OK I’m only going to deal with stains on fabric here, generally removable fabric like clothes – ‘cause that’s where you drop most of your food, isn’t it? Apparently there are places you can get advice on how to remove stains from concrete. Though you’d have to be really clean to want to bother.
Fig 1: Identify your stain (see Fig 3) Be careful: see, fig 2.
Fig 2: Remember: if you haven't identified the stain correctly, or if you use an improper stain-removing agent or technique, you may make the stain permanent and cause additional damage to the stained object.
Fig 3: The Three types of stains
3a: Greasy Stains: bike oil, peanut butter, vanilla-scented body lotion. Treat by rubbing with washing-up liquid (if it’s chunky peanut butter, don’t forget to scrape the lumps off first) or by using an absorbent substance: cornstarch, that talc you got for Christmas, French chalk, fuller's earth.
3b: Non-greasy stains: These are real stains - pure pigment – fruit juice, ink, coffee, blood. Treat quickly with water. If that doesn’t work, try washing-up liquid, then ‘rubbing alcohol’ (whatever that is).
3c: Combination Stains: combine the worst elements of 3a and 3b: chocolate, thousand island dressing, cherry flavour lip balm. Use the instructions in Figs 3a & b alternately while panicking about Fig 2.
Fig 4: If you’re really desperate you could buy dry cleaning fluid but this stuff can be dangerous and ecologically unsound. If you’re the sort of person who spills ketchup all over yourself in the first place, ask yourself whether you should really be using this.
Fig 5: Remember, time is of the essence: the longer you leave a stain, the more difficult it will be to remove.
Fig 6a: If it is too late, try disguising the stain.
Fig 6b: Alternatively make a feature of it.