ADHESIVES: Use nail varnish remover or acetone.
BALL-POINT PENS AND FELT TIPS: Sponge with a little methylated spirits before washing.
BEER: Sponge with white vinegar and warm water: Then rinse and wash in a biological powder/
BEETROOT: Soak, then wash normally at the maximum temperature indicated on the label. Most vegetable dye stains need an oxidising agent to de-colour them because they cannot be washed easily out of a cotton yarn. This applies to beer, beetroot, fruit juice, grass, jam and wine.
BLOOD: Soak in cold salty water. Keep changing the water until it is clear. Wash in the usual way using a biological detergent. Brown stains remaining after the treatment of blood marks should be treated for rust staining.
CANDLE WAX: Peel off any surface wax. Then sandwich the affected area with blotting paper, and iron over the paper so there are always clean sections of blotting paper to absorb the wax. Dab with a grease solvent to remove the final trace. Wash according to the fabric care label.
CHEWING GUM: Harden the gum by putting the garment in the fridge in a plastic bag. It can then be cracked a picked off. Then use a grease solvent for the final traces before washing normally.
CHOCOLATE: Soak or wash as soon as possible to make sure the stain is completely removed. Difficult stains can be dabbed with 20 volume hydrogen peroxide, diluted 1 part to 9 with warm water. Wash normally.
COFFEE: Soak or wash as soon as possible to make sure the stain is completely removed. Difficult stains can be dabbed with 20 volume hydrogen peroxide, diluted 1 part to 9 with warm water. Wash normally.
CRAYON: Sponge stains with methylated spirits. Then wash normally.
EMULSION PAINT: Wash immediately with cold water while the paint is still wet. Once it is dry, a plastic film will envelop which cannot be removed.
FRUIT STAINS: Rinse at once in cold water. Dried on fruit stains can be loosened before washing with a solution of equal parts of glycerine and warm water.
GLOSS PAINT: Sponge with white spirit and then wash immediately with detergent. However, fresh stains can be sponged out with a warm detergent solution.
GRASS: Rub with methylated spirits, rinse with warm soapy water, and if still necessary treat with glycerine. Then wash normally.
GREASE: Heavy stains should be treated with washing-up liquid or a grease solvent followed by a wash at the maximum temperature recommended for the fabric.
JAM: Fresh stains usually wash out. Soak old stains in borax solution or detergent solution, and then wash normally.
MAKE-UP: Wipe stains immediately. Then soak for 5 minutes in a weak ammonia solution (5ml to 500ml water). Rinse well and wash normally.
MASCARA: Soak in a strong solution of detergent and then wash.
MILK OR CREAM: Soak in a strong borax solution and then wash. If the stain is on a wool garment, do not soak but sponge with borax. Wash as normal.
NAIL VARNISH: Apply a little non-oily nail varnish remover from the back of the fabric. Do not use on acetate or triacetate. Wash as normal.
PERSPIRATION: Wash stain with a weak solution of ammonia, then rinse. If colour is affected sponge with vinegar and rinse.
RUST/IRON/MOULD: Rub lemon and salt into the mark. Leave for one hour and then wash.
SCORCH MARKS: Rub light marks immediately under cold running water, and soak in a warm borax solution. Rinse well and wash. However, if the fibres are damaged there is no remedy.
SHOE POLISH: Rub with bar of soap or a grease-removing solvent. The wash immediately. The coloured particles in shoe polish should lift out of the fabric.
TAR: Scrape off as much as possible. Soften tar with a littler glycerine. Work in washing-up liquid. Rinse with warm water and wash immediately.
URINE: Cold rinse and then wash with detergent. Urine staining is generally caused by a variety of proteins and iron oxide. It may respond to an oxidising agent such as hydrogen peroxide but it is usually better to raise the PH, using ammonia for example, and then to treat any residual marks as iron.
VOMIT: Remove surface deposit and rinse well under running cold water. Soak in a detergent solution before washing normally.
WINE: Mop up any excess and then cover the stain with a warm detergent solution, then rinse with cold water and wash.
Colin Farquharson, St Ermin’s Hotel
Suzy Brandwood, The Elms School
Wendy Clayton, Chepstow Nursing & Care Home
Fr Oliver, Douai Abbey
James Suter, The Gliffae Country House Hotel
Shaid Aziz, Bright Wash Launderette
Marilyn Collins, Oaklands Care Home