Whether it's a red wine spillage on your cream carpet or greasy fingerprints on your sofa, stains can easily ruin the look of your home in a matter of milliseconds.

Thankfully though there are plenty of cleaning hacks that can help you remove even the most stubborn of marks from your soft furnishings, reports the Daily Mail.

But there are also plenty of things you should never do to treat a stain, that could potentially make the blemish even worse.

The experts at Good Housekeeping Institute have revealed the mistakes we all make when it comes to removing stains - and why we should avoid repeating them.

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1. Salt on red wine

There are several cleaning hacks which say that a sprinkling of salt will help remove the worst stain of all: a red wine spillage.

But the Good Housekeeping team say that this is the worst item to use to clean up the mess.

2. Using too much stain remover

It's tempting when we have a large stain to use a lot of specialist stain removal products to try and get rid of the mark.

But the Good Housekeeping team say that this can make the item you are trying to clean much harder to rinse and it may not properly dry - particularly with any upholstery or carpets.

Instead, apply the stain remover in small squirts at a time before repeating until the mark has gone, rather than using a lot of the product at once.

3. Using hot water

When we spill something, most of us automatically reach for a bucket of steaming, hot water to clean it up.

But the cleaning experts say that hot water can actually set some stains permanently, including many bodily fluids such as blood or vomit.

To play it safe, always use cold water to clean a stain.

4. Rubbing

Don't just rub the stain when you go to clean it, make sure you gently dab instead. Photo / Getty
Don't just rub the stain when you go to clean it, make sure you gently dab instead. Photo / Getty

When you spill something, most people go into panic mode and frantically rub away at the stain.

But the Good Housekeeping team say this can actually damage the fabric you are trying to clean.

Instead, they recommend gently dabbing away at the blemish.

5. Using soap

If you use soap directly on a stain, it can set it permanently, according to the experts.
This is especially true for coffee, red wine and tea stains.

Instead, you should always rinse the stain in cold water first before applying soap or detergent.

6. Cleaning special fabric

If you have any antique furniture, it's tempting to try and clean any stains yourself rather than go to a specialist.

But this could ruin the delicate upholstery on your high end furniture - so it's best to always go to an expert.

7. Using bleach on delicate fabrics

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Delicate fabrics such as silk and wool won't survive if you use bleach to clean them so make sure you use a bleach-free stain remover for these fabrics.

... and the cleaning hacks you SHOULD use to remove stains

• Oven stains

Try a homemade mixture of white vinegar and baking soda - it allegedly works wonders on stubborn grease and grime stains.

Others recommend mixing up a paste of water, ⅓ cup of salt and one cup of baking soda and then spread equally over the oven door, grills and walls to remove stains.

• Wall stains

Have your children left greasy fingerprints on the walls? Try gently rubbing chalk over a greasy fingerprint to remove these frustrating stains.

Then take a dry microfibre cloth and dust off the chalk residue before wiping with water.

• Wax stains from candles

If your candles have dripped onto your furniture, use a ceran scraper to remove the outer layer of wax.

Then place a piece of blotting paper over the affected area and apply a hair dryer until the stain is completely absorbed.

• Ink stains

Blogger Jill Nystul recommends blotting hand sanitiser on to ink stains and leaving for 60 seconds.

• Oil stains

Blott the oil spot with a dry napkin before sprinkling on baking soda, letting it absorb the liquid. Brush the powder off and with a little persistence you should be able to scrub off the stain.

• Lipstick stains

Apparently you can use white bread to help loosen and remove lipstick. Just tear off the crust, bunch up the rest and blot the stain until it's gone.

• Grass stains

Lemon juice and salt is best for grass stains, according to experts. Apply the lemon juice to the grass stain, then add a sprinkling of salt on top. Rub the stain and it should come away perfectly.