Back to School Stains and Odors: Factoids and Fun!

Back to School: Stains and Odors

Do you have crayon or marker stains on furniture or walls? Is there a fruit juice stain right in the middle of your living room carpet? Are smelly shoes, gym bags, and lunch bags challenging your sense of smell? While the kids may be back in school, the stains and smells they left behind from summer break or after school may linger in your home far longer. But no worries! The experts at Rainbow International got you covered.

Infographic about Back to School Stains

What’s leaving its mark?




Did you know?

  • Ranked #18 on Yale’s list of most recognizable scents, crayons are a coloring favorite around the globe.
  • The most loved color? According to the Color Census of 2000: blue.
  • The most unloved? Tan, tumbleweed and spring green.
  • By the time a little one turns 10, they will have worn down approximately 730 crayons and will have spent about 28 minutes per day coloring (on average).

Erase the rainbow…

  • Scrape crayon residue off with a dull knife – you may need to ice it down for complete removal. Soak stain in a solution of warm water and blue Dawn dish soap. If fabric is heat safe, a clean cloth and hot iron can be used to remove remaining wax. It may take several tries to completely remove. Heat sensitive surface? A dry cleaning solvent may remove stains.




Did you know?

  • Ingredients in permanent markers – such as xylene – can become addictive to smell.
  • Markers are the writing utensil of choice by astronauts aboard the International Space Station because of their usability in zero-gravity.

Unmark it…

  • Work rubbing alcohol into the marker stain using a clean cloth. Let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Blot with a clean sponge until no longer visible. White vinegar can also be substituted.




Did you know?

  • Early forms of glue date back to 200,000 BC in Italy, and 70,000 BC in South Africa, where they were used for making weapons – not crafts.
  • Not to be outdone, Super Glue was discovered in 1942 during a search for materials to make gun sights for the war. (It proved to be so strong it could hold a hanging car.)

Don’t get stuck…

  • Carefully remove glue residue of the affected surface with a knife. For hot glue, an iron and clean cloth can also facilitate removal. Stains from dried glue require professional help.




Did you know?

  • Every year, the average American drinks over 5 gallons of orange juice, though Concord grape juice still takes the cake in the stain fighting arena.

Squeeze it out…

  • Blot juice out using paper towels and pressure – no rubbing! Mix 1-2 tablespoons dishwashing detergent in a cup of water. Apply and blot again. Mixing 2/3 cup water and ½ cup white vinegar, spray directly on stain. Repeat cleansing with dishwashing detergent. Clean with water and damp paper towel. Weigh down paper towels and let sit to remove excess water. If stain remains, moisten area with 3% hydrogen peroxide.


What stinks?


Gym bags


Cool facts:

  • Slipping dry tea bags into a smelly gym bag will whisk odor away.
  • Why does Mom smell it first? Because women have a better sense of smell than men do.

Don’t sweat it…

  • You can get sweat smells out of your upholstery. Sprinkle the area with baking soda and rub in gently. Allow to sit overnight. Vacuum thoroughly. For tough smells, mix a 2:1 solution of vinegar and water. Spray on. Open windows. Allow surface to air dry.




Cool facts:

  • Rubber-soled shoes were deemed sneakers in the late 1800s because they allowed you to “sneak” around without making a sound.
  • Wedge shoes were the result of a steel shortage in the 1940s.
  • The most expensive shoes every sold? Dorothy’s ruby slippers for $660,000.

Shoe smells wearing you out?

  • Keeping feet clean and dry before placing them in shoes is the best defense against odor. For those with foot odor issues, however, this may not be enough. When possible, just to toss smelly shoes in the wash. For those that aren’t machine-friendly, there are multiple possibilities: Sprinkle shoes with baking soda, let sit overnight, then vacuum/shake to remove excess; apply rubbing alcohol to the inside of the shoe (avoiding outside areas, especially leather), then leave in an area where alcohol can evaporate; Or kill bacteria with a few hours of sunlight exposure.


Lunch bags and boxes


Cool facts:

  • The Smithsonian has a lunchbox collection with boxes from the 1890s to 1980s.
  • Mickey Mouse was the first image emblazoned on boxes in 1935, and Barbie dominated the girl’s lunchbox market in later years.

Get rid of the leftovers…

  • Get the funk out of lunchboxes by leaving them open between uses. For real stinkers, spray and wipe with a vinegar solution, or sprinkle with baking soda.


Can’t get it out?


Kick the stains and smells out with the professional help from the experts at Rainbow International®! Contact us today to learn more about our cleaning, stain removal, and deodorizing services.