Be a Stain-Fighting Queen

Conquer stains throughout your home faster than a pro and learn how to master the trickiest of stains.

Cleaning Problem: Gross grout

Super Solution: "Magic"-type sponge

These sponges are self-contained and drip-free, plus they easily dig into those grimy little lines. Their light abrasive action also happens to work really, really well. For this job, cutting one sponge into three or four skinny strips helps get most out of them.

Cleaning Problem: Red wine

Super Solution: White wine

Someone spilled red wine on your couch or carpet? Turn potential embarrassment into a party trick. "Pour white wine through the stain, and watch it fade," says Amanda Thomas, Moxie Girl Household Assistants founder and Domestic CEO podcast host. Then rinse with cold water. "The stain will almost always disappear."

Cleaning Problem: Stainless-steel sink water spots

Super Solution: Olive oil and microfiber

Dab a few drops of olive oil on a microfiber cloth. Use it to buff your stainless-steel sink and fixtures, watching water spots and streaks disappear. Try it on appliances, too.

Video: Cleaning Stainless Steel

Cleaning Problem: Stubborn household stains

Super Solution: Hydrogen peroxide

Try breaking out this nontoxic bacteria-slayer whenever you'd normally use chlorine bleach, such as on grimy tile or tough carpet stains, says Matthew Ricketts, president of Better Life Maids. (As with bleach, always test on an inconspicuous spot first.)

Cleaning Problem: Countertop coffee rings

Super Solution: Water and baking soda paste

Remove countertop coffee rings by applying a paste made of baking soda and water, letting it sit a bit, then scrubbing. It works on stained cups, too!

Cleaning Problem: Dirty fingerprints

Super Solution: Baby wipes

To remove the wee smudges that tend to accumulate on doors and walls, particularly in the entryway, try a baby wipe. They're gentle enough to use on skin and made to remove the gunk that accumulates there.

Cleaning Problem: Ring around the toilet bowl

Super Solution: Borax and lemon juice

Thomas recommends a paste of Borax and lemon juice, left on for two hours, then scrubbed. Follow with a wet pumice stone (ones designed for toilets are available at home improvement stores), if necessary.

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