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It is worth keeping a few essential remedies close to hand just in case an unexpected stain occurs.

The following ingredients are very useful and are available from most chemists or hardware shops.

For absorbant materials:
Include a selection of kitchen or paper towels, cotton wool, sponges and soft and hard brushes.

Ammonia will remove certain water-based stains and neutralise acid marks. Always use diluted with cold water, and in a well-ventilated room. Test on coloured fabrics beforehand as some coloured fabrics can bleed.

Biologoical detergent:
Thse cntain enzymes which break down specific stains such as egg, protein, milk, etc. Many everyday stains can be removed by just normal washing. Biologoical detergents can be used as a pre-soak for persistent or heavy stains also. Do not use on wool and silk or non-colourfast fabrics.

Uesd for lubricating or softenting stains, making thenm easier to remove. Dilute for the best results - one part to six parts of cld water. Soak fabrics for 30 minutes. Do not use on coloured fabrics as these will fade.

Methylated spirits:
Used for removing oil-based stains and dyes. Use neatly, dabbed onto cotton wool and then onto the area. Always try a small patch test first when using on coloured fabrics. Not recommended for use on acetates.

Other solvents:
For grease use a spirit, e.g. vodka, turpentine or white spirit. For water-based stains use caustic soda.

Pre-wash Products:
These proprietary products are designed for use on heavily soiled and stained areas on white fabric and washable coloureds. They are most effective on grease stains.

Stain removers:
Many stain removers can be found in your local hardware shop and most are specific. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

White vinegar:
Good for removing water-based stains. Always wash out thoroughly after applying.