get a bit messy at times: Barty Phillips takes a look
at how to remove stains using edible cleaners...
When the Christmas
and New Year hordes have visited, eaten, drunk, revelled
and departed for home, it is unlikely you have got through
the season without somebody spilling something or being
sick and January is time to clean up and do a spot of
solvents and stain removers can be invaluable, it is
comforting to remember that one of the best cleaners
available is cold water. In fact you can do a lot of
cleaning with edible substances found in the kitchen.
Blood and gravy will often come out when fresh if simply
held under the cold tap. (Hot or warm water may set
the stain for good though). Lemon juice and vinegar
are mild acids and come in useful for lime scale and
dirty windows; bicarbonate of soda is an alkali and
will get tea stains off the insides of mugs; flour will
absorb greasy stains on non-washable clothes (good for
hats). Then there's salt, invaluable for absorbing wine
and other liquids spilled on the carpet. In general,
edible cleaners are cheaper than chemicals and they
are certainly pleasanter to use.
agent you use and whatever has been spilled, there are
some rules for stain removal. · Act at once. Immediate
treatment may get rid of a stain completely whereas
once it has dried it's probably there for good.
· Absorb liquids spilled on the carpet by pouring a
mound of salt over them and leaving them for several
hours. Alternatively you can use tissues, treading,
(but not rubbing) them into the spill (not edible but
· Hold the fabric stain-down if possible, so the stain
goes out the way it came in.
· Use clean white tissue or cotton wool to absorb stain
and stain remover.
Here are some common
festive stains and edible ways of dealing with them.
If there are residual stains you can resort to proprietary
cleaning solvents. · Beer: dab with vinegar and rinse.
Wash as usual in as high a temperature as the fabric
allows. Dry white fabrics in the sun to bleach. On carpets,
absorb with salt or tissues then use carpet shampoo.
· Candle wax: rub ice cubes over the wax until it is
hard and then prise it off in bits. Sandwich the residue
between clean brown paper or tissues and iron with a
· Chocolate and cocoa: scrape off any residue, flush
with cold water, wash in liquid detergent.
· Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, fruit juices: flush with cold
water. Wash as usual.
· Coffee and tea: flush with cold water. Soak in hand-hot
liquid detergent solution. Rinse thoroughly. On the
carpet, absorb with salt or tissues and then use carpet
shampoo. Tea-stained mugs: rub with a cloth dipped in
bicarbonate of soda.
· Gravy: wipe off excess, spray or soak in cold water.
Treat residual stains with dry-cleaning solvent.
· Wine: flush with cold water, rinse; dab with vinegar,
rinse thoroughly and wash as usual. On the carpet, absorb
with salt or tissues and then use a carpet shampoo.
reprinted with premission from Greenfingers.com