Cooking a tasty meal is very satisfying, but it’s often the resulting mess and food stains that take ages to clean that put a lot of us off.

With today’s busy lifestyle we don’t always have time to spare for cleaning, but for a stress-free cleanup of stains around the home and on your clothes, try these quick and easy tips.

Some items to have handy

• White vinegar • Baking soda • Cornstarch • Salt • Club soda • Dish detergent • Laundry detergent • Hydrogen peroxide • Acetone based nail polish remover • Stain removal gel • Prewash stain remover

1. Red Wine

Red wine stains are tough to remove. For shirts and other linens, soak up the excess wine by dabbing gently with a clean cloth. Next, put the stained fabric over a bowl, making sure the stained area is pulled tight across the bowl. Cover the stain with salt, and slowly pour boiling water over the whole stain. Immediately the fabric is cool enough to handle, wash it on the hottest setting your washing machine has.

2. Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce often ends up everywhere but where it’s supposed to go! Tomato stains are some of the hardest ones to get rid of, especially on pale fabrics. Scrape away any solid remains of the sauce and blot the wet sauce with a cloth. Soak the stain in cold water for five minutes and then scrub with a spare toothbrush and laundry detergent. Wash the garment in hot water, then air dry.

If tomato sauce gets on your carpet (heaven forbid!) combine dish detergent with water. Using a towel, start at the outer edges of the stain and then soak with the solution, moving towards the middle. Dab the remains with water and then blot dry.

3. Pizza Grease

As soon as you can after the stain occurs, use a generous amount of baking soda or cornstarch to cover the stain and absorb it.

Leave the powder on for two or three minutes, then remove. Put a small drop of dish soap on the stain and dab gently with a wet paper towel.

4. Berries

Berries are great, but their stains are not. White vinegar to the rescue! If berries stain your clothes, turn the garment inside out and carefully pour boiling water over the stain, much the same as for red wine.

Once the garment has dried for a few hours, soak the stain in vinegar, rinse and allow to dry.

5. Coffee

We’ve all spilled coffee down our shirts at one time or another. To treat stained cloth, use club soda to soak the stained area, then blot with a rag until the stain has gone.

If you’ve dropped coffee on your carpet, blot with a cloth or paper towel, then pour a little beer on top and blot lightly again. Rinse with clean water and blot to get rid of any remaining beer.

6. Peanut Butter

If the stain is on your clothes, remove the excess and treat it with a prewash stain remover and wash the garment on the hottest setting your machine has.

If it’s gone on your carpet, you need something like acetone (nail polish remover) to deal with it. Use an eyedropper and apply a tiny bit to a hidden area of your carpet. This is a test to make sure it won’t damage your carpet, and if it’s ok, then sponge the stain with a cloth dipped in the acetone. Blot until most of the peanut butter is absorbed. Rinse with water and pat dry.

7. Ketchup

Get ketchup off clothes and furniture by  scraping the stain with a butter knife. Soak the stain in cold water and coat it in liquid laundry detergent, then use a sponge to apply hydrogen peroxide to the area. The stain should disappear like magic!

8. Salad Dressing

olive-oil

The oil-based composition of salad dressings is the reason that the stains are so hard to shift. Put a stain remover gel on the stained cloth, then rinse the treated area with hot water and rub liquid detergent into the stain. Leave the fabric for around 5 minutes, then run the garment on your machine’s hottest setting.

9. Chocolate

Try to remove remaining pieces of chocolate with a spoon, but don’t scrape at it as you’ll make the stain worse. Use cold water to rinse the stain, then rub liquid laundry detergent or liquid dish soap into the area. Leave the fabric for a couple of minutes, then soak in cold water for up to 15 minutes. Help things along by rubbing the stain with your fingers every five minutes, then rinse until the stain has gone.

10. Butter

Taking off a stain made by butter is relatively simple. Use liquid dish soap to clean the stain and rinse it well. Use a dab of stain remover and wash the garment in hot water. Make sure the stain is gone before you dry it, as butter can set in a permanent stain this way!