With the right treatment, the impact of many stains can be reduced if not removed altogether. 

The best approach is to act quickly when you see a stain, before it has a chance to set. Remove as much of the staining substance as possible. Start from the outside of the stain and work towards the centre. Sponge or dab it lightly – don’t scrub hard. If you want to rinse it with something, use cold water. As a general rule, don’t use hot water on stains – it will make some stains even harder to remove.

If it is in a very obvious location – on the carpet just inside your front door, for example – call a professional cleaner. For serious stains on a surface that could be replaced, such as a floor covering or wallpaper, call your insurance company and see if your policy covers replacement of the stained material.

It is very important with any cleaning or stain removal work to take care not to damage the building material itself. In particular, take great care when using steel wire brushes or pressure washers.

Steel wire brushes can damage many surfaces. Where possible, use a stiff-bristled scrubbing brush instead. When dealing with a stained timber surface, try something like a nylon pot scrubber and a low-pressure hose rather than a steel brush. Manufacturers typically warn against using a wire brush on steel roof and wall claddings, stainless steel flashings, aluminium cladding and flashings, timber decking, shingle roofs and wall cladding, and natural stone cladding and pavers.

Avoid using high-pressure water blasters when cleaning timber decks or weatherboard wall cladding. The high-pressure water can damage the timber fibres in decking, affecting the appearance, and may enter into the wall cavity through gaps in timber weatherboard walls.

See our Stain Removal Chart for specific guidance.