We can’t be perfect all the time. Sometimes – and mostly after a few glasses of wine – we mess, drop and spill things onto our most treasured items of clothing, furniture and even carpets.

Now, before you get all neat-freak and OCD on us (or on your poor family members); and before you attempt our Complete Print-and-Keep Stain Removal Guide, take note of the following precautionary measures.

You can thank us later...

1.    Be quick!
Fresh stains generally require less work than older ones, so do yourself a favour and take care of it as soon as possible.

If the soiled item is a delicate fabric that you’d rather NOT clean on your own, then drop it off at a dry cleaners’ shop... pronto! But remember, of course, to identify and describe the stain – it just makes their job simpler.

2.    ALWAYS adhere!
Most clothing items are sold with stitched-in care instructions – use it.

And the same goes for the tiny print, a.k.a directions, at the back of stain removal and detergent products. Removing a mark is pointless if you damage the item and/or fabric.

3.    Clean from the edge...
Treat the stain around its rim or border, and gently work your way to the centre where it’s probably at its most intense.

If you do it the other way around, you’ll risk spreading the stain – which yes, requires MORE effort!

4.    Avoid heat
Unless you know the exact nature of the stain or have a proper idea of how to get rid of it, use ONLY a cold or lukewarm solution. Hot water can set some stains – especially if they’re protein-based like dairy or blood.

5.    Test – first!
If you’re worried that your cleaning endeavours may cause further damage, then take the safe option and assess the product/procedure on a hidden seam before treating the actual stain.

Take note of the effect on the garment’s colour – if it changes, discontinue.

When it comes to stain removal, what other rules do you know of? Share your laundry-savvy with other readers in the box below!