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Scorch marks are different from a true stain in that the actual fibre is damaged. Severe marks on any fabric, or scorch marks on wool and silk can seldom be restored. Brushing with fine emery paper may improve a scorched woollen surface.

Very light scorch marks can often be removed by immediate washing with your usual laundry product, followed by a day in the sun. Alternatively, sponge with 1 Tbsp. borax in 1 c warm water.

Light scorch marks on white materials can be treated with hydrogen peroxide. Dampen a scrap of white cotton cloth with hydrogen peroxide and lay it on the mark. Cover with a clean dry cloth, then press with a medium warm iron. If the peroxide soaks through the top cloth, move to a dry position. Repeat the treatment until the stain is removed. Rinse well in warm water.

Light scorch marks on any fabric (test colours first) may be treated by sponging with diluted hydrogen peroxide to which a few drops of ammonia have been added. Rinse well in warm water. (Instructions for dilution under directions for using bleaches).

Shoe Cleaners

Scrape off any excess with a dull knife. Shoe creams can frequently be removed from washable materials by washing with your usual laundry product.

If this is not successful, treat washable fabrics with glycerine. Pour on to the stain, rub lightly between the hands, leave for half an hour, then wash or rinse in warm water.

On unwashable fabrics or for very stubborn marks, sponge with equal quantities of methylated spirits (wood alcohol) and household ammonia. (Test on coloured fabrics first). Then sponge with warm water.

Silly Putty

Scrape off the excess with a blunt knife, then apply a warm to hot solution made up of 1 part D'limonene, 1 part dishwash liquid, 10 parts water  (read our notes on each product at this link).   Massage into the putty, and use absorbent towelling to absorb the "gunk".   You may need to repeat this.  Finally rinse with warm water and let dry naturally.
Or scrape the excess Silly Putty with a dull knife or metal spoon. Spray with WD-40 (car part lubricant) and let stand a few minutes. Again scrape excess Silly Putty with knife or spoon, and re-spray with WD-40. Wipe stain with cotton balls. If any stain remains, saturate a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol, blot the stain and rinse. Wipe any remaining residue or remaining stain with a damp sponge or cloth moistened with liquid dishwashing detergent.

Soft Drinks

Pre-treat dry fabric with a laundry pre-soak (spot stain remover) prior to washing with a quality laundry product in the usual way. Alternative treatment: sponge with equal quantities of methylated spirits (wood alcohol) and water. Old or obstinate stains may be softened in glycerine before treatment as above.

Soot & Smoke

First treat with absorbent powder, then wash. For unwashable articles sponge with dry cleaning fluid or other grease solvent, followed by airing to remove smell of smoke.

For carpets, mix solvent to a paste with cornflour, talcum or french chalk. Apply thickly - leave to dry, then brush or vacuum off. Repeat if necessary. Use absorbent powder only on rubber backed carpeting. Or use a spray-on dry cleaner.

Soy Sauce

Dry the soya sauce-stained area. Mix together 3 parts dishwash liquid with 1 part of a D'Limonene based product (read our notes on each product at this link). Soak the stained area in this solution for 10-15 minutes. After the soak time, rinse in water as hot as is suitable for the fabric, then wash as usual, but preferrably with a Laundry Liquid. This treatment may require repeating.

Tar & Asphalt

Scrape away as much as possible with a dull knife. Sponge with Jeyes fluid and water (1 part Jeyes to 3 of water) or pre-treat with a laundry pre-soak (spot stain remover) then wash with a quality laundry product, rinse in warm water.

If this is not successful on washable materials, rub Vaseline or lard into the stain. Leave for half an hour, then wash in hot soapy water.

For unwashable materials the stain will be very difficult. Sponge repeatedly with dry cleaning fluid. If the mark still persists, rub with Vaseline, leave for half an hour, then dip in dry cleaning fluid. If possible, finish by sponging with a solution made from a good quality laundry liquid, starting well to the outside of the stain.


Metallic stains from belts, jewellery, etc., sometimes stain clothes. Sponge with vinegar, lemon juice or 10% solution acetic acid (check synthetics first).

For tarnished metallic fabrics, e.g. lame, if practicable, boil in salt water (2 Tbsp. to 600 ml). Not suitable for plastics. Otherwise, sponge with methylated spirits (wood alcohol) or dry cleaning fluid.


For stubborn tobacco stains, first try pouring glycerine over the stain. Rub lightly between the hands, or pre-treat the dry fabric with a laundry pre-soak (spot stain remover), leave for half an hour then wash in the usual way. If this is not successful, use sodium thiosulphate as directed for iodine stains.

Tomato Juice, Relish or Chutney

Sponge thoroughly with cold water first. Pour glycerine over, rub lightly between the hands and leave for half an hour. Or, pre-treat the dry fabric with a laundry pre-soak (spot stain remover), leave for half an hour then wash in the usual way. Rinse in warm water. Remove any remaining stain with a chlorinated laundry bleach or a diaper wash/sanitiser container sodium percarbonate, as directed.


If a stain cannot be identified, treat with cool water first, then sponge with a good quality laundry liquid solution. Rinse well and if stain persists try equal quantities of methylated spirits (wood alcohol) and ammonia, testing first to note effect on colour and fabric. If colour is affected, omit ammonia. As a last resort, try a mild bleach, e.g. A diaper wash/sanitiser container sodium percarbonate.


These stains differ in composition, so that the same method may not be successful in all cases. Normal urine is usually acid. First soak in a solution of a diaper wash/sanitiser container sodium percarbonate or sponge with a solution of 1 Tbsp. household ammonia in c warm water. Rinse well.

If this is not successful, try equal quantities of vinegar and warm water in case the stain is alkaline. Rinse well in warm water. For stubborn stains, sponge with diluted hydrogen peroxide, then wash or sponge - rinse with clear warm water. Old stains may destroy the colour of the cloth and nothing can be done to restore it in this case.


Sponge with warm water containing a little ammonia. If extensive, dampen and sprinkle with pepsin powder, leave half an hour, then rinse off. OR soak washable articles in a diaper wash/sanitiser container sodium percarbonate.

Water Spots

Some silks, rayons and wools are spotted by water. To remove such spots, hold in the steam from a rapidly boiling kettle. It is wise to cover the spout with butter muslin first to prevent any droplets of water reaching the fabric. Allow the fabric to become damp, but not wet. Shake and press while still slightly damp, rubbing, if possible, with a piece of the same or a similar material, or with fingernail or spoon.

Water stains on carpets become brown because of impurities from backing or underfelt. Mop up spills, wipe with cool water, cover with pad of blotting paper, tissues or absorbent cloth. Weight down with books, etc., and dry quickly with the aid of fan heaters, vacuum exhaust, etc. This causes stain to wick through to absorbent material. Repeat if required.

 Wood SAP

Turpentine (enamel paint thinners) 1 part and dishwash liquid 4 parts. Mix together and rub in to the sap stain. Leave for 20 minutes and then wash in water and your usual laundry detergent as hot as the fabric will allow.  You may have to repeat this process.

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HA Campbell