Stain removers


Judy Hall from Punch with Judy would like to share with you some of her favourite products for removing unwanted marks.


At some time or other, you will have a mishap resulting in a stain. Don’t despair, there are solutions!
If you listened to Grandma, most of her products were all natural and readily available from her pantry. If you like the idea of using common, everyday products like bi-carbonate of soda, methylated spirits, eucalyptus oil etc, then may I suggest the Spotless books by Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming? If you are like me, wishing to use natural products that will not harm the fabric, may I share with you some favourites of mine?

Ascertain what the stain is and treat it accordingly. Stains are best removed when they are fresh and certainly before washing. Even laundry washing powder in a normal wash cycle can ‘set’ a stain. Just this week, John got grease on his jeans from the tow-bar of the car. I was not impressed as this also happened earlier this month. On that occasion I had forgotten the grease mark and washed his jeans through the normal wash cycle. When hanging out to dry, I noticed the grease mark still there, so I went back to the laundry and had to use my favourite product Kiss-Off several times to remove the mark, but it never completely came out. However, when John did it again, realizing dear wife was not happy, he proceeded to the laundry and wet the stained area with cold water, then used Kiss-Off to remove the mark instantly and without a trace. He proudly marched into the kitchen beaming from ear to ear. True story! I have re-enacted the scene to take some pictures to share with you. Seeing is believing!

Of course, best results are achieved on fresh stains, though Kiss-Off has been known to remove old, stubborn stains too. So before you throw the item away, try Kiss-Off.


Jeans before Kiss-Off
Jeans after Kiss-Off

Kiss-Off is a non-toxic, easy to use stain remover stick. The stick form is a hard cake compound needing only water to get it working on the stain. Just apply water, Kiss-Off then rinse. The manufacturers claim it will remove a whole host of stains, though quilters and sewers will appreciate it for blood, lipstick, rust and pencil marks. Apply lightly though, as I have found that it can draw out a little of the fabric colour.



Some solutions remove colour so a test in an inconspicuous area may save some heartache.

Another favourite of mine is Sew Clean. Reports from customers claim how brilliant it is for a variety of uses from cleaning their rotary cutting mat to removing ballpoint ink and crayons. I found it wonderful for the calcium marks on the shower glass door.

Years ago I spilt some cartridge ink toner on the carpet in my office and I’ve tried numerous times with carpet cleaner to remove the nasty dark stain, only succeeding in spreading it. I thought I would try Sew Clean on my carpet stain. Below is a before and after photo which is a massive improvement, but I think I’ll try it again when it dries completely.


Carpet before Sew Clean
Carpet after Sew Clean


Sew Clean has its own spray attachment and is an all-natural fabric spot and stain remover using citrus extract to remove stains – the natural way. The bottle claims it is great for quilts and wallhangings because it has no harsh alkalies. I did use it on a garment that had food marks on and it removed all trace of the stain.

Handcrafters mark their fabric with a variety of pencils and often find them hard to remove. I know that Sew Clean and another product called, wait for it, Marking Pencil Removal Solution will spritz away all pencil marks.

To use any of these simply spritz the area, place a clean soft cloth underneath to absorb the unwanted marks and then use a dampened cloth to gently blot out the marks. Some persistent marks may require a second application.

While many chemical marking pens don’t always wash out or iron away, either of the above products will persuade them to disappear. I only like using Elize Washaway Blue Marker or the Water Erasable Fine Tip Blue Pen as I find both of these will still come out if I accidentally iron over them. Many chemical markers give a warning that marks may become permanent if you apply heat. There are chemical erasers for the blue (water soluble) and the pink or purple (air erasable) markers. Simply re-draw over the marks with the eraser and the marks disappear.

If your quilt is soiled and needs washing, I recommend using Orvus Quilt Soap. I’ve also heard that horse shampoo is a very similar product, though I’ve not used it. Wash the quilt gently in the bath and be very careful lifting it out. Make sure you gently squeeze most of the rinsed water out of it as it can be very heavy and you want to give your quilt as much support as possible. Dry in the shade, not in the full sunlight, laying it out on an old sheet is a good idea too rather than hanging it on the clothes line as this may cause distortion.


Do you have a success story to share? It may help other readers with advice as I’m sure many have a stain or two they wish to remove. Just place your ideas into the comments field below.

See you at the next Nifty Notions demonstration at the Into Craft stand.

Products are available from good haberdashery retail outlets or from Punch with Judy, a regular exhibitor at the Craft & Quilt Fairs and Stitches & Craft Shows. Or visit



Print Friendly



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *