Martha Stewart's Stain Removal Guide: Book Review Plus Some Video Tips

by Taylor

Martha Stewart's stain removal guide is included in her book called Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook.

I actually own a copy of this book, in hardcover (I'm not sure it comes in paperwork) and do reference it on occasion. It is quite heavy and thick, and has 744 pages (including the index). It is definitely not "light reading," but when I encounter a household problem I don't know the answer to I typically have a high chance of finding the answer in here.

Although this book can get you headed at least in the right direction for many household issues its stain removal guide sections aren't very substantive.

For example, there are only 4 pages of the whole book devoted to laundry stain removal, and only 2 pages devoted to carpet stain removal. That's not much in depth information when you need to know more about these topics.

That's why for stain removal, I recommend looking at my A-Z Stain Removal Guide. It has step by step instructions for removing over 100 types of stains, and how to remove them from clothing, upholstery and carpet.

However, that is not to say Martha has nothing to say on the subject of stains. For instance, below are some really excellent videos of Martha Stewart on her show discussing stain removal. I would definitely suggest checking these out. These are a much better representation of Martha Stewart's stain removal guide knowledge, in my opinion, than the book itself.

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Tips For Removing Mustard Stain From Clothing

Below is a video with Martha Stewart discussing tips for removing mustard stains from clothing.

This video gives an alternate method for mustard stain removal than

The directions she uses are as follows:

Step 1: Use an eye dropper to place rubbing alcohol onto the stain, and then blot or tamp the stain.

Hint: Watch the video for an excellent example of what it means to "tamp" a stain -- basically hitting the stain to mechanically remove the stain from the fabric.

Step 2: Then apply what the video refers to as "tannin formula" to the stain.

This tannin formula consists of:

  • 1/2 teaspoon laundry detergent

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar

  • 1/4 cup cool water
Again, tamp the stain, and then spray the stain with water from a spray bottle.

Step 3: Apply both hydrogen peroxide and ammonia, together, onto the stain.

In the video when they applied this stain removal solution the stain turned a reddish color, which frankly looked worse than the original yellowy stain.

But this is what is cool about stain removal -- it is all about chemical reactions.

The next step below stopped the chemical reaction, and in the process removed most, if not all of the mustard stain from the clothes.

Step 4: Apply white vinegar onto the stained area to neutralize the ammonia.

You remember from chemistry class that ammonia is a base, and vinegar is a weak acid, right?

Well, adding one to the other basically neutralizes the pH back to around 7 and stops the chemical reaction.

Watch the video to see the reddish color almost instantly change to a really pale yellow, much lighter than the original stain.

Step 5: Launder as normal, which should get any remaining parts of the mustard stain out.

The video also has two other topics, removing grass stains and mud stains if you want to watch it all the way through (and I briefly summarized that part below the video).

Grass & Mud Stains

They tackled these stains separately, but often they are found together, which is why I'm discussing them together.

I though it was interesting that they classified a grass stain as a "combination" stain, because it contains both tannins and chlorophyll, which he was treating like an oil.

To treat the chlorophyll, or green part of the stain, Wayne suggests putting rubbing alcohol onto the stained area, and then tamping it.

Then, rinse with water and treat with the tannin formula, and tamp again. Then, again rinse with water and wash as usual.

Finally, with mud stains his advice is just to soak them, perhaps overnight, in a solution of detergent (I would add that it should be a detergent with enzymes in it) and water and then wash them like normal.

Photo by wordridden

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Stain Removal Techniques For Blood, Red Wine And Ink Stains

Below is a video featuring Martha Stewart which shows stain removal techniques for blood, red wine and ink stains.

The video is pretty long, since it lasts over seven minutes, but it does have some good tips.

The first stain tackled is a blood stain on a white shirt.

Removing Blood Stains

To remove this blood stain they use a protein stain remover, which contains the following ingredients:They use a squirt bottle to squirt this protein stain removal solution all over the blood stain and then the video gives a good demonstration of the stain removal technique of tamping, which is to quickly hit the stain with a brush to almost knock some of the stain out of the fibers.

After using this stain removal solution, for the stain still left they next use an eye dropper to squirt a bit of hydrogen peroxide onto the stain, and then follow that with more ammonia.

You should then rinse the item, and wash as normal.

Removing A Red Wine Stain

The next stain they tackle is a red wine stain.

An interesting hint provided is that the more sugary the wine the harder the stain is to remove.

That just gives me an added incentive to drink only dry red wines, what about you?

Anyway, for this stain they create a tannin stain removal solution which is the same as was used for the mustard stain removal video above.

They squirt this tannin stain removal solution on the fabric with a squirt bottle.

For the stain left remaining he also uses an eye dropper with hydrogen peroxide.

Removing An Ink Stain

Finally, they tackle an ink stain on a shirt.

It looks like it might be ballpoint pen stain, but it is hard to tell for sure.

First, he said off camera he tested the shirt for color fastness, and then he poured lighter fluid all over it, since he said he didn't have any dry cleaning solvent with him.

Lighter fluid contains a lot of solvent within it, which are quick burning, so this can be a handy substitute if you don't have another type of solvent around.

Of course, some inks are oil based, while others are water based stains. The lighter fluid is designed to help remove oil based ink stains.

This, apparently, was a water based ink stain and so he then just used the tannin formula on it when the lighter fluid did not seem to make much progress in the ink stain removal.

I encourage you to watch the whole video to see the techniques in their entirety, since it is quite an informative video.

I hope these videos from Martha Stewart's stain removal guide have been helpful to you. I think they're really informative.

You can share your own stain removal tip here, or read other tips already submitted if you're looking for even more ideas or assistance in removing stains.

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Use Gal Pal To Remove Deodorant Stains (Another Martha Stewart Video)

Stain Removal Clothes Tips

Top 10 Removing Stains Tips And Glossary Of Terms And Techniques

Go From Martha Stewart's Stain Removal Guide To Home Page

Comments for Stain Removal Techniques For Blood, Red Wine And Ink Stains

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response to Stacy's question
by: Taylor

I've provided written instructions based on the video, plus links in the article itself. In addition, you can check out these home remedies for removing ink from clothing here.

ink from clothes?
by: Stacy

How do I get ink out of clothes?

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Hi, I'm Taylor, a busy mom with 3 kids, so I have lots of hands on experience with house cleaning, laundry and my fair share of spots, spills and other messy catastrophes. Thanks for visiting my site.

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CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.