The Ultimate Guide To Cleaning Old Stains And Neglected Messes


I’m sure most of us have at least one stain, mark, or blemish in our homes that have been there so long they’ve faded into the woodwork. (Well maybe not literally, but at least in our own minds!)

Despite our intentions to address that stained throw pillow or to scour out that blackened pot, we often put it off long enough that we just get used to seeing it. When you pass by them multiple times a day, it’s easy for those smudges, stains, and other messes to blend in with the rest of the “visual landscape” inside your home.

So if you have a t-shirt with an oily smudge, a stained piece of cookware, or a scuff mark on a wall left unaddressed, I hope you take some solace in the fact that I have them too! But I’ve set a goal to finish out my spring cleaning by finally addressing those neglected messes, and today I’m issuing a challenge for you to do the same!

To help us all finally tackle those messes that have gone unnoticed (and the ones we pretend not to notice), I put together a collection of my best tips for treating old stains and erasing old marks around the house. No matter where they happen to be in your house, these tips will help you get rid of them once and for all!

How To Clean Up Old Stains, Marks, And Messes…


In The Laundry Room

My DIY stain remover spray includes a powerful combination of dish soap and hydrogen peroxide that helps make it the ultimate stain-banisher! It’s easy to make, works well on a variety of different stains, and can even help remove those old stains you haven’t gotten around to treating yet.

While my stain remover spray is great for general use, a stronger or more specific treatment may be necessary to remove certain types of stains. To learn how to remove stains from some some of the worst offenders, explore the posts at the links below:


On Your Carpeting

Facing down a tough stain on your carpet? From a pet-related potty accident to paint splatters, food spills, and beyond, I’ve got all sorts of tips that can help you erase just about any type of old stain from your carpets!

Check out my in-depth carpet cleaning guide for stain removal tips, DIY cleaning solutions, and other helpful tips and tricks about cleaning your carpeting.


In The Kitchen

Since many of us have been eating at home a lot more over the past year, it makes sense that we’d notice more stains, dings, scratches, and other signs of wear and tear on our kitchen items. Whether it’s a precious heirloom that has been in your family for generations, or a new gadget that you can’t imagine living without, these helpful hints will help you keep them in tip-top shape:


Around The House

Whether your house is overrun with rowdy kids or you live alone, accidents will happen, messes will be made, and clean things will get dirty. So check out the links below to learn some simple solutions for common messes and marks you might encounter around the house:

  • Vinegar and a few rags will make short work of any hard water stains and mineral deposits around your plumbing fixtures.
  • Scuff marks on countertops, walls, bathtubs, and shoes can be cleaned up easily with the help of a damp magic eraser.
  • Eliminate age-old concrete stains from your driveway or patio with the help of an unexpected cleaning agent: drain cleaner.

Now that you know how to tackle every stain or mess you might come across, it’s time to go forth and finally check those messes off your to-do list! :-)

Do you have an old stain or mess that you’ve been putting off cleaning?

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • Any suggestions on how to get mildew out of clothes? I notice it on clothes I have not worn for over a year. I live in South FL where the humidity is 90% or higher most of the year and I tend to have the a/c off 9 months out of the year due to financial problems.

  • I love reading and using these tips, thank you. Two tips that have worked great for me: (1) Resolve Carpet Cleaner is the best floor grout cleaner I’ve found. Spray, wait a few minutes, scrub a little with a stiff brush (or toothbrush), and mop. Good as new on my kitchen floors with biscuit colored (!) grout. (2) Totally Awesome ($1 at Dollar Tree) is the best all round stain remover for household and laundry.

    • I actually love Spot shot for Carpet stains. I had to keep a can around when I had a Cat who was always getting hair balls . I love peroxide for blood stains. I really haven’t needed to use much lately- but I can use with dish soap on my silk pillowcases. My mom loves Totally Awesome. She uses it for cleaning., I personally don’t like the smell, but it works.

  • Great compilation of tips! I’ve got two to piggyback with some of these.

    A 1 inch foam tipped paint brush is great for washing around the rim of the Instant Pot. Just dip it in the hot soapy dish water and clean away. I’ve found that a pack from Hobby Lobby (using the 40% off coupon if they aren’t already on sale) gives me longer lasting sponges than a pack from the Dollar Tree for just $0.50 more.

    My MIL gets blood on the sheets or her clothes all the time. I mix equal amounts hydrogen peroxide & ammonia in a small squirt bottle to treat the stains & they come right out in the wash. For some reason it seems to work better than peroxide alone.

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