How to Clean Household Stains

This page contains solutions and methods for cleaning many common stains around the house, both for restoration and in preparation for painting. Included are alphabetical listings of stains, surfaces, cleaning products and some basic rules for successful stain removal.

Removing These Stains

Alkyd/Oil Paint

Use a clean white cloth dipped in mineral spirits or turpentine to dab or wipe wet paint. Move to a clean spot on the rag as it becomes saturated to avoid spreading paint around. When all the paint has been removed, wash fabrics with liquid laundry detergent and warm water. Remove dry paint from fabrics and other surfaces using a clean cloth wetted with acetone or lacquer thinner, soak the stain repeatedly until it softens and begins to come away on the cloth.

Soak solid metals like door hardware in a bath of one of these solvents for several hours to loosen old paint. Use a plastic putty knife and tooth brush to remove the paint as it becomes soft, rinse and wipe the surface dry. If the hardware originally had a clear coat like shellac or varnish to protect the finish, this coating will be removed along with the paint. When the hardware is clean reapply the clear coat to restore the piece.

Blood

Rinse repeatedly with cold water to remove fresh blood, on tough stains scrub with liquid laundry detergent and rinse with cold water until it's gone. On upholstery and carpeting, use a wet/dry vacuum to pull water and the stain out. Repeat if necessary. On dry blood try 1 cup cold water and 2 tablespoons of ammonia, soak the spot until the stain is gone and wash in cold water.

If the stain persists you can also try 3% hydrogen peroxide poured over it several times or try flushing the area with white vinegar. Launder the item as usual after the stain is gone.

Chewing Gum

Freeze gum and chip the hardened material off of fabrics, etc. Hold a piece of ice on the gum or put smaller items in a freezer. Use WD-40 to remove gum from hard surfaces like wood and metal. Also use WD-40 to remove gum from hair. Wash as usual after the gum has been removed.

Chocolate

Remove excess chocolate and rinse the stain with a solution of 2 tablespoons ammonia and 1 cup of warm water. Launder as usual.

Coffee/Tea

Rinse coffee and tea stains on fabrics with cold water or use a solution of 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 cup of cold water. Launder as usual.

Crayon

Remove excess wax first using a plastic spoon or knife, or try putting the item between two pieces of heavy paper like grocery bags and apply heat using a clothes iron. Use one of the following cleaners to remove the stain left behind: toothpaste, baking soda, white vinegar, ammonia, turpentine or denatured alcohol.

Fruit Juice

Pour table salt over heavy spills. Vacuum up the salt and rinse the area with a solution of 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 cup of cold water to remove the stain. Use a shopvac to pull liquid and stain out of carpets and upholstery.

Grease

On clothing put a drop of liquid dish detergent on cooking spatter spots, use a light colored soap to avoid adding a dye stain to the fabric. Let the spot soak for a day or more before laundering the garment as usual.

On non-washable fabrics and other surfaces, blot at grease spots using a clean cloth dipped in dry-cleaning solvent. Keep turning to a clean spot on the rag and blot the stain until all the grease has been removed.

Ink

The type of ink involved will determine the best way to remove it. There 3 types of ink that you will most likely be dealing with, in order of difficulty to remove are: permanent marker, pen ink and water-based ink. Permanent marker on fabrics will be next to impossible to remove completely, on other surfaces like furniture and painted wood, it will usually be possible to completely remove it using the solvents listed below. Pen ink can usually be removed completely using these solvents. Water-based inks can usually be completely removed with soap and water.

Use the rules for cleaning stains and one of the solvents listed below, in order, to clean ink stains. Blot or rub the stain until the ink starts to dissolve and come away on the cloth. Turn the cloth frequently to a clean spot to avoid spreading the stain. Launder washable fabrics and dry clean non-washables.

  1. Permanent Marker

  2. -Denatured Alcohol is the most likely to work and not damage the stained fabric or surface.
  3. -Acetone is the next best choice but it will damage furniture finishes, paint and some fabric dyes.
  1. Pen Ink

  2. -Denatured Alcohol will work quickly and likely won't do damage.
  3. -Acetone will work as well but it will damage furniture finishes, paint and some fabric dyes.
  4. -Turpentine will work on hard surfaces like wood finishes and enamel paint but not on fabrics.
  5. -Water-less hand cleaners work well and are safe on hard surfaces, but will likely stain fabrics.
  1. Water-Based Ink

  2. -Liquid Detergent and Water
  3. -Water

Latex Paint

Flush wet latex paint from fabrics with plenty of warm water then work liquid detergent in to the stain and scrub and rinse until all paint is gone. Clean wet paint from other surfaces with a rag soaked with warm water. As the rag becomes saturated with paint use a fresh one to avoid spreading the stain. Clean dry latex paint stains with acetone or lacquer thinner. Soak solid metal items in a bath of one of these solvents. Wipe or dab with a cloth dipped in solvent to remove dry latex paint from most other surfaces.

Metal Marks

Aluminum pots and pans can leave marks on porcelain sinks and ceramic tile. Light marks can be removed with repeated scrubbing using a plastic dish pad or an abrasive cleanser. To remove heavy metal marks use an acid metal remover available from hardware stores. Use a little acid on a clean cloth and rub repeatedly until the mark disappears. Wear latex gloves to avoid acid burns.

Mildew

To kill mildew on most surfaces use a solution of 25% bleach to cold water. Mix the solution in a pump sprayer or spray bottle and use it before painting mildewed walls and siding. For surfaces that would be damaged by chlorine bleach use 3% hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar to kill the stain. Rinse with clean water and let the surface dry before applying a paint coat. If mildew is a chronic problem use a mildew retardant paint or add a retardant to your finish paint. Also try: lemon juice

Motor Oil

Mix 1/2 cup hot water with 1 cup of powdered laundry detergent. Mix to a paste and apply to the stain. Let the paste stand for about 30 minutes and rinse with hot water. Repeat if necessary.

Mustard

Use 3% hydrogen peroxide to saturate the stain then rinse in warm water. for non-washables dab the stain with dry-cleaning fluid.

Nail Polish

Clean wet nail polish with a cloth dipped in acetone or nail polish remover. Dissolve dry nail polish by soaking solvent resistant items in a bath of one of these solvent. Otherwise, soak a rag in the solvent and hold it on the dry polish until it begins to soften. Wipe or dab with fresh solvent until the stain is gone. Laundry as usual.

Paint

Remove dry paint from door hardware and other solid metal surfaces using acetone or lacquer thinner. Be sure the metal is solid and not plated, this process will remove plating and the clear varnish or shellac finish on antique hardware. The clear coat can be reapplied after the paint is removed. Disassemble and remove the hardware, soak it in a bath of the solvent for about an hour. Use a toothbrush to get into tight spots and crevices. Remove the metal from the bath and allow it to dry for a couple of hours before spraying with a clear protective finish.

Pet Stains

See urine below.

Red Wine

Use salt to absorb excess red wine in fabrics, carpets and upholstery, vacuum up the salt and rinse in cold water. When possible, launder with detergent and cold water. On other surfaces like upholstery use cold water to saturate the stain and a wet/dry vacuum to pull out the excess water along with the wine, repeat as necessary. Saturate tough red wine stains with vinegar and rinse in cold water.

Rust

When you need to paint a rusted surface, first scrap, wire brush or sand it to remove as much of the oxidized metal as possible. Remove all the dust produced and coat the whole area with naval jelly, a phosphoric acid that converts the red iron oxide (rust) to black iron phosphate. Wear eye protection and latex gloves to avoid acid burns and brush the acid on with a paint brush. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and rinse off with water, repeat if red coloring persists. Rinse the final coat with plenty of water and let it dry. Coat the surface with a rust converter, a phosphoric acid product manufactured to be a priming step before painting. Let it dry and paint with a rust inhibiting paint like Rust-o-leum®

Shellac

Clean wet shellac with denatured alcohol and dissolve dry shellac with a soaking bath of denatured alcohol. Use a rag saturated with alcohol to wipe or dab at dry shellac on fabrics and other delicate surfaces. Rubbing alcohol can be used as a substitute but it will not be as effective.

Tar

Clean tar from most surfaces with WD-40 or turpentine. Scrape off as much tar as possible first using a plastic scraper and thoroughly saturate the stain with solvent. Use a cleaning cloth to wipe or dab at the tar. Gasoline can also be used but it is very flammable and should only be used in most extreme need.

Tarnish

Clean tarnished metals using a mixture of salt, flour and vinegar in equal portions. The paste can be used to clean copper, brass and bronze. Wash the paste off with water, dry and buff to a shine. Also Try: Dip a lemon slice in hot vinegar and then salt. Use the slice to clean tarnish on copper, brass and bronze.

Urine

To neutralize odors from urine on upholstery, carpeting, wood flooring, etc. use an enzyme cleaner available in pet stores. Soak up excess urine and then spray with the enzyme, let it remain and dry, don't rinse. Also Try: Soaking fabrics for 30 minutes or more in cold water and then one of these: 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1 cup water; 2 tablespoons ammonia and 1 cup of cold water; or rinsing with club soda followed by white vinegar. Blot up the excess and allow the spot to dry.

If urine cause dark stains on wood floors, use oxalic acid to remove the stain. See Oxalic Acid below for more.

Varnish

Clean wet varnish with a cloth dipped in mineral spirits or turpentine, launder fabrics as usual. Clean dry varnish on fabrics and other surfaces using a clean cloth dipped in acetone or lacquer thinner.

Water Stains on Painted Surfaces

Shellac or a shellac-based primer-sealer will block most stains including water, ink, smoke, oils, tar, food stains and just about anything that can contaminate wall paint. Shellac stain blockers are available with white pigment added which makes touching up white paint easier, use a spray can to make the job quick and easy. Coat the area twice to be sure the stain won't burn through the finish paint. Wait about 20-30 minutes between coats. When the stain blocker is dry, touch up the wall paint. See Touching Up Wall Paint and Fixing Water Stains on Walls for more.

Wax

Remove excess wax with a putty knife or similar tool. If possible, lay the stained object over several layers of thick paper, such as paper grocery bags. Cover the wax with several layers of paper. Use a steam iron set on medium to heat the paper and soften the wax underneath. The wax will be absorbed onto the paper. When the paper becomes saturated with wax use a clean piece and continue until all the wax has been removed. Remove wax residue with dry-cleaning fluid.

Choosing a Cleaning Solution

In most cases the most effective and safest cleaning solution is a liquid like laundry or dishwashing detergent. When you have a tougher stain to deal with you'll have to use one of the more powerful cleaning solution from the list below.

Acetone

Use this very strong solvent to remove dry paint from just about any surface in the house. Remove dry lacquer, oil, alkyd and latex paints. Also will remove most inks and dyes. Soak door hardware for a couple hours or overnight in a close-able container to remove old paint. Acetone will damage many painted surfaces as well as floor finishes, furniture finishes, plastics and other soft materials. Test on a hidden place before using it to clean stains. Use a clean cloth dipped in acetone to dab at fabric stains. Use a fresh spot on the cleaning cloth when it becomes saturated with the stain. Clean most other surfaces by rubbing or dabbing with a clean cloth soaked in acetone.

Ammonia

A good general purpose household cleaning solution for glass, kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Cleans stains caused by chocolate, blood, perspiration and urine. Use to soften adhesives on jar labels and to remove wax.

Baking Soda

Used to clean and polish most household surfaces. Mix with vinegar or peroxide to create a cleaning paste. A peroxide paste will whiten many surfaces including tooth enamel. Clean hard water spots from bath and shower fiberglass and ceramic tile. Removes coffee and tea stains on glass; cleans rust when mixed with vinegar; sprinkle on carpets and upholstery then vacuum up to get rid of odors.

Bleach

Use to kill mildew on many surfaces including aluminum and vinyl siding, lawn furniture and other outdoor surfaces. Use it to lighten water stains on wood; mix it with tsp to brighten decks.

Denatured Alcohol

Will dissolve shellac or lacquer finishes. Used to clean ink and dye stains.

Dry-cleaning Solvent

Perchloroethylene and trichloroethane are two solvents used on dry clean only fabrics. Available in hardware stores. Used to remove stains from delicate fabrics. Dab at small stains with a cleaning rag; soak larger stains and dry by dabbing with paper towels.

Enzymes

Used to clean protein based stains like blood, perspiration, urine, grass and food stains. Available in hardware and pet stores.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Peroxide is an oxygen cleaner (like Oxyclean®) that works like bleach to whiten stains. Will safely bleach stains from many surfaces including tooth enamel. Mild enough to use on delicate fabrics. Try it on any surface with coffee, tea or wine stains.

Lacquer Thinner

Thins lacquer paint. Use to remove most dry paint from metal and other tough, non-porous surfaces. Will cut the finish on many surfaces like acetone will so follow the same precautions mentioned there. Available in paint and hardware stores.

Muriatic Acid

Used to etch concrete surfaces before painting, remove efflorescence deposits, clean masonry and stone, or strip paint and grease. Available in hardware and paint stores. To remove alkali efflorescence (white powder) from masonry use a weak solution of muriatic acid and water solution. Be very careful when using muriatic, it is about 30% hydrochloric acid, making it an extremely dangerous household chemical. It should be diluted to about 10% acid to etch concrete and treat efflorescence. Dilute by carefully adding the acid to pooled water, DON'T ADD WATER TO A POOL OF MURIATIC ACID, this can cause it to bubble up and emit noxious fumes. See Using Muriatic Acid for more about safety precautions when dealing with muriatic acid.

Mineral Oil

Mixed with whiting to polish marble and other stone finishes.

Mineral Spirits

Used to thin oil and alkyd-based paints as well as for cleaning spills. Available in hardware and paint stores.

Naval Jelly

Use this acid to convert iron oxide (rust) into iron phosphate. Use it as a first coat on rusted metal and follow with a rust inhibiting primer and top coat. See rust stains above for more.

Oxalic Acid

Used to remove water and urine stains from wood and in deck cleaners to brighten the finish. Wood is stained when water and iron mix with the natural tannins present in most wood, leaving black and gray marks. Because urine contains a degree of iron, it too will cause these stains. Oxalic acid will remove these stains, but if the source of iron remains, such as with nails or screws, the stains will return when water comes in contact with the surface again.

Mix the oxalic acid crystals with hot water until no more will dissolve and apply the solution evenly over the whole area. Let the acid dry and apply another bath if necessary, if the stain remains after the solution dries, apply another until the stain is gone. Let the acid dry completely and then remove the residue with several rinses of distilled water, followed by a rinse with a baking soda and water solution to neutralize the acid.

Paste Wax

Use to protect metal surfaces from oxidation preventing rust and tarnish. Clean metals first, wash them in warm soapy water and dry before polishing with wax. See Tarnish above for more.

Trisodium phosphate (TSP)

Heavy duty powdered cleanser mixes with warm to hot water to clean tough grease and oil stains. Also good for other tough cleaning jobs like house siding. This is a very harsh cleaner and is rarely needed around the house, in most cases liquid laundry detergent will do just as well. Available at grocery, hardware and paint stores.

Vinegar

This acid cleans rust and other chemical stains from many surfaces. Vinegar from the bottle is about 5% acetic acid. You can increase the acid content by boiling the vinegar down. For example, boiling 16 ounces of vinegar down to 8 ounces will double the acid content to 10%. This can be useful when you have a really tough cleaning job and you want to go green.

WD-40

Clean grease, paint and tar. Use it to remove many adhesives as well as for treating sticky hardware.

Cleaning These Surfaces

The best way to clean a stain depends on the surface involved. Below is a list of household surface and the best way to clean them.

Aluminum Siding

Scrub with a mixture of 1 gallon warm water and 1/8 cup laundry detergent. Wet the siding with a hose and scrub with a soft bristled broom. A broom with synthetic bristles will usually be soft enough for this job. Dip the broom in the cleaning solutions and scrub the siding. Rinse with the hose before the cleanser can dry. To kill mildew add 2 cups of bleach to the cleanser.

Auto Paint

Remove tar and other stains on auto paint using WD-40 on a cleaning rag to rub the stain. Wash as usual.

Brass

Remove tarnish with a lemon slice dipped in hot vinegar and salt. Or try a paste of equal parts salt, flour and vinegar. Rub until all tarnish is removed, rinse with warm water and dry. To protect brass after cleaning, apply a paste floor wax and buff.

Brick

Clean green algae using a mixture of chlorine bleach and tsp. Seal brick to make future cleaning easier and to help preserve the masonry.

Carpet

Soak carpets with a cleaning solution appropriate for the stain and use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to draw out all the excess liquid and stain.

Ceramic

Clean aluminum marks and other stains on ceramic tile with a paste mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Also Try: using a plastic dish scrubber or use an acid ceramic and porcelain cleaner for tough marks.

Charcoal Grill

Use a spray-on oven cleaner and steel wool to clean a greasy outdoor grill. Let the solution sit on the grill for several hours before trying to scrub with steel wool. On the inside of the grill top use several coats of oven cleaner to cut the thick buildup.

Concrete

For grease and oil stains make a paste of TSP and warm water. Apply the paste to the stain and let it stand for about an hour. Rinse with hot water and repeat if necessary.

Copper

Clean copper tarnish rubbing with a lemon slice dipped in hot vinegar and salt. Or use a paste of equal parts vinegar, salt and flour. Rub paste on with a cleaning rag and rinse in warm water after all tarnish is removed. Dry with a clean, soft rag.

Corian® and Other Acrylic Solid Surface Materials

This surface doesn't usually stain but if you do have a stain on your solid surface counter top, try cleaning it with a paste of baking soda and vinegar. Use a 3M® abrasive pad (those blue or green fibers attached to dishwashing sponges) to scrub in a circular motion. If that doesn't work to remove stains you can always sand acrylic counter material to a new finish. This will work to remove scratches as well. Use 400 to 600 grit metal oxide sandpaper to lightly sand the surface. Use a little warm, soapy water and wet sand in a circular motion. Restore the shine to the surface by buffing with a rag and a little olive oil.

To fix deep scratches use a coarser paper to remove more material. Start with 120 grit, sanding in a circular motion. When the scratch is gone, wet the surface with warm soapy water, enough to make a slurry and sand with about 320 grit metal oxide paper. Use progressively finer 400 and finally 600 grit paper to finish sanding the surface. Rinse off all slurry residue with warm water. Let the counter dry and apply an oil such as olive oil or use a commercial solid surface counter polish. Pour some oil onto the surface and buff with a 3M® abrasive pad in a circular motion and then buff with a soft rag to restore the shine.

Fabrics

To clean fabrics cover a flat surface such as a kitchen counter with a clean white towel or similar cloth. Lay the fabric with the stain face up on the towel and blot at it with a little cleaning solution on a cotton cloth. Move to a clean spot on the towel and cloth as they soak up the stain. Don't allow non-washable fabrics to remain wet for more than a couple of minutes to avoid water damage.

Fiberglass Shower/Tub

Spray mildew stains with a solution of 1 cup bleach and a quart of water. Ventilate to avoid breathing fumes.

Glass

When glass cleaners won't cut tough residue, use a plastic kitchen scrubber dipped in vinegar and warm water. Spray with ammonia and water and wipe with newspaper to clean streaks on glass.

Granite

Although granite is not absorbent, liquid can seep into cracks between the minerals in the surface. Clean food stains using a solution of two tablespoons hydrogen peroxide and and half teaspoon ammonia. Cover the solution with plastic wrap and let it stand overnight. Wipe clean with a damp sponge.

Clean oil and other tough grease stains using a mixture of two tablespoons whiting and one tablespoon acetone. Cover overnight and wipe clean with a soft rag dampened with mineral spirits. For everyday cleaning of granite countertops use a mild detergent and water. Don't use harsh cleansers like "Formula 409" or acidic cleaners like vinegar that can dissolve protective sealers. To help prevent staining, granite counters should be sealed with a stone sealer periodically.

Marble

There are two types of marble found around the house, genuine and cultured marble. Cultured marble is manmade and not stone at all, this surface can be cleaned with the usual household surface cleaners. To clean oil and grease from genuine marble with a paste of acetone and whiting. Apply the paste and cover it with plastic. Let it stand overnight and then rinse the paste off with hot water. Look for acetone and whiting at your local home store, if they don't have it, you can find it at a paint store.

Clean food stains with a paste of whiting, ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. Mix a thick paste with the whiting and peroxide and apply the paste to the stain and sprinkle several drops of ammonia over it. Cover it with plastic wrap. Let the paste stand for 5 or 10 minutes and then rinse it off with hot water. If necessary apply the paste again, cover it and let it stand overnight.

To treat rust stains try a paste of 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, ¼cup baking soda and enough hydrogen peroxide to make a thick paste. Rub the paste into the stain and then let it sit for 30 minutes before wiping it off with a damp sponge. Rub the paste into the stain again and let it sit longer on tough stains.

When the stains are gone be sure there's not paste residue on the surface. Rinse the marble using hot water and let it dry. When it's dry buff to restore the shine. Remove scratches from marble using 400 or 600 grit oxide sandpaper, polish and buff. If the surface doesn't buff up use a marble polishing powder, available from hardware stores.

Masonry

Use muriatic acid or a concrete etching product to clean concrete floors before painting and to treat efflorescence deposits. See above before using muriatic acid. Clean most other stains on masonry with detergent and water. For tough oil and grease apply a poultice of equal parts TSP and hot water. Let it stand overnight and rinse with hot water. If the stain persists, repeat the treatment or use an acid etching solution.

Pyrex

Soak baked on food in a bath of 1 cup vinegar and 1/2 gallon warm water. Let the solution stand overnight and scrub with a plastic kitchen scrubber.

Rayon

Fill a large sink with cool water. Add a squirt of liquid dish detergent and stir gently but avoid foaming. Lay the fabric gently into the sink. Don't agitate at all. Leave the fabric in the water for half an hour or more. Remove the item from the sink and place in a large bowl without stretching, wringing or twisting. Drain the sink and fill again with cool water. Lay the fabric in the water and let it soak for 5 minutes, remove the item and repeat. Remove the garment from the water and place in a large colander without stretching. Set the colander in the sink to drain for about 10 minutes. To dry, lay the item on a flat surface covered with a large bath towel without stretching. Lay a second towel over the wet fabric and blot to absorb excess water. Hang the garment to dry.

Silk

Gently hand wash in a solution cool water and mild detergent. Don't twist or wring the fabric. Hang to dry. Spot clean with a rag dipped in dry-cleaning or a solution of 1 tablespoon vinegar and 3 tablespoons cold water.

Sisal

Sisal may be pure natural grass fibers or it may be a synthetic blend of nylon and wool. For thorough cleaning, natural sisal should be dry-cleaned. Spot clean with a rag dipped in dry-cleaning fluid or mild detergent and water. Dab at the stain until it disappears. Don't saturate natural sisal with water or cleaning solutions, this can cause shrinking. Clean synthetic sisal following manufacturer's instructions. Also try water and detergent to spot clean. To prevent stains on both natural and synthetic sisal a protective coating may be applied. This is often done by the manufacturer but if the coating has worn off it will need to be reapplied.

Stainless Steel

On matte finishes like a kitchen sink, scrub with a soapy steel wool pad. Also try making a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, scrub with a sponge to remove stains.

Suede

Don't use any cleaning solution on suede, the best coarse of action for stains is to have it professionally cleaned. Always dab liquid spills immediately. Also try a pencil eraser to remove some smudges on suede. Stains on shoes may be treated with a rag dipped in white vinegar. To restore suede nap on shoes use a suede brush.

Upholstery

On cloth upholstery, soak stains with the appropriate cleaning solution. Use a wet/dry shop vacuum to draw out excess cleaner and the stain.

Vinyl Siding

Scrub with a mixture of 1 gallon warm water and 1/8 cup laundry detergent. Wet the siding with a hose and scrub with a soft bristled broom. A broom with synthetic bristles will usually be soft enough for this job. Dip the broom in the cleaning solutions and scrub the siding. Rinse with the hose before the cleanser can dry. To kill mildew add 2 cups of bleach to the cleanser.

Wallpaper

Use an art gum eraser to lightly rub smudges on wallpaper. Take care not to remove the printed pattern when rubbing. Also Try: Clean grease spots by dabbing with a rag dipped in dry-cleaning fluid or a solution of warm water and detergent.

Wood

Use a orange extract wood cleaner or Murphy's oil soap and warm water for everyday cleaning of natural wood finishes. Dry and polish the wood to protect after cleaning. To remove stains from wood use oxalic acid to lighten water and urine stains. Use laundry bleach to lighten pigmented oil stains in wood floors and other solid wood surfaces. Make several applications until the desired color is reached. When you're done, neutralize the acid using water to rinse. Check this link for more about wood bleach and stains.

Wood Siding

Scrub with a mixture of 1 gallon warm water and 1/8 cup laundry detergent. Wet the siding with a hose and scrub with a soft bristled broom. A broom with synthetic bristles will usually be soft enough for this job. Dip the broom in the cleaning solutions and scrub the siding. Rinse with the hose before the cleanser can dry. To kill mildew add 2 cups of bleach to the cleanser.

Wool

To spot clean wool dip a rag in dry-cleaning solvent or a solution of warm water and vinegar. Dab the spot until the stain disappears. To wash wool follow these steps: Before washing lay wool garments out on a board and mark the outline with a pencil. Fill a large sink with warm to hot water. Add a squirt of liquid dish detergent and stir gently but avoid foaming. Lay the fabric gently into the sink. Don't agitate at all. Leave the fabric in the water for half an hour or more.

Remove the item from the sink and place in a large bowl without stretching, wringing or twisting. Drain the sink and fill again with warm to hot water. Lay the fabric in the water and let it soak for 5 minutes, remove the item and repeat until no more soap rinses out. Remove the garment from the water and place in a large colander without stretching. Set the colander in the sink to drain for about 10 minutes.

To dry lay a large bath towel on a flat surface and lay the item on top without stretching. Lay a second towel over the wet wool and blot to absorb excess water. Use more towels if needed to dry the garment so it is not weighed down by water. Place it on the outlined board and adjust to lay within the lines to dry.

Rules for Cleaning Stains

  1. The best way to clean a stain is to prevent it in the first place. It's important to act quickly before a stain can set. This is true for fabrics in particular, but other surfaces, while not as sensitive should be treated as soon as possible to help ensure successful stain removal.
  2. Absorb any excess liquid from spills immediately, use a wet/dry shopvac to draw most of the liquid from upholstery, rugs and other textiles. Otherwise, blot up liquid using paper towels or cotton rags. If you're quick enough you can also absorb many liquids on carpets by pouring salt over the spill. Use a vacuum to remove the absorbed liquid and salt.
  3. Clean fabrics using a folded bath towel as a mat and lay the stained area over it. Apply cleansers and blot at the stain with a smaller towel or washcloth. Move to a clean spot on both as they become saturated to avoid spreading the stain farther.
  4. Before using any stain remover, test a hidden spot such as a seam to be sure the solution will not damage or further stain the material. Apply a drop or two of stain remover and rub with a white cloth. If color transfers to the cloth or if the color changes at all, don't use the stain remover. When testing bleach allow it to stand on the surface for five minutes and look for color change to determine if it is safe to use.
  5. Use only enough stain remover to do the job. Avoid over saturating fabrics.
  6. On washable surfaces try liquid laundry or dish detergents first, before moving to a stronger cleaner if necessary.
  7. If after laundering, the stain still remains, repeat the stain removal procedure again and re-launder before drying in a clothes dryer.
  8. Don't mix bleach and ammonia. When using both on the same stain rinse the first well before applying the second.
  9. Don't allow stain removers to sit on surfaces once the stain has been removed. Rinse thoroughly with water and wash as usual. Don't allow non-washable fabrics to remain wet for more than a couple of minutes to avoid water damage.
  10. Don't use stain removers on silk. Blot up as much of the stain as possible and take the garment to a dry cleaner.
  11. Don't use bleach or ammonia on wool.
  12. Don't use bleach on silk or spandex.
  13. Don't use bar or flake soap to clean stains.