How to remove charcoal stains

Cinderella had a Fairy Godmother to whisk away her charcoal stains, but in the absence of any such fairy, here’s all the tips and tricks needed to remove that black stain.

Options to remove charcoal stains from clothing

Whoops! Did you rub against the barbecue and get charcoal on your jeans? Or perhaps that camping trip resulted in stained sleeping bags and pillow slips? Don’t fret, here’s how to get rid of charcoal stains:

  • Ignore your instincts and don’t get the stain wet or soak it.
  • Start by bashing the charcoal out of the fabric with your hand, or a flat tool like a fly swat.
  • Next, brush or vacuum the charcoal to remove as much of the dust as possible before you launder the stain.
  • Wash in water as hot as the fabric will allow.
  • If that doesn’t work, soak the item again overnight in a solution of detergent and water. Launder again.

How to remove charcoal stains from unwashable fabrics

  • Remove as much charcoal as possible from the fabric by bashing it, shaking it, brushing with a soft brush or vacuuming it.
  • Place a squirt of dishwashing liquid in a bowl of water.
  • Dip a damp sponge into the bubbles and slowly and gently sponge the stain until all marks disappear.

How to remove charcoal stains from carpets and furniture

Oh, there’s nothing like an open fire is there? The romance, the warmth, but the charcoal stains on the carpet? Not so fab.

  • Start by vacuuming up the dust – gently – taking care not to push it into the pile.
  • If any stain remains, mix 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with 2 cups of cool water.
  • Blot the stain with the solution, blotting dry with a clean towel.
  • Continue blotting until stain is removed.

Stain remover notes

  • The quicker you deal with a stain, the more likely you are to remove it.
  • Unless it’s a fat stain, cold water is best for rinsing a stain, so as not to set it and make it harder to remove later.
  • Before using a cleaning solution, test on an inconspicuous section, such as the inside of a sleeve, to check it won’t ruin the fabric.
  • Always rinse out one cleaning solution before trying another to remove a stain as certain chemicals are not supposed to be mixed.
  • Read the care instructions on the item of clothing before attempting vigorous stain removal. Some clothing may be too delicate to attempt stain removal and are better taken straight to the drycleaners.
  • Don’t rub fabric harshly to remove stains as this can abrade fibres and cause fading.
  • The white towel blotting method is often recommended for stain removal. Simply fold a clean white towel and, once you have treated the stain with water, gently dab it with the towel and check to see how much of the stain has transferred to the white towel.
  • If using commercial stain removers and detergents, always follow the product label to understand the proper use and safety precautions you may need to take.
  • It’s always easier to treat a stain on a washable fabric.

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