How to get rid of stains and smells

wine stain

Wondering how to get poo out of a sisal carpet? How about mud from a rugby kit? Perhaps you're at your wit's end figuring out how to get rid of the smell of teenage feet without having to move house?

Happily, Mumsnetters have tackled all these issues and more on our Housekeeping boards. And we've distilled their wisdom on some recurring subjects for you here.


How to get rid of difficult stains

  • Resistant stains

"Hang them out in the sun. The sun bleaches/fades the stains."

"I find steeping stained garments in washing soda crystal solution works better that a stain remover."

  • Blood

"If they are white sheets then hydrogen peroxide. You can buy it in in most chemists including Boots."

"Soak in cold water and salt overnight. Normal wash in biological washing powder. Hydrogen peroxide if necessary."

  • Mud out of rugby/football/hockey kit - delete as appropriate

"I rinse out my DS's kit several times by hand to get rid of the worst. I can't bear the thought of all that mud clogging up my washing machine. Once in the machine, I wash on 40 with Persil Non Bio and a scoop of Vanish Stain Remover."

"Rinse the worst of the mud off, then soak in a bucket of HOTTEST tap water with Ariel Bio, for a couple of hours. Hand scrub. Then put in with rest of normal wash at 60."

  • Dark stains in toilet

"Is the water peaty? Viakal is great for shifting peat stains in toilet."

"Apparently if you leave cheap coke in the toilet overnight it's supposed to get rid of it."

"I can recommend Ecover Toilet Cleaner left overnight for a few days, didn't even need scrubbing."

  • Sick on a car seat

"Carpet shampooer with upholstry attachment. It is important to suck the detritus away, not just wet it."

"If it's a fabric seat, I would say a steam cleaner would be the best option. If they're leather, I use saddle soap."

  • Poo on seagrass/sisal/coir flooring

"I used a bit of a gentle baby wash on cotton buds to lift it from the grain, it's ridged, and then used a disposable mascara wand to try to clean thoroughly."

"If there's any smell or remaining ickiness, you can safely use a white vinegar solution (I've made it with up to 80% vinegar). Just make sure to dry really well with hairdryer afterwards, as seagrass can get mouldy if left wet!"

  • Red wine

On carpet: "We once spilt a full bottle of wine across our carpet and got it out with Johnson's baby powder. It acts as a poultice and draws the colour out. Throw the talc on and then put a damp tea towel over it. Scrap off the talc when it goes red, and then put more on with the wet tea towel. Then leave it to dry and hoover off."

On material: "I chucked it in with baby stuff and napisan at 90, and it disappeared."


Removing lingering smells

Is your household issue more olfactory than aesthetic in nature?

If manically spritzing Febreeze on everything isn't exactly working out, then try these individual approaches to lingering smells, as suggested by Mumsnetters.  

  • Urine

"Bicarbonate of soda should get rid of the smell. Make up a paste, but quite wet, apply and allow to dry, then clean off."

  • Sweat

"Vinegar is your friend. Sprinkle it on before washing, leave for a few minutes then wash as normal."

  • Vomit

"Dettol is the stuff for all bodily fluids."

"Bicarbonate of soda. Damp the carpet, sprinkle it on liberally, put a towel over it to stop it being trodden round the house, leave it to dry and then hoover it out. Works a dream."

  • Teenage feet

"Surgical spirit. You can buy a bottle very cheaply from a pharmacy, pour into a shallow tray and dip clean, dry feet into it. Then allow it to dry on the skin. Or you can dab on with cotton wool. It really works. Twice a day for a week or so."

"The hibiscrub solution is the best one. Daily washes with it and wash his socks in it too. It's the bacteria that causes the pong so killing this off is the best way to end the stink. Do not soak the feet for more than 10 minutes and in warm not hot water."

"Bamboo socks will be a great help too. And spray the insides of his shoes/trainers/slippers with cider vinegar."

  • Washing machine

Check our dedicated guide on how to deal with a smelly washing machine here


Last updated: 41 minutes ago