The take-away has become an institution in many countries around the world. Sitting at home, watching TV and munching on food that has been delivered to the door is part and parcel of every Saturday night for some people. Unfortunately, our takeaways often have a habit of staying with us for the rest of the week.
Whether you’re partial to Indian food, Chinese food, pizza or a kebab, the prospect of nasty stains is never too far away. The grease, colourings and preservatives often used can prove very difficult to remove from clothing, upholstery and carpet — which can make your Saturday night takeaway very expensive indeed.
If you’re careless with your chow mein or foolish with your fish and chips, it’s best to be prepared — as quick action is often crucial to your chances of removing a stubborn takeaway stain.
1. Chow mein and stir-frys
Provided your favourite restaurant is frying noodles in vegetable oil, chow mein and stir-frys shouldn’t pose too much of a risk to your shirts and carpet. Even if your meal is drenched in soy sauce, this is a pigment stain that is relatively easy to remove.
The moment you drop some food, pick it up and blot the area to soak up any excess moisture. Spray a solution of water and vinegar onto the area, and blot dry with some kitchen roll. If you’ve dropped your Chinese food on a carpet, you might want to cover the area in baking soda before blotting, as this will draw moisture from within the pile and remove any odours.
Pizzas can be very problematic — depending on the toppings and how they’ve been made. For instance, a cheap cheese may contain a high level of fat, which can liquify and rest in pools on top of a pizza after cooking. If you drop greasy pizza on your shirt, your sofa or your carpet, quick action is essential.
Pick up any pizza and crumbs immediately, and soak up any excess moisture with some absorbent kitchen towel. Once again, cover the area in baking soda, before spraying it with a solution of water, vinegar and dishwashing detergent. If you have to remove small bits of cheese and tomato, use a blunt knife.
3. Indian food
A lot of Indian curries contain the yellow spice turmeric, which can sometimes prove almost impossible to remove. To give yourself a fighting chance, you need to take action immediately.
Absorb as much as you can with kitchen towel, and treat the area with methylated spirits — making sure to allow a minimum of 10 minutes contact time. Keep blotting the area with paper towel until the transfer of yellow colouring ceases. Sprinkle baking soda over the area to soak up grease and remove odours. If the stain is on clothing, you might need to wash it on a high temperature with biological detergent… but always check the washing instructions for the garment first.
4. Chilli sauce
Whether you’re partial to a kebab or Thai food, the chilli sauce on it can cause serious problems unless you take decisive action quickly. Once again, you should blot up the excess, before covering the area in baking soda. A strong solution of water and white vinegar should be used to remove any staining before it takes hold.
5. Fish and chips
The very high level of grease on the average portion of fish and chips makes staining very likely. What’s more, greasy fingers will leave greasy fingerprints on whatever they come into contact with. To remove the grease, sprinkle the affected areas with some talcum powder or cornflour. Allow 10 minutes of contact time before brushing the powder off. This will soak up the worst of the grease and neutralise strong smells.
Grease can be very difficult to remove from fabric, so you will probably need to take further measures. Create a solution of alcohol (vodka is perfect), salt and water. Cover the affected areas with the solution, and allow it to soak for 10 minutes. You should then very carefully blot the solution with a microfibre cloth. If this doesn’t work, add a little dishwashing detergent to the solution, which is designed to cut through grease.
Being ready with all of the tools you’ll need to remove takeaway stains will give you the best possible chance of saving your clothes, furniture and carpets from permanent staining.