In this article, you will discover the different types of stain removers and learn how the stain removal process works.
We reveal the different types of ingredients or solvents used to remove stains, what effect each one has on different surfaces or fabrics and which ones you should use to remove the stain without damaging the item stained.
There are only a few things as agitating and frustrating as staining your favorite carpet, item, or clothes. As our mood goes from zero to ten on anger and frustration, the stain is fixing on our item making it more difficult to clean by every passing second.
That’s why it is crucial to understand how stains and stain removal work and what the different types are of stain removers available at our disposal. Regardless of your age or gender, you will face this issue at least once in your lifetime; so why not learn how to deal with it like a professional?
How Do Stains And Stain Removal Work?
A stain simply put is a discolor or mark with something that is not easily removed. Stains are very common in all households. They can be created by food, drink, paint, dirt among others. Stains are notorious for being hard to remove.
Stains are caused by many different reasons. Each stain should be treated differently to loosen or dissolve the cause of the stain.
The longer the stain stays on the material or item, the harder it will be to remove because it ‘sets’ meaning it becomes chemically bonded to the material that it has stained; in worst-case scenarios, when it becomes fully set, one will not be able to remove it entirely without damaging the material itself.
That’s why, when it comes to removing stains, it is really important that you act as quickly as possible and use appropriate stain removal (containing the right solvent) to remove the stain and save your item.
Stain removals, on the other hand, are specifically designed to remove different types of stains from different materials. This is because in their compound they have a solvent that will specifically target the stain by dissolving them and not allowing it to get fixed.
Different Types Of Stain Removers
Clothes stain removers are concentrated powders that come in a variety of sizes. They are sold to households, hotels, restaurants, launderettes, dry cleaners, and trades. The product will remove stains caused by food, drink, blood, grease, grass, etc. The product will also leave behind a pleasant fragrance.
These products are designed to remove even tough stains, leaving your clothes looking great. They are easy to use, are gentle on fabrics, and are safe for all colors.
While it is good to know some basic information regarding solvents in stain removers, the main difference that classifies different types of stain removers is actually in their usage; let’s take a closer look for different types of stain removers depending on the stained material/object:
Clothes Stain Removers
The type of stain removers we are most familiar with is the clothes stain removers; there are several different types of clothes stain removers:
On-the-go stain removers
These can come in a form of compact pens, as wipes, or in some other mini package that you can bring with you and use in case of emergency; typically they can be used on different fabrics, like polyester, cotton and need to be applied or rubbed in gently across the affected area. They should be used immediately after the accident.
Classical laundry stain remover sprays
The classical spray stain removers are ones we often use to spray affected areas and rub off the stain. When choosing make sure the formula is safe for colored clothes and check in which water temperature it can be used.
Stain remover foam
This is meant for really stubborn stains that come from tough food (like BBQ sauces, tomatoes, etc.). This works even with some set stains and is considered one of the better solutions.
Stain remover gel (with or without brush)
The thicker formula of the stain remover gels enables you to specifically target the stain and add more product on the stain as opposed to other liquid options which easily spread around.
This remover usually comes with a built-in brush that helps you be ‘specific’ in the applying process; also, the gel stain removers work really well with set stains and in most cases in any water temperatures.
Home-made stain removers
Oftentimes, when dealing with stains people reach for homemade remedies such as vinegar, sodium bicarbonate or lemon juice, and detergent to deal with the stains.
Unless you are sure that these ‘remedies’ will work for sure, it is best to avoid them because instead of helping, you may actually make the situation worse, or help the stain set in deeper in the material.
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Non-toxic stain removals
New to the market, these stain removals do not contain bleach or any other harsh chemicals and typically use live enzyme-producing cultures that remove stains and destroy odors; these are safer to use around children and pets and are able to remove the usual stains.
Carpet Stain Removers
When it comes to carpet stain removers the first thing you must remember is to move on immediately and do not let the stain set in.
If you are not able to afford or do not want to seek professional service, you can try removing the stains at home with stain removers.
Make sure that you read the instructions of your stain remover before applying it, and that that stain remover is appropriate for your type of carpet/rug and works against that type of stain.
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Use protective glass regardless of the type of stain remover you use. You will find many different carpet stain removers on the market:
Carpet stain cleaner/remover powder
This remover comes in powder form and is good for both cleaning carpets and removing stains. You need to apply it on the carpet, leave it for a few minutes (check the package for how long) and then you will need to vacuum the excess.
Non-toxic, nature-based stain removers
Similar to clothes’ stain removers, these too use enzymes to clean the carpet stains. Mostly they are in liquid form and need to be applied and rubbed in your carpet immediately after staining it.
Carpet stain spot remover spray
There are 2 types: the first type requires you to rinse or vacuum the excess product once the stain is removed; the second type, also known as spot removers, does not need to be rinsed or vacuumed as they do not leave any residues or sticky spots.
These only need to be gently applied with your fingers, gently spot and then blot using an absorbent material.
Furniture Stain Removers
When it comes to furniture stain removers, we can talk about different types depending on which piece of furniture we are talking about, whether it is upholstery furniture or furniture made of wood or other hard materials.
Stain removals for upholstery furniture
Removing stains from upholstery furniture such as sofas and chairs is one of the trickiest.
First, check for cleaning codes to see how you should approach the cleaning; usually you will be able to see from here which type of solvent you can/can’t use; if there is no cleaning code (in the case with vintage, antique pieces) you should run a spot test on a hidden place to test the ingredients.
Use water or steam to loosen it up, and make it more responsive, then use either dish soap and water or appropriate stain removal to blot out the stain, and never rub it as that will only weaken and pill the fabric.
Always make sure that you are using appropriate stain removal for that type of material and stain and first test it on a hidden spot.
Stain Removals From Furniture Pieces/Wooden Floors/Tiles
The process of removing stains from wooden surfaces such as wooden cabins, desks, tables, or even wooden floors depends on the types of stains, therefore, to remove:
Use dish detergent and a cloth. Mix the soap in the warm water and using a cloth try to rub off the stain; for more stubborn stains you can even use vinegar, salt or soda bicarbonate. Make sure once you are done, you go over with clean, wet, and then clean dry cloth afterward.
To remove greasy stains from the wood surface it is best that you use a little bit of ammonia mixed with cold water and put on a rag with which you gently rub off the stain.
To remove stains from pets is not enough to just remove the visible stain but also the bacteria; you need to either use an appropriate stain remover or a 5% phenol solution and a damp soft cloth.
Although there are many homemade remedies that you can use to remove food/drink stains such as wine, chocolate stains, it is always best that you use an appropriate stain remover, especially if you haven’t previously used those homemade remedies and you know for sure that they work.
Permanent marker stains
Ink and marker stains are one of the worst; to remove them, use isopropyl alcohol on a ran and gently run the stain to remove it. Afterward, you should wipe off with a damp, rinse, and clean the entire furniture as usual.
Stains coming from grass, berry, paint, mustard can be hard to be removed from clothes or wooden furniture. To remove them, it is best to use heavy-duty liquid detergent and soak the stained cloth or if it is on the wooden surface then use a rag to soak and rub the stain.
If that doesn’t work, search for stain remover spray or gel that works on that specific type of stain and surface. Always make sure that you rinse/thoroughly clean the surface after removing the stain.
Removing rust stains is usually from metal surfaces rather than wooden ones; that being said, to remove them, you need to use lemon juice, dishwashing soap, and ammonia, or specifically designed stain remover. Always wear gloves and a rug; it is best that you leave the remedies to soak for a few minutes before rubbing the stain. Rinse afterward.
In most cases, the same stain removers used for removing stains from wooden surfaces are used for removing those same stains from tiles, kitchen islands, and ceramic. Always make sure that you use gloves and you test any new stain removers on a hidden place of that furniture before you apply it directly on the stain.
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Drive-Way Stain Removal
Most stains on the driveway are typically from cars and are oil-based stains. And while you can always use a hose to remove usual dirt and dust, for oil-based stains you will need something stronger.
Oil-based stains can come from anything, from food grease, cooking oil to oil from cars, and can affect your patio, garage, driveway, stone paths!
To remove it, use appropriate oil stain remover – apply it on the stain, let it dry from liquid to powder (if it works that way, or read whether you need to use a rag or rub it, it is usually written on the package) and sweep it up.
Some removals require rinsing, others don’t, so make sure you check the label.
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Different Types Of Ingredients (Solvent) In Different Stain Removers
There are many different types of stain removers; depending on what is causing the stain and the material that has been stained, we can decide which type we need to use.
All of the different stain removers have different solvents – these solvents are meant for dissolving different stains.
Typically, there are few types of solvents that are part of different types of stain removers and they are capable of removing different types of stains, affecting the materials in different ways; it is always good that you are aware of what type of solvent your stain remover has and how it will affect the stain and the material.
Here are a few of the main types of solvents that you will find in stain removers:
What it does: removes a stain’s color, without dissolving the stain itself. Examples: household bleach, hydrogen peroxide, etc.
What it does: it dissolves and removes some glues, rubber cement, grease, nail polish, as well as ink stains. Examples: acetone, nail polish remover (containing acetone), etc.
What it does: it removes stains and dyes colors. Examples: sodium hydrosulfite, sodium hypochlorite
What it does: dissolve the stain through a physical process and not as a chemical reaction as they do not react with anything in the stain. Examples: water, etc.
What it does: acids are used as part of many stain removers as a way to remove heavy stains such as rusts; Examples: Citric Acid, Acetic Acid, Boric Acid, etc.
What it does: allow heavy stains like ones from grease and other oils to dissolve, but since they are strong and can cause serious chemical burns, they and any product which contains them need to be handled really carefully. Examples: Sodium Hydroxide, Ammonia, etc.
Summary: As you can see removing stains is now much easier than it was a decade ago. The biggest takeaway is to move fast. The quicker you attack the stain the higher the success rate.
However, all is not lost if you have an older stain. Some of the carpet spot cleaners, for example, have been able to remove stains that are years old.
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