Bargain hunters explain cheap tips for removing tough stains like chocolate & curry

Whether it’s a glass of wine, a chocolate bar or a ketchup spill, getting stains on clothes, walls and furniture can be frustrating and stressful.

Especially if they’re pale in colour or expensive!

But, we’ve all been there before and luckily it’s not the end of the world if you’ve marked your upholstery or carpets.

There are a number of ways to get rid of them that don’t have to break the bank.

Members of money-saving community recently shared their top tips on getting stains out while on a budget.

1. Use Elbow Grease for curry or chocolate

A favourite among bargain hunters is Elbow Grease spray, which costs just £1 in most shops. Lynne Fripp recommends the spray in conjunction with a hot wash: “It works every time.

“My daughter got chocolate from a Magnum over her top, I’d washed it on 30 as normal and it didn’t come out, so I put Elbow Grease spray on it, scrubbed it in and did a 60 degree wash – it’s like new again.’”

Some stains are known to be tough to remove

Similarly, Tracey Glasscoe said: “Elbow Grease sprayed on stains with a 40 degree wash hasn’t let me down yet. Grease, ketchup, all done, even on the cheapest of clothes.”

Jaimie Ash also loves the product. “I had a tub of blackberries from when we went blackberry picking spill out under the pushchair, all over my little girl’s pale pink favourite jumper.

“Fairy and Elbow Grease worked a treat!”

2. Use The Pink Stuff for grease and felt tip pens

For difficult stains on walls and carpets, many have found success with the Pink Stuff. Sarah Cadwallender said: “I use the Pink Stuff spray, £1 from Home Bargains.

“I accidentally found out when my son dropped raspberries on the carpet and stood on a couple. The spray lifted every single bit of stain. Amazing.”

Elsewhere, Maxine Chidlow said: “I had a grease stain so bad on a top I couldn’t get it out with anything, even after lots of washes – I got some Pink Stuff out of the tub, rubbed it in the stain, straight in the washing machine, stain gone!”

Karen Horne has found success for another stain: “Dunno about stains on clothes, but Pink Stuff has removed felt tip pen off my walls and dye (from tie-dying) off my hands…no idea how I managed without it!”

The Pink Stuff has a range of products suitable for different surfaces
The Pink Stuff has a range of products suitable for different surfaces

3. Use white vinegar or bicarbonate of soda to remove underarm stains

Emma Bissett asked members for help: “I’m looking for something to get suncream stains and underarm stains out. It’s a nightmare, my daughter’s new tops are all ruined with it.”

Holly Taylor suggested: “White vinegar on underarm stains, let it soak for 10-15 minutes.”

Meanwhile, Kelly Williams had another solution: “I get some bicarbonate of soda and some water, turn it into a paste and rub it on with a toothbrush. I leave it for a bit then chuck it in the washing machine.

4. Make the most of supermarket brand stain removers

It may be tempting to buy the more expensive brands if you’re dealing with a bad stain, but plenty of bargain hunters have had success with supermarket brands.

Charlotte-Louise Hart said: “I use Sainsbury’s own spray stain remover, pink bottle. My son got a blackcurrant fruit pouch all down his white sleepsuit and it came out new.”

Kylie Garrad recommended Morrisons own stain remover, saying: “It’s fantastic, it’s my go-to every time. I accidentally cleaned the bath with it once – that worked a treat too!”

Similarly, Lynda Lawson said she used the same product to remove blue bubble gum lolly drips.

You don't have to spend a fortune on cleaning products
You don’t have to spend a fortune on cleaning products

5. Use a magic sponge for crayon and paint stains

Magic sponges, also known as magic erasers, are rapidly gaining popularity – and they’re available for as little as £1 at discount stores.

Sarah said she uses a magic sponge for trainers, walls and kitchen cupboards.

Similarly, Simon Newman commented: “I use a melamine sponge – or magic sponge as it’s commonly known – as this will even take off crayon. I removed some paint from another car off mine (they opened their door onto mine).”

Tom Church, Co-Founder of, said: “Magic erasers are a cheap method for removing some of the most stubborn stains on walls and floors.

“Just make sure they don’t remove the paint by testing them in a small area first.”

Washing up liquid is handy for removing clothing stains
Washing up liquid is handy for removing clothing stains

6. Use washing up liquid to remove tough stains

Andrew Pyne explained how he used this method to remove ketchup from a white T-shirt recently.

He said: “I scraped off what I could, then I rinsed it with cold water. Afterwards, I got washing up liquid and rubbed it on the stain with clean fingers.

“Next, I rinsed again from inside the shirt with cold water and checked the stain. I repeated the washing up liquid step, and rinsed one more time.

“I then rubbed the stain – which was almost gone – with a Vanish stick and washed it in the machine on the hottest temperature the label would allow. Job done.”

Lori Westgarth was in agreement: “Washing up liquid works better than any stain remover.”

And Ceri Beament added: “I only learned it last year, but it’s saved several tops!”

7. Soak clothing before washing it

Kim de Ronde shared her trick: “I pre-treat clothes with the Astonish Fabric Stain Remover. I spray it on and work in the product, then add it to the washing machine.

“Works all the time for me.”

Anuca Apetri had a similar method: “Soak in Napisan pre-wash, add Napisan on the wash, wash at a low temperature and dry in the sun as it is a natural cleaner.”

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