10 Effective Tips for Eliminating Stains from Clothes

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Even the toughest stains can be removed with some clever tricks. Ambre Halle/Getty Images

Stains are inevitable, whether it is sauce on a white dress or grass stains on your knees. It’s impossible to avoid them as we spend so much time in our favorite clothes. However, even though you never see them coming, they can be removed with the right methods. Stains such as red wine, blood, or tea may seem impossible to remove, but with these 10 tips and tricks, you can knock them right off your fabric.

It is important to note that not all methods work every time, so don’t get frustrated if a particular hack doesn’t work. Keep trying, and eventually, you will find a tactic that works. The crucial rule of stain removal is to avoid running a garment through a heated dryer unless you are 100% sure the stain has been removed. Doing so will cause the stain to set and become a permanent part of your life.

Do you doubt that we can help you get rid of the ink on your jeans? Click ahead and see for yourself. We’ll start with on-the-spot attacks.

10: Emergency Spot Remover

If you spill something on your clothes while you’re out and about, don’t panic. To remove the stain, first, never scrub or rub a spilled substance. Instead, dab carefully with a white cloth. If you don’t have a white cloth, a piece of white bread will help. For an oil-based stain, like from salad dressing, sprinkle salt on it and allow it to sit for a bit, then brush it off the garment. Next, spot treat the stain with whatever you have available. A stain pen would be ideal, but club soda or plain water works well, too. Do not apply too heavily; instead, use the corner of a napkin and continue blotting until the stain is completely gone.

If you’re near a laundry machine, you can create a potent stain remover by combining lemon juice with cream of tartar. Wash it like normal, and the marks you thought would be there forever will be long gone.

9: Grass Stains

Removing grass stains can be a daunting task, especially when kids are involved. But don’t worry, there’s an easy solution that involves using toothpaste. Simply apply white toothpaste to the stain and scrub it with an old toothbrush. Rinse the area and launder the clothing as usual to remove the stain. Toothpaste can also be used to remove ink spots.

8: Blood Stains

Don’t let blood stains ruin your clothes. To remove them, soak the stain with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, use your fingernail or a butter knife to help loosen and scrape away the blood, then rinse with more hydrogen peroxide. Launder as usual. If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide, cola can be used to soak the stain overnight and then washed normally. Another method involves wetting the stained area, sprinkling it with table salt, rubbing the stain and laundering the garment as usual.

7: Collar Stains

Ring around the collar is a common problem, but it’s easily solvable with shampoo. Apply shampoo to the collar, rub it in, and let it soak for 15-30 minutes before rinsing and laundering as usual. A shampoo formulated for oily hair is best because it breaks down body oils and grit.

To save money, try taking the free bottles of shampoo from hotels to use as a ring-around-the-collar remover. Lipstick stains can be tricky to remove, especially on delicate fabrics, but try scraping off any excess lipstick and applying dish detergent to the back of the stain before scrubbing with a toothbrush and washing on a gentle cycle. Grease spots can be removed by sprinkling cornstarch on the spot and brushing it away, or by using WD-40 and dish soap before washing. Oily stains on pillowcases can be removed with shampoo or liquid dish detergent.

To remove oil stains from clothes, you can use white chalk. Rub the chalk over the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then, brush off any excess chalk and wash the clothes as usual. To prevent oil stains, pre-treat them with liquid laundry detergent and wash with hot water and enzyme detergent. For lighter sheets, add 3/4 cup of bleach. To remove ballpoint pen ink, apply rubbing alcohol to the stain and blot with a clean cloth. For felt-tip pen ink, rinse in cold water and soak in hot water with laundry detergent and ammonia. For red wine stains, sprinkle baking soda on the stain and dab with a damp cloth. Stretch the fabric over a bowl, apply salt, pour boiling water over it, and wash on the highest heat possible.

1: Removing Tea Stains

Don’t panic if you spill tea on your clothes. Start by rinsing the stain with cold water, making sure to run the water from the back of the stain to avoid pushing it through the fabric. Apply liquid detergent to the stain and let it sit for at least five minutes. For dried stains, soak the fabric in cold water with detergent for 30 minutes before rinsing. Another option is to use baking soda on wet tea stains, which may help remove the color. After treating the stain, launder the fabric as usual. Don’t let tea stains ruin your day!

Originally published on Sep 9, 2010.

FAQ on Removing Stains from Clothing

Is it possible to remove stains from dry clothes?

Yes, but it’s best to treat the stain as soon as possible and avoid putting the garment in the dryer until the stain is completely removed.

Can old stains be removed from clothes?

It depends on the type of stain and fabric. According to The Spruce, saturating the stain with vinegar and then rubbing it with a paste made of baking soda and vinegar can be effective.

Can baking soda remove old stains?

Yes, a paste made of baking soda and warm water can lift stains from many types of fabric. Arm & Hammer recommends testing the paste on the garment first before applying it and letting it dry before washing.

What causes brown stains on clothes after washing?

Brown stains on clothes can be caused by benzoyl peroxide or rust, but it’s also possible that the washing machine itself has rust, corrosion, or buildup.

Does vinegar fade colored clothes?

No, soaking colored clothes in a solution of warm water and vinegar can actually brighten them. Be sure to rinse well afterwards.

More Information

Related Articles

  • How to Remove Stains and Spots
  • How to Remove Blood Stains
  • How to Remove Rose and Red Wine Stains
  • 10 Worst Stains and How to Remove Them

Sources

  • “101 Old-Time Country Household Hints,” © 2008 Publications International, Ltd.
  • Aguirre, Sarah. “How to Quickly Remove Tea Stains From Clothing, Carpet and Mugs.” The Spruce. April 13, 2018 (Aug. 1, 2018) https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-remove-tea-stains-1901022
  • Baker, Jerry. “Ax Grass Stains and 5 Other Ways Toothpaste Brightens Your Day.” Jerry Baker – America’s Master Gardener. 2018 (Aug. 1, 2018) https://www.jerrybaker.com/information/newsletter/2012/0612/0612_5
  • Dr. Laundry. “Stained Pillowcases from Oily Hair.” Clorox. 2018 (Aug. 2, 2018) https://www.clorox.com/how-to/bodily-fluid-stains/body-soil-stains/stained-pillow-cases-oily-hair/
  • Gibbs, Karen B. “How to Remove Lipstick Stains from Clothes, Upholstery and Carpet.” Today.com. Feb. 22, 2017 (Aug. 1, 2018) https://www.today.com/home/how-remove-lipstick-stains-t108129
  • Kerr, Jolie. “Here’s How to Never Worry About Grease Stains Again.” April 8, 2016 (Aug. 1, 2018) https://www.esquire.com/style/advice/a43771/grease-stains/
  • Leverette, Mary Marlowe. “Office Emergency Stain Removal Kit for Clothes.” The Spruce. June 5, 2018 (Aug. 1, 2018). https://www.thespruce.com/office-emergency-stain-removal-kit-2147143
  • Real Simple. “How to Remove a Red Wine Stain.” 2018 (Aug. 1, 2018) https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/cleaning-stain-removal/remove-red-wine-stain
  • SFGate. “How to Get Grease Out of Pillowcases.” 2018 (Aug. 1, 2018) https://homeguides.sfgate.com/grease-out-pillowcases-74875.html
  • Shea, Taylor. “8 Common Items That Remove Blood Stains.” Reader’s Digest. 2018 (Aug. 1, 2018) https://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/how-to-remove-blood-stains/
  • Smith, Lauren. “How to Get Ink Out of Clothes.” Good Housekeeping. Nov. 13, 2017 (Aug. 1, 2018) https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a24006/removing-ink-stains/
  • Taylor, James. “Best Tips on How to Clean Shirt Collars.” The Shirt Collar. Nov. 24, 2015 (Aug. 1, 2018) http://theshirtcollar.com/best-tips-on-how-to-clean-shirt-collars/

FAQ

What is the best way to remove oil stains from clothing?

One of the most effective ways to remove oil stains from clothing is to use dish soap. First, apply the dish soap directly onto the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, use a toothbrush or a soft-bristled brush to scrub the stain gently. Rinse the clothing with warm water and check to see if the stain is gone. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process until it disappears. Another option is to apply baking soda onto the stain before adding the dish soap.

How can I get rid of red wine stains?

To remove red wine stains from clothing, first, blot the stain with a clean cloth to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Then, mix a solution of one part white vinegar and two parts water and apply it to the stain. Let the solution sit for 15-20 minutes before washing the clothing as usual. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process until it disappears. Another option is to use salt to absorb the wine before applying the vinegar solution.

What is the best way to remove ink stains from clothing?

One effective way to remove ink stains from clothing is to use rubbing alcohol. First, apply the rubbing alcohol onto the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, use a clean cloth to blot the stain gently. Rinse the clothing with warm water and check to see if the stain is gone. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process until it disappears. Another option is to use hairspray or vinegar instead of rubbing alcohol.

How can I remove grass stains from clothing?

To remove grass stains from clothing, mix a solution of equal parts water and vinegar and apply it to the stain. Let the solution sit for 10-15 minutes before washing the clothing as usual. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process until it disappears. Another option is to use a mixture of baking soda and water to create a paste that can be applied to the stain before washing.

What is the best way to remove blood stains from clothing?

One effective way to remove blood stains from clothing is to use hydrogen peroxide. First, apply the hydrogen peroxide onto the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, use a clean cloth to blot the stain gently. Rinse the clothing with cold water and check to see if the stain is gone. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process until it disappears. Another option is to use a mixture of salt and cold water to create a paste that can be applied to the stain before washing.

How can I remove sweat stains from clothing?

To remove sweat stains from clothing, mix a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar and apply it to the stain. Let the solution sit for 30 minutes before washing the clothing as usual. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process until it disappears. Another option is to use a mixture of baking soda and water to create a paste that can be applied to the stain before washing.

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