Need cleaning tips? Battling with a red wine stain that just won't go away? Fear not, our essential guide has everything you need to know - from cleaning products to expert spring cleaning advice.

Plus, if you're planning a good old spring clean, check out our essential guide to spring cleaning and our grottiest ever cleaning jobs - solved!

For now read on, for everything from getting rid of ballpoint pen marks to shoe polish stains...

Stain Ballpoint ink
Removal agent Methylated spirits
How to do it Dab with absorbent white cloth and methlyated spirits

Stain Beetroot juice
Removal agent Borax and biological detergent
How to do it First rinse with cold water. Soak coloureds in a solution of borax for 15 minutes. For white linen, sprinkle borax on the fabric and flush with hot water. Wash with biological detergent.

Stain Bird droppings
Removal agent Borax, biological detergent and chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide
How to do it Scrape off excess droppings and sponge with a solution of borax or soak in biological detergent. If stains still remain, try soaking in dilute chlorine bleach (white cotton) or hydrogen peroxide (coloureds and synthetics, but not nylon).

Stain Blood
Removal agent Salt or biological detergent
How to do it Presoak fresh stains in heavily salted cold water or detergent.

Stain Candle wax
Removal agent Absorbent paper, a warm iron and methlyated spirits
How to do it Scrape away the excess. Place a kitchen towel over the residue and press with a warm iron until the paper absorbs the softened wax. Dab any colour residue with methlyated spirits before washing.

Stain Chewing gum
Removal agent Ice cubes
How to do it Freeze the gum with a bag of ice cubes. Once it becomes hard and brittle, break away the gum with a knife.

Stain Coffee and tea
Removal agent Detergent, vinegar and borax
How to do it Flush with cold water and spot clean with a solution of washing detergent but not soap. If staining remains, soak in a solution of one part vinegar to two parts water or a solution of borax.

Stain Colour run in washing machine
Removal agent Washing soda and colour dye remover
How to do it If you dye an entire washload, soak in cold water with washing soda to avoid setting the colour. As soon as possible, machine wash again with a colour run dye reversal product.

Stain Contact adhesive and glue
Removal agent Acetate (nail polish remover)
How to do it Dab with acetate.

Stain Cooking fat
Removal agent Bicarbonate of soda and biological detergent
How to do it Add a few drops of water to bicarbonate to make a paste and spread over the stain. Leave for 30 minutes and then wash in biological detergent.

Stain Crayon
Removal agent Methlyated spirits
How to do it Scrape away excess before dabbing with methlyated spirits.

Stain Curry
Removal agent Biological detergent and hydrogen peroxide
How to do it Some curry stains contain strong natural dyes that are almost impossible to shift. Dab with a strong solution of detergent before laundering. Soak stubborn stains in a solution of hydrogen peroxide bleach.

Stain Dried fruit
Removal agent Lemon juice
How to do it Place the garment stain side down on absorbent kitchen towel and dampen with lemon juice. Dab with hot water and wash.

Stain Fresh fruit
Removal agent Borax or salt
How to do it Soak in a solution of borax for 15 minutes to neutralize the acid and then wash. Alternatively cover the stain with salt and then wash.

Stain Grass stain
Removal agent Biological detergent or methylated spirits
How to do it Grass is a combination of protein and dye. Detergent should remove most stains. Dab any remaining dye with methlyated spirits.

Stain Ink on coloured fabric
Removal agent Milk
How to do it Soak immediately in slightly warm milk then wash.

Stain Ink and felt tip pen
Removal agent Methlyated spirits
How to do it Dab with an absorbent pad dipped in methlyated spirits.

Stain Lipstick
Removal agent Soap or methlyated spirits
How to do it Rub fabric against fabric with soap or a little washing-up liquid and then wash. Dab with methlyated spirits if the fabric isn't washable.

Stain Mildew - dried
Removal agent Salt or lemon juice
How to do it Rub with damp salt or a lemon and leave in the sun for at least 12 hours.

Stain Mildew on shower curtains
Removal agent Chlorine bleach
How to do it Sponge or soak in dilute bleach and machine wash with detergent.

Stain Mildew on white cotton and linen
Removal agent Household chlorine bleach
How to do it Mildew is almost impossible to remove and is caused by damp. Soak in diluted bleach then thoroughly rinse and wash.

Stain Mildew on white synthetics
Removal agent Hydrogen peroxide
How to do it Soak in one part hydrogen peroxide to nine parts water. Rinse and wash.

Stain Paint- emulsion and water based
Removal agent Water
How to do it Sponge immediately with plenty of warm water. Dried paint can be scraped or picked off, but is difficult to wash off.

Stain Paint - solvent based
Removal agent White spirit
How to do it Dab with white spirit.

Stain Perspiration
Removal agent Clear vinegar or lemon juice
How to do it Soak or sponge with vinegar, but use lemon juice on wool. Rinse and wash.

Stain Plasticine
Removal agent White spirit
How to do it Scrape off as much mud as possible and dab dye stains with white spirit.

Stain Pollen
Removal agent Sticky tape
How to do it Lift away the pollen with sticky tape or a vacuum cleaner, but don't rub or you'll fix the dye.

Stain Red wine
Removal agent Carbonated or soda water
How to do it Dab or flush with carbonated or soda water and wash.

Stain Rust
Removal agent Lemon juice
How to do it Flush with lemon juice, leave for 15 minutes and launder.

Stain: Scorch marks
Removal agent: None
How to do it: Scorch marks are permanent damage, but their appearance can be disguised by carefully shaving away the damaged fibres.

Stain: Shoe polish
Removal agent: White spirit
How to do it: Dab with white spirit and wash

Stain: Urine
Removal agent: Detergent, vinegar or shaving foam
How to do it: Soak in detergent and wash. For non-washable fabric, dab with mild vinegar solution. On mattresses, sponge with a dab of shaving foam.

...there is no Z - sorry, we failed! If you can think of one get in touch! 

Head to your local hardware store or supermarket for all the removal agents mentioned.

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