(Family Features) - Face it - stains will happen. Carpets, upholstery and clothing all end up with spots and splotches due to careless hand gestures, busy toddlers or the occasional mysterious accident. Most stains can be taken care of with a minimum of fuss. So here's a handy guide to getting rid of some common household stains:
Coffee and Tea - If the coffee or tea was plain or had sweetener in it, run cold water through the stain immediately, if possible. If the stain is already dry, soak it in cool water for 30 minutes. Rub the stain with detergent, then wash with fabric-safe bleach. If the coffee or tea had cream, rub the stain with detergent and then launder in the hottest water safe for that fabric. To remove from carpets, blot the stain, then sponge it with a mixture of dishwashing liquid and lukewarm water or two-thirds cup lukewarm water and one-third cup white vinegar.
Catsup or Tomato Sauce - Rinse with cold water, then soak in cool water (one-quarter cup of detergent per gallon of water). Spray stain with a pre-wash product, then launder.
Make-up - Dampen the stain, then rub with bar soap or treat with a pre-wash stain remover, liquid detergent or mixture of detergent and water. Work it into the stain until the outline of the stain is gone. Rinse. If a greasy stain remains, soak it in an enzyme product, then rinse and launder.
Ink - To remove ink from washable fibers, loosen the stain with a little hairspray. Soak it in a mix of one quart warm water, one-half teaspoon dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon white vinegar for 30 minutes. Rinse and allow to dry.
Grease - Light stains of mayo, butter, salad dressing and grease should be pretreated with a stain remover, liquid laundry detergent or detergent booster, then laundered in the hottest water safe for the fabric.
Wine - Rinse immediately with cold water, or soak in cold water for 30 minutes. While still wet, apply some dishwashing liquid. Wash in the hottest water safe for the fabric.
Blood - Soak for 30 minutes or more in cold water. Then rub detergent into the stain. If the stain doesn't come out, use a small amount of ammonia and detergent, then launder.
Deodorants - Some products can change the color of fabrics. The color can sometimes be restored if sponged with a little ammonia, then rinsed. To remove stains, rub white vinegar into the stain, then rinse.
Pet stains - To get pet stains out of upholstery, blot up any excess. Sponge the stain with a mixture of two cups cool water, one tablespoon dishwasher liquid, and one tablespoon vinegar. Then blot the stain until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until the stain is gone.