Types of Stains and how to remove them? Types of Stain Removal

Types of Stains and Chemicals Used

Types of Stains & Chemistry to Remove them 

A number of substances that can stain clothes, linen or furnishings and some can be stubborn to remove. A range of stains removing chemicals from clothes can help us to do this job, which depends on these types of stains. Stains will often have more than one characteristic, hence a mix of chemical agents are often used to facilitate their removal.


Enzymatic Stains: 

Enzymatic stains are stains removed using enzymes, which are stain removers. Examples are blood stains, grass stains, chocolate stains, etc. Because stains are made of different types of molecules, a range of enzymes are needed to break them down. Proteases break down proteins. 

These are good for Blood, Egg, Gravy, and other protein stains. Amylases break down starches, and lipases break down fat and grease. Washing powder usually only contains one type of enzyme, though some have two or all three.

Oxidizable Stains:

Oxidizable stains include tea stains, coffee stains and wine stains. greasy stains etc. The most practiced way to remove oxidizable stains is by using oxidizing agents. The most common oxidizing agent is bleach, which is used to remove oxidizable stains. 

Bleach oxidizes the color to become colorless. Hence, it is used as stain remover. Chlorine bleach is the most powerful stain removal agent. Chlorine bleach is mixed with water and then it is used in washing clothes. 

Stains on the Surface and Surfactant Stains:

Stains like oil, grease or dirt are called surfactant stains. These stains are best removed by the use of surfactants. 

Water is a polar substance, that means it mixes with the polar substance only. Oil and grease have characteristics of non-polarity, hence oil and grease cannot be washed in only water.

Surfactants surface active agents. They are derived from fats having polar and non-polar characteristics.  Surfactants are very useful when they are incorporated with the laundry detergents. Being a part of laundry detergent surfactants plays multiple roles in removing the stains out of clothes. 

First they penetrate and wet the fabric, second, they loosen the dirt or soil in the fabric and third, bring the soil particulates together to suspend in the water. This suspension allows the fabric to be cleaned, as the surfactant molecules have surrounded the oil stains which can then easily be washed by water.

Chemicals used by Restaurants and Resorts:

Here we will discuss those agents that are vastly used in hotels, restaurants or resorts by the housekeeping department. Why cleanliness is important in a hotel. 

The shining and dazzling atmosphere of many hotels represents its hygiene and cleanliness, which is very much necessary to draw the attention of potential guests. It is the duty of all hotel staff or house-keeping departments to maintain cleanliness in the hotels. The housekeeping department is mostly responsible for bringing a sparkling and hygienic tone to the hotel.

Why is the cleaning agents used in hotels? 

The regular cleaning process is done in order to remove dust and dirt with the help of cloth brush vacuum cleaner, but sometimes dust or dirt can be stubborn. During that time cleaning agents are the most effective tools of cleaning process. Cleaning agents are very useful in removing stubborn dirt, here we will see some common cleaning agents that are used in the cleaning process.

In every hotel, water soluble agents like detergents, abrasives, and washing soda are commonly used for cleaning purposes, as it is easy to handle and easy to use. Water can remove any dust and gives the final touch in cleaning, but pure water is not enough to remove some stubborn dust or dirt, hence some other cleaning agents also should be used along with it for proper cleaning.

For cleaning purposes water is categorized into two types: soft water and hard water. Soft water is recommended to be used for cleaning purposes, after rinsing dirty water must be replaced with fresh water otherwise it will give a reverse effect by leaving a film of dirt. Always use warm water with soap as warm water is able to liquefy soap or detergent more quickly, before mixing with other cleaning agents. 
Types of Stains & Chemicals Used in Cleaning the Stains!

Water Check:

Try to apply soft water for normal cleaning as hard water has a tendency to remain in the cloth, therefore try to avoid it. In hotels or in housekeeping departments multi-purpose cleaning agents are getting popular which also saves money. Liquid agents can be adulterated with water or even applied directly to dry clothes. Popular cleaning agents include Ammonia Methylate, Spirits, Paraffin, Turpentine, Vinegar, Hydrochloric Acid and Carbon Tetrachloride. We will try to understand their applications in brief.


It is a strong chemical compound of one nitrogen atom and three hydrogen atoms; ammonia can be easily integrated with water. It can reduce the hardness of water and can easily remove lubricants to get proper cleaning. Ammonia should be used in liquid form, along with other chemicals. Ammonia must be kept away from bleach as a combination of these two can produce a very hazardous methylated gas.

Spirits methylated:

Spirits are a resultant of methanol, which is used in manufacturing areas. The Housekeeping department uses this along with other effective substances. methylated spirits, as they are helpful in removing grease stains.


It is a cleaning liquid agent which is widely used in hotels for creating a moisture proof layer on surfaces. Paraffin is a colorless and odorless liquid but can also remove lubricant oils.


It is used as a thinner to make paints. Clean turpentine is the best turpentine and it is colorless but has a strong odor and is very flammable. precautions must be taken before using it, many hotels avoid this cleaning agent due to its strong odor.


Though vinegar is used as a food safeguard in most of the hotels, it also has the capability to clean chores and remove oil. 

Hydrochloric Acid:

HCL is also applied for bathroom cleaning, but it can be very harmful if it is used in concentrated form. 

Carbon Tetrachloride:

It is widely used for removing stains. It is clear, colorless, stable, volatile, sweet smell chlorinated hydrocarbon. It is a manufactured substance and does not occur naturally in the environment. It is widely used as a dry cleaning solvent. It was used in fire extinguishers and served as a precursor to many refrigerants. Inhaling its vapor can damage the central nervous system and cause degeneration of the liver and kidney. Hence the use of this compound is phased out due to its toxic nature. 

Tips for getting the perfect cleaning:

While using detergents it should be carefully seen that it is properly dissolved in water. To get a good result, the right quantity of detergent should be used, which is also good for cleaning. It is observed that detergents are more effective at high temperature of water, therefore using it with low temperature may not work properly until physical agitation power is applied to it. 

Stain Removing Chemicals:

Acetic Acid:

Acetic acid being a weak acid acts like a buffer in washing process. Acetic acid is a diluted form of white vinegar. Acetic acid, though mild, is strong enough to dissolve alkaline residue left by soap and detergents. It is safe to use acetic acid on silk and wool cloth; it can be used for cotton linen if diluted with equal part of water. It brightens, whitens, softens clothes and removes odor without harsh chemicals.


Acetones are often purchased generically at pharmacies and hobby shops. A colorless liquid that smells like peppermint, it is often used on stains caused by substances like fingernail polish or household cement. While it may not damage either natural fibers or most synthetics, it should be pretested to make sure that dyed fabrics won't be harmed. It should not be used on fabrics containing acetate. 

Acetone is popularly used in textile industries for removing grease and removing gum from wool and silk. If inhaled it may cause a sore throat or cough. It is highly flammable, but has low acute and chronic toxicity.  


Common iso-propanol (70%), which may be purchased generically at drugstores, is sufficient for many stain-removal jobs that make decisions about alcohol, although the stronger ethyl alcohol (90%) also can be used. make certain you do not buy alcohol with an added color or fragrance. If you want to use it on fibers within the acetate family, dilute the alcohol with two parts water. Caution: Alcohol is poisonous and flammable. Observe all label precautions.


Ammonia can remove various types of stains with minimal effort. Never mix ammonia with bleach or chlorine contained substance. The combination produces toxic fumes which are dangerous. 

Ammonia is a very good deodorizer and a very good de-greaser.  Take an empty spray bottle mix ammonia, laundry detergent and water. You can use this spay on stains of ink stains, grass stains, food stains etc. Wait at least 30 minutes before you wash them off. 

Ammonia can loosen the minerals that cling to your towel by dissolving the deposits and making it soft. For this you need to add ammonia with your regular detergent along with water in the rinse, which will soften your towel. 

Ammonia damages silk and wool; if you want to use it on these fibers, dilute it with an equal amount of water and use it as sparingly as possible. Caution: Ammonia is poisonous. Avoid inhaling its fumes. It can cause burns or irritation if it comes into contact with the skin or eyes. Observe all label precautions. Never mix ammonia with chlorine bleach, as this may release chloramine, a highly toxic substance.

Amyl Acetate:

It is sometimes available at drugstores or could be ordered from them. Amyl Acetate has an aroma similar to banana and it is often referred to as "Banana Oil". It is safe to use on fibers that could be damaged by acetone, but it should not be allowed to return in touch with plastics or furniture finishes.

Caution: Amyl acetate is poisonous and flammable. Avoid contact with the skin by inhaling vapor.

Coconut Oil:

Coconut oil is sold in drug and health food stores. It is utilized in the preparation of a dry spotter, which is employed to get rid of many sorts of stains. Coconut oil with its unique texture and chemical properties can be used as a perfect adhesive remover.


Glycerine is sold generically in pharmacies. It is utilized in the preparation of the wet spotter, which is employed to get rid of many sorts of stains. Glycerine is used to soften hardened and set stains, so that even old stains can be removed easily by use of glycerine.

Oxylic Acid:

It is effective in treating ink and rust stains. Oxylic acid is also called ethanedioic acid. Etanediodic crystals can also be found in pharmacies or specially-ordered from them. Before using the crystals, you must dissolve them in water (1 tablespoon crystals to 1 cup warm water). You may even be ready to purchase liquid ethanedioic acid at hardware stores. 

Oxalic acid, when it is in a solid state, is colorless and odorless, but after purification takes the form of white crystalline substance. It is used to remove iron rust stains or yellowing of laundry caused due to iron deposits in water supply.  Caution: Oxalic acid is poisonous. Wear rubber gloves and avoid contact with the skin and eyes, and also avoid being in contact with delicate clothes.

Sodium Thiosulfate:

Sometimes available in crystal form at drugstores and photo supply houses. Hypos are additionally referred to as photographic "hypos" or fixers. Although considered safe for all fibers and harmless to dyes, it should be tested on an inconspicuous area of fabric before use. Handle carefully, as hypo can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, lungs and alimentary canals.


Vinegar has an anti-bacterial property. Vinegar being acidic should not be poured directly onto the clothes. It is first diluted in water and added to the washing machine. It will leave your clothes odour-less and it is environmentally friendly. Harsh chemicals are harmful to the environment, but vinegar is earth friendly. Water from washing machine can be added to the garden and it won't harm the plants and the environment.

For people with sensitive skin, some detergents may irritate their skin and cause an allergic rash. In this case Vinegar can be a good substitute. Remove soap build-up from clothes. Soak your clothes in a mix of one cup of vinegar in a bucket of water, before washing them in a washing machine

Shampoo and Stain Removers for Carpets:

Foam carpet shampoo products are available from a variety of manufacturers. Rubbing stains on your carpets will spread the stains instead of removing them.

Tea and coffee stains on carpets can be best removed by slightly pouring a bear on the stains, rubbing it slightly so the stain should disappear. Repeat the process for some more time if required. Diluting one cup of ammonia in a bucket of water and sponging out the stains on the carpets can work out in a better way. Repeat the process if required.

Light carpet stains can be rubbed with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of salt dissolved in 2 cups of white vinegar. Let it dry and clean by using a vacuum cleaner. For larger stains, add one tablespoon of borax to the above mixture and clean it in the same way. 

For fruit and fruit juice stains, take 1 tablespoon of detergent, add 1 1/2 table spoon of white vinegar mixed in 2 cups of water, tap the stain with this mixture and blot.