Few things are more alarming for young professionals on a budget than spilling ketchup on a new silk tie or finding ink marks on a good leather handbag.

Self-proclaimed ‘stain ninja’ Ashley Marcin, who spent three years concocting home remedies that work as well or better than expensive commercial products, recently shared her stain removal wizardry with readers of consumer living blog Wisebread.com:

For cottons – Quick action is required for stains on cotton. Blot oil stains with a clean cloth, then cover with baking soda for 30 minutes before brushing off. Wine gives way to salt and cold water, while coffee and other stains flush away with a generous amount of white vinegar.

Silks – Most oily stains will clean up easily if you cover them with baby powder for 30 minutes before heading for the dry cleaner. In a pinch, use artificial sweetener instead of powder – and for red wine stains, soak the item for eight hours in OxiClean and water.

Leather – Whether on a couch or a purse, leather is susceptible to stains. The good news is, most will clean up easily with a mixture of soapy water and leather cleaner. Spritz on the water, squeeze on the cleaner, then buff with the scrubbing side of a kitchen sponge.

Wool – Wool fabric stains also require quick action. Mix vinegar and wool cleaner in a 1:1 ratio. Soak the area and blot inward to prevent the stain from spreading. Then wash or dry clean as recommended.

Microfiber – Check the tag to see what it’s made of, because some require water while others can take solvents. If you’re not sure, spritz rubbing alcohol on the stain, then rub it in and let air dry.

Carpet – Most carpet stains respond to a good soaking. Start by dunking a cloth into a solution of ¼ teaspoon dish detergent and one cup lukewarm water. Blot the stain and let rest for 15 minutes. Then repeat this process, but with a mix of one cup vinegar and two cups water. Let sit again before finishing off with plain water and repeat again if needed.

Car interiors – Try a 1:1 mix of water and vinegar and scrub the stained area with a toothbrush.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.