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Stubborn stains are the bane of many would-be pristine households.

Whether it is the result of a spillage at a house party or a build-up of grime, you’ll want it gone.

Here are a few hints and tips from the professionals specifically aimed at cleaning stains from carpets and flooring.

1. Remove as much of the problem as soon as possible. For liquid spills this will mean blotting the carpet or floor surface to prevent it seeping into the pile. If it is a more viscous or sticky substance you may have to wait until it has dried and then attempt to chip it off with a knife or similar.
2. Establish what the floor covering actually is. For example, a polypropylene carpet can cope with chlorine bleach and this will prove a quick and effective means of stain removal. Putting bleach on a wool or wool blend carpet, however, will cause untold damage.
3. Select the right cleaning agent for the job. There are many types available but they generally fall into these categories:

• Water soluble stains which include drinks, washable paint and mud. These can be removed with detergent or a vinegar and water solution.
• Special water soluble stains such as red wine, coffee and blood, require specific treatments. Red wine can be removed with white wine. For coffee stains try mixing detergent with white vinegar and water. Blood can be removed with a specialist carpet or upholstery spray, ideally one including oxi action.
• Fatty, oily or waxy stains. Dropped greasy food or spilt candle wax can be dealt with by placing a paper towel on the stain and pressing a medium hot iron on it. The stain should transfer to the paper towel and thus be removed.
• Glue or nail polish can both be removed using nail polish remover.

4. Pour the agent onto the surface and allow it to soak in. Press with a clean cloth but do not try and scrub as this may leave unsightly marks.
5. Allow the area to dry out and check to see that the stain has been completely removed. If it hasn’t it may be necessary to repeat some stages of the process.