another common and fairly unpleasant stain. Especially common if you have sporty members of your family or avid gym-goers.

Sweat is another tricky one, as it's usually caused by a reaction between sweat and deodorant. Products like Deo-Go can be a good way to tackle this, or some people recommend a 1:1:1 mix of hydrogen peroxide, water & bicarbonate of soda, soaking for an hour and washing, or give using mineral bleach a go.

Top tip: for especially bad stains, you can try rubbing crushed uncoated aspirin on the stain and washing as normal.

13 Grease and Oil

Possibly one of the most frustrating stains that can really happen to the best of us!

Grease and oil can be hard to get out of clothes - but there are a few things to try. Try rubbing the stain with washing up liquid or laundry detergent - and then rinsing with water & white vinegar.

Top tip: lots of people swear by 'Elbow Grease' or 'Stain Devils' to remove grease stains - and they're safe for most fabrics. You can get hold of these here.

Have we missed anything? Give us your top tips!

We have scoured the group, gathered up the very best in stain removal advice, but if you have a little gem we have missed please share with us! Just email


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