Where there is a will there is a way

Friday, November 25, 2011

Top 3 stains: red wine, coffee, permanent marker, from popular book Spotless by Shannon Lush.

From the popular ABC radio (Australian) segment, Spotless: Room-by-room solutions to domestic disasters by Shannon Lush (and Jennifer Fleming). My book was found for $20 NZ at a Binn Inn (wholesale foods store).

I wanted to see this book ever since I heard it mentioned. The tools for cleaning any stain or mishap, according to where it happened (or what it happened on) are often natural products such as baking soda (bicarb), vinegar, glycerine and so on. Anyways, it's stain removal with expert knowledge.

From their intro: "There are a couple of tricks with stain removal. Firstly, don't panic and put something on the stain that could make it worse. Work out what's in the stain. Then work out what the solvent is. If there are several components to the stain, you must remove the protein part first, then fats, then any chemical or biological dyes, and then any resins or glues. The way to work this out is to remember that proteins are anything animal or seed based, fats are greasy between your fingers, and resins and glues are not water soluble. If you're not sure, clean with cold water first, then use hot water, then any solvents..."

Here are my top 3!

1 new red wine on carpet

"Cover the stain with a good amount of bicarb [baking soda] and let dry for a few seconds. Then vaccuum and re-apply a smaller amount of bicarb, add a little vinegar and scrub with a nylon brush. Leave to dry, then vacuum."

2 coffee or tea on fabric

"For fresh stains, use glycerine applied with a cotton ball, then wash in washing powder."

3 permanent pen on fabric

"You'll need to do this very carefully and quickly. Apply some dry cleaning fluid to a cotton bud and write over the permanent pen while also quickly wiping the dry-cleaning fluid off with a cotton ball, replacing it often. You could also spray Aerogard [aerosol insect repellant] or hairspray, and wipe off with a cloth. Be careful with fabric and test a patch first."

There was also a rotting milk method for ink stains on fabric - apparently placing the milk solids on an ink stain can bring the ink up, then you can wash it away.

P.S. After getting re-inspired about baking soda from flipping through this book, I tried a baking soda paste (and a cloth) to clean a friend's ceramic stove-top. It worked a charm.

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PSS (Dec 8) - Just now we spilled a few drops of red wine on the carpet. We used the advice from Spotless: dropped some baking soda onto the red spots first. Some of the white powder instantly turned browny black, and then we vaccuumed it away. We added a bit more baking soda, and some vinegar onto it, which bubbled. Savannah used a regular dish washing brush to scrub the soda in further, I pinched more on - and when it dries we will vacuum again. Beats scrubbing with energy for 10 minutes - and I already can see no red.
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More background on the book from the ABC store:

Shannon Lush is the ‘sensei’ of stain removal.

Her admiring radio audience around the country have complete confidence in her encyclopedic knowledge of the repair of stains, scratches and other disfigurements as the final word on surviving messy household emergencies.

This book came about through James Valentine and his radio program on 702 ABC Sydney. He asked listeners to ring in if they were having problems fixing a spill or stain around the house and then invited other listeners to give their solutions. One day Shannon rang in and answered every question. She became a regular guest and is now heard on similar ABC Radio programs around the country. ‘Spotless’ is published in response to clamorous listener demand.
If you have ever washed a jumper in the machine and horribly shrunk it, burnt a pan to obliteration or had your pet mess the white wool carpet, you will be pleased to know that there are solutions to these and many other problems. Each chapter in Spotless addresses a particular room in the house or outside area so it is simple to use and incredibly useful.

The section listing inexpensive and easily obtainable ingredients to keep on hand is unique and indispensable. Especially now that Shannon clearly explains exactly how to use them.

Whatever the problem: a filthy oven, a tea stain on the mattress, ink on the lino or just some useful hints on cleaning problem areas such as doors or window sills, Shannon has no-nonsense advice that will work.


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