How to Remove Stains from Clothing
The success of stain removal from clothes depends a lot on what kind of stain you’re trying to remove. Different stains need different methods of removal.
Types of Stains:
The trick in removing the stains is figuring out what category of stain you’re dealing with and then getting to it.
Stains can be generally categorized as:
- Grease and oil
- Protein based such as blood stains
- Organic stains such as juices and dyes
A cautionary note: never put a stained garment in the dryer, it’s better to air dry a garment after treating for a stain just to make sure the stain is really gone.
If you treat a stain and it isn't removed the first time – try again- But don't toss it into the dryer until you are sure the stain is completely gone. Let it air dry first to double check.
Grease and Oil Stains:
- Oily foods like salad dressing
The method for removing these types of stains are listed below:
- Remove the excess food and then spray with laundry prewash and let it sit for half an hour.
- Rub a little laundry detergent into the stain and wait another ten minutes.
- Wash the clothing in hot water, if the fabric can take it.
Protein Based Stains:
- Milk and milk products like ice cream
- Baby Formula
- Many different food stains
- White glue
With protein stains avoid using the dryer and hot water until you know the stain has been removed.
- If the stain is light use a detergent that’s enzyme based, like Tide or Wisk and launder as usual.
- For tougher stains, soak in cold water overnight and then treat with a product like Oxyclean or Spray ‘N Wash to either pretreat the stain or just add it to the water in the washing machine. Then launder as usual.
Juice and Dye:
There are enormous numbers of different juice and dye stains. So remove them as soon as you can. These include:
- Different kinds of juices
- Dyes in foods and beverages – like wine and orange soda
- Jelly, jam, or syrup
- Dyes in medicines
Blot up as much as you can then use one of the following solutions:
- 1/4 cup baking soda and 2 cups of cold water
- 1 teaspoon detergent and 1 teaspoon white vinegar in a quart of cold water
- 1/4 cup mild detergent and a quart of cold water
- 1 cup white vinegar and 3 cups water
Keep blotting with a clean cloth until you get rid of the stain. Wash the clothing in the washer with cold water.
Coffee and Tea Stains:
Are just that – stains from coffee and tea. They often have cream or milk and sugar combined with the coffee and tea which adds another level of difficulty to stain removal from clothes.
Coffee and tea stains can be removed like many food stains. Soak the garment in cold water, pretreat the stain with a little liquid detergent and let it sit, then use a stain stick.
Wash the garment and make sure that the stain is gone before you dry the garment in the dryer.
For the most part, we assume that we won’t be getting pet stains on our clothing, although it happens. Cats can mistake the shirt your son threw in the corner for kitty litter and puppies have accidents on grandma’s lap.
Sometimes we also need to deal with stains caused by humans as well. They include: vomit, urine, feces, and sweat.
Use an enzyme based detergent like Tide or Wisk. Rub it into the stain and let it sit for half an hour. Or, you can soak the garment in a solution of:
- 4 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 cups of water
You can also soak your clothing in half hydrogen peroxide and half water. Then wash as usual, using the enzyme based detergent.
These are just a few ideas for different types of stain removal from clothes. There are others but this is a handy list to keep in your laundry room when you don't know what to do.