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Tips for dealing with the top 5 cottage stains
Photo by Jorge Moro

Tips for dealing with the top five cottage stains

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Yes, the work doesn’t stop just because you leave the city. And when it comes to stains at the cottage, you’re likely to be faced with a number of different challenges—because the great outdoors just likes to keep things interesting. Here’s how to tackle the five most common stains you’re going to find.

Water stains on wooden furniture

OK, the cottage has a certain relaxed atmosphere—but that doesn’t mean someone’s sweaty beer glass or wet bathing suit won’t make a mark on your wood. Fortunately, light water stains are pretty easy to tackle, and there are a pile of things to try if one method doesn’t work. One of the easiest is to cover a water stain with mayonnaise—yes, mayonnaise—which you can leave on the stain overnight. When morning comes, wipe the stain away. If the smell of Hellmann’s wafting through your cottage isn’t appealing, try a mixture of a half teaspoon of white vinegar mixed with a cup of cold water. Wipe the stain, then follow up with furniture polish.

Pet stains on carpet

When Fido’s routine gets derailed, he might react by making your cottage interior his own personal fire hydrant. If that happens, one of the best ways to lift the stain and deodorize your carpet is good old vinegar and baking soda. (Nicely, this also works on stains that have—ahem—aged a little.) Soak the stain with white vinegar before adding a small amount of baking soda. Let the spot dry for a day or two, then vacuum or sweep up the residue with a stiff brush.

Mold stains on a deck

It’s one of the ongoing headaches of cottage living: we love how wooden decks look, but the maintenance can be overwhelming. If your deck has developed mold spots—and pretty much all of them do, even composite decks—don’t worry. The mold isn’t harmful; it’s just ugly. Fortunately, it’s not hard to get rid of them. Wash your deck well to get rid of any dirt and residue (use a non-toxic deck wash to make sure it’s really clean), then use a commercial cleaning solution like Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser to tackle the ugly black discolorations. Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser doesn’t need rinsing—a bonus if you’ve got other plans for your weekend—but it does need to sit on your deck for at least three hours, so choose a sunny day to do the work.

Paint stains on rocks

Oops. You were painting outside—maybe freshening up a piece of furniture or adding another year’s layer of paint to the fish cleaning table—and you splashed paint on your lovely Canadian Shield granite or paving stones. If the paint has dried, you’ll need paint stripper. (Make sure you protect any plants you’re working around—paint stripper’s not so friendly to flowers.) Scrape what you can off the rock with a wire brush, then soak a rag in paint thinner. Place it over the rock for five minutes and then scrape up the loosened paint. Make sure to dispose of the rag and leftover thinner safely.

Blood stains

Along with the great outdoors and all its temptations comes the risk of accidents. Blood is tricky to remove at the best of times, and you’ll have a lot more success if you get to the stain before it’s had a chance to dry or set. For washable fabrics like cotton or polyester, wash the stain in cold (NOT hot, which will set the stain) water—which, if the stain is fresh, should do the trick. If that doesn’t work, try soaking the stain in a litre of warm water, half a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, and a tablespoon of household ammonia.