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How to remove tarnish stains from just about anything

Ever clean brass or silver only to end up with tarnish smeared all over your clothing, furniture or carpet? You’re not the only one!

by Karen B. Gibbs / / Source: TODAY
Polish silver tarnishGetty Images stock

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Ever clean brass or silver only to end up with tarnish smeared all over your clothing, furniture or carpet? You’re not the only one!

TODAY Home asked cleaning professionals how they handle those unsightly stains and was surprised to discover they use items most of us already have on hand.

How to remove tarnish from ...

... clothing

Cleaning coach Leslie Reichert prefers the natural approach to stain removal. “Sprinkle salt on the stained area,” she says. “Then take a clean, white cloth and dab lemon juice onto the stain. Continue dabbing with lemon juice until the stain disappears. Rinse the garment and launder as usual.”

But don’t put the garment in the dryer, even if you think the stain is gone, Reichert cautions, because stains are not always visible on wet fabric. (And drying will set the stain.) Instead, let the item air dry first, then check to see if the stain is totally removed. Repeat the process as needed.

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... upholstery

With upholstery, check the care label first for cleaning instructions, says Debra Johnson, Merry Maids cleaning expert.

If the fabric can be cleaned with water, then sprinkle salt on the stain and dab lightly with a small amount of lemon juice, moving from the outside to the inside of the stain. Continue until the stain is removed. Dab the area with water and a clean, white towel to remove lemon juice and salt residue. Blot well to remove excess moisture. Air dry or use a fan to help the upholstery dry more quickly.

... carpet

If, by some chance, you get tarnish on your carpet, you can use either clear Windex or lemon juice, advises Dean Carter, carpet cleaning pro. Apply either product to the stain using a lifting, twisting motion. When the stain is gone, remove residual Windex or lemon juice by dabbing water onto the area. Squeeze out excess moisture using a lifting, twisting motion. Press the wet area with a towel to remove remaining water. Allow the carpet to air dry, then vacuum to restore the pile.

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