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Living room with white brick wall, grey couch, timber coffee table and carpeted floors.
Arm yourself with our strategies to target pesky stains around the house.

 

Secrets to removing the toughest stains

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 to rust on your cooktop, we’ve rounded up some of the most common household cleaning dilemmas and how to tackle them.

1. Scuff marks

Rejuvenate 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.

Tip: High-traffic areas like the living room are notorious for scuffed walls. Keep leftover paint on hand for touch-ups.

2. Ink

Don’t panic if your toddler has used your soft furnishings as a canvas. “To remove pen and ink marks, blotting with some paper towel and isopropyl alcohol should do the trick,” says Jay Rawcliffe of Pristine Professional Cleaning.

Tip: Choose an easy-clean wall paint, such as Dulux Wash&Wear, in kids’ areas.

Kids desk surrounded by toys and children’s books

   

3. Pet accidents

“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 thoroughly with an enzyme cleaner.”

4. Mud

For mud trailed onto carpet or rugs, Rowena Jongejan of Family Clean cleaning services 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.”

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5. Drink spills

Fast action is best. “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. “Then apply carbonated water to the stain, blot the area and soak up remaining liquid with a microfibre cloth.”

6. Mould

Target mould with a solution of eight parts white vinegar to two parts 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.” For pervasive problems, wheel in the big guns with a specialised mould cleaner, which also helps prevent mould reforming.

7. Cloudy shower screen

Soap scum on glass and tiles can often be scrubbed off, 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. For lasting results, finish with a glass treatment like EnduroShield to help repel water and soap, and squeegee the glass after a shower.

Scandi style light, white bathroom featuring fish scale tiles

 

8. Rust spots

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.

9. Benchtop blemishes

Benchtops need to be treated with care, as some off-the-shelf cleaning products can affect the finish. For a gentle, effective clean, Rowena suggests making your own paste using a mix 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.

Timber and black kitchen design

10. Chewing gum

If gum is stuck to your fabric or carpet, Jay suggests a remover such as Oomph. “Follow the directions and test on an inconspicuous spot first,” he says.

More cleaning hacks

Here are five useful ways to use isopropyl alcohol around the house.

 

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. 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. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.