Whether you're dealing with red wine spills or salad dressing stains, they're no match for these stain fighters. 

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We've all been there: That moment you spill red wine on the carpet or accidentally get soy sauce on your white blouse and, of course when you need it most, there's no stain stick in sight. For those times when you need a quick stain solution, reach for these essentials that are likely already waiting in your pantry. In a pinch, grab some white vinegar, table salt, or some baking soda, and these pantry essentials will double as stain fighters—or at least buy you some time before you can get to the laundry room. It's all the more reason to keep these items stocked in our home at all times.

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Woman Cleaning Cutting Board with Lemon
Credit: Rick Lew/Getty Images


Spilled coffee in the rush to get ready in the morning? To clean the stains from kitchen grout, grab a lemon from the bowl on the counter. Add lemon juice to 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar, then rub the stain-fighting paste into the grout using a toothbrush before rinsing.

Clean a cutting board: For set-in stains on your wood or plastic cutting board, squeeze lemon juice onto the board, then rub it in with one half of the cut lemon. Let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing.

RELATED: How to Clean Stained Plastic Food Containers Using a Lemon


The next time you have a red wine stain, grab the salt shaker. First, coat the stain with table salt, then boil some water and stretch the fabric over a bowl. Carefully pour water onto the spot from about one foot above.

White Vinegar

The next time your hot dog condiment ends up on your blouse, reach for the white vinegar. Flush the stain with white vinegar, then apply a dish-soap solution (1 tablespoon clear soap in about 10 ounces of water) and let sit for 15 minutes.


Salad dressing spill? Reach for the box of cornstarch. Sprinkle it over the stain and let it soak up the oil as you head to the corner store for some Shout. Then, rinse with cool water and spritz with Shout. 

Hair Spray

Okay, so you probably don't store hair spray in your pantry, but there's likely a bottle stashed in your bathroom. When you accidentally swipe lipstick on your shirt in the morning, spritz it with hair spray and let sit for 10 minutes. Then, wipe with a damp cloth to remove any residue and remaining stain.

Baking Soda

Have stained coffee mugs you're sure will never come clean? Try this trick: Fill with one part baking soda and two parts water. Let sit overnight, then rub with a sponge and rinse.


Tickled the ivories after eating a bar of chocolate? To clean up the piano keys, rub each key with a dollop of toothpaste using a damp cotton swab. Wipe dry and buff with a clean cloth.