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How to Remove 20 Common Stains From Clothes

October 14, 2023

Stains and spills can happen when you least expect them—whether you’re pouring yourself a drink or cooking yourself a meal. Fortunately, it’s possible to get these stains out of your clothes. If anything, you just have to follow the right steps.

The type of stain matters as well. For example, protein-based stains (e.g. blood) and grease stains (e.g. motor oil) should be treated differently.

What are the steps involved? What product should you use? For the answers, be sure to keep reading—we’ll be going over how to remove some of the most common stains from clothes below.

How to Remove Grease Stains From Clothes

how to remove grease stains from clothesUse a spoon or a dull knife to scrape off the excess grease. Lay the garment flat and place a piece of cardboard underneath the stained fabric; that will prevent it from transferring onto other areas while you remove it.

Sprinkle a generous amount of cornstarch or baking soda onto the stained area. Using your finger, gently rub the powder into the fabric; the powder should turn brown as soon as it absorbs the grease. Scrape off the first layer of powder and add more cornstarch or baking soda to the stain. Let it sit on the fabric for 15 minutes before rinsing it with cool water.

Removing Oil Stains From Fabric

how to remove oil stains fabricUse a clean cloth or paper towel to remove any excess oil. Make sure to blot and not rub- the latter can set the stain in the fabric.

Apply a generous amount of baking soda onto the stain and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. The powder will begin to clump as it absorbs the oil. Brush the baking soda away afterward (you can also vacuum the affected area).

Mix one part white vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle and apply it to the stained area. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the fabric and rinse with cool water afterward.

Best Way to Get Coffee Stains Out of Clothes

how to remove coffee stains from clothesRinse the coffee stain with cool water. Continue to rinse for 5 to 10 minutes, until the water runs clear. Fill a bowl at least halfway with water and mix in a small amount of ACTIVE detergent. You’ll have to swish the water a few times to help the powder dissolve.

Using a sponge, apply the detergent mixture onto the coffee stain. Let it sit on the fabric for 5 to 10 minutes. Scrub the stained area gently with a soft-bristled brush and rinse the fabric thoroughly with water afterward.

How to Remove Blood Stains From Clothes

blood stain removal fabricRemove any excess blood with a clean cloth or paper towel. Next, pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide (3 percent solution) on the stain and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. It’ll start to fizz up on the fabric.

Blot the stained area with a clean paper towel. Rub the area gently with a damp microfiber cloth afterward until the stain is gone. Make sure to work from the outside of the stain to the inside- that will prevent it from spreading.

Rinse the area under cold, running water to rinse off the hydrogen peroxide.

Tips for Removing Red Wine Stains

how to remove red wine stains clothesSprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda on the red wine stain. Let it sit for a few minutes; the powder will begin to clump as it absorbs the liquid.

Alternatively, you can pour white vinegar over the stain after covering it with baking soda; it’ll start to bubble within a few seconds. The two will work together to lift the stain from the fabric. Use a damp cloth to blot away the excess vinegar and baking soda and rinse the fabric with cold water.

If that doesn’t work, and the stain is still visible, you can sprinkle a generous amount of kosher salt onto the stain. Leave it on the fabric overnight and it’ll help soak up the wine pigment. Rinse with cold water afterward.

Best Method to Get Deodorant Stains Out of Shirts

how to get rid of deodorant stains shirtsMix three parts baking soda to one part water in a bowl- you should end up with a thick paste. Using your finger or a soft-bristled brush, apply the mixture onto the stain. Gently rub it into the fabric.

Let the paste sit on the stained area for two to three hours before rinsing with water. If the deodorant stain has vanished, you can wash the garment as normal.

If the stain is still visible, you can try soaking the fabric in white vinegar for one to two hours. Gently brush the stained area with an old toothbrush afterward and rinse with cold water.

Ways to Remove Makeup Stains From Clothes

how to remove makeup stains from clothingRemove as much excess makeup as possible using a dull knife or spoon. For dry powders such as rouge and bronzers, you can use a lint roller to remove the powder.

Mix a small amount of ACTIVE detergent with water in a bowl and apply it to the makeup stain. Gently work it into the fabric using a soft-bristled brush or your finger.

Let the soapy mixture sit on the fabric for 15 to 20 minutes. Scrub the stain lightly with the brush afterward and rinse with hot water. If the stain is still visible, you can try soaking the garment in a color-safe bleach solution.

Get Lipstick Stains Off of Fabric

how to get lipstick stains out of clothesApply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to an inconspicuous area on the fabric to make sure they’re compatible. If the rubbing alcohol doesn’t damage the fabric, proceed with the steps below.

Remove any solids with the edge of a credit card or dull knife. Saturate a clean cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and use it to blot the stain. Be careful not to rub the area as that can spread the spot further.

Rinse out the rubbing alcohol with cold water after blotting.

Removing Grass Stains From Pants

how to remove grass stains clothingCombine a small amount of ACTIVE detergent with water in a small bowl or spray bottle. Agitate the water or shake the bottle to help dissolve the powder.

Saturate the stained area with the detergent and gently work it into the fabric with your fingers. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes; that will give the enzymes time to remove the grass stain.

Check the stained area. If the spot is gone, you can throw it in the washer as normal. If it’s still visible, consider soaking the garment in an oxygen bleach solution for a few hours before rinsing it with water.

Best Way to Remove Mud Stains From Fabric

remove mud stains on clothesDry mud is easier to work with than wet mud so let it dry before you start cleaning. Once it’s dry, scrape the dried mud off with the edge of a spoon or a dull knife. Try to remove as much of it as possible.

Fill a sink at least halfway with water and mix in a small amount of ACTIVE detergent. Wait until the powder is completely dissolved before rubbing the detergent mixture into the stain. Let it sit on the fabric for 15 to 20 minutes.

Rinse with cool water afterward. Once the stain is gone, you can wash the garment as normal.

How to Remove Toothpaste Stains From Clothes

how to get rid of toothpaste stains clothesUse the edge of a spoon or a butter knife to remove any remaining toothpaste from the fabric. Create a solution using two parts water and one part white vinegar. Saturate a clean cloth or towel with the solution and gently blot the stain. Do not rub the area.

Let the fabric sit for a couple of minutes before blotting it away with a dry rag. Rinse with cool water afterward.

If the stain is still visible, you can try using lemon juice. Slice a lemon in half and rub the pulp on the stained fabric before rinsing the area under running water.

How to Get Ketchup Stains Out of Clothing

how to get ketchup stains out of clothingUse a clean paper towel to remove the excess ketchup. If the ketchup has dried, scrape it off with the edge of a spoon or butter knife.

Fill a smaller container with cool water and mix in a bit of ACTIVE detergent. Ensure the powder is completely dissolved and pour the solution onto the stain. Gently work it into the cloth using your finger or a soft-bristled brush.

Let the detergent solution sit on the fabric for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing the garment with cold water. Repeat the above steps if the stain is still visible.

Working Methods to Remove Blueberry Stains

how to remove blueberry stains clothesBlot the blueberry stain with a wet paper towel. Remove any solids that are on the fabric and rinse the stained area with cold water.

In a small bowl, mix baking soda with a small amount of water- you should end up with a thick paste. Apply the baking soda paste to the stain using your fingers and let it sit on the garment for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the paste using a dull knife. Be careful not to damage the fabric.

Blot the stain again with a damp paper towel to get rid of any remaining color. Rinse the stain under the faucet until the water runs clear.

Fruit Juice Stain Removal Tips

best way to remove fruit juice stainsScrape away any seeds or pulp from the fabric using a spoon or dull knife. Be gentle; you don’t want to damage the fibers.

Create a thick paste by mixing two to three tablespoons of baking soda or borax with one tablespoon of water. Using your fingers, apply an even layer over the stained area- you want to cover it completely.

Leave the paste on the fabric for 15 to 20 minutes. The paste will absorb the fruit juices’ pigment as it dries.

Rinse the paste off with cool water afterward. Gently rub the fabric with your fingers to loosen the powder, if necessary.

How to Get Ink Stains Off Shirts

how to remove ink stains from shirtsBlot away the excess ink with a clean paper towel. Place a piece of cardboard or towel underneath the stain and pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol over the area. Let the stained area soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

Using another paper towel, continue blotting and sponging until no more ink is released from the area. Rinse the garment under cold water and check to see if the stain is removed.

If the stain is still visible, you can try applying a paste made with two parts baking soda and one part water. Gently rub it in and rinse with water after a few minutes.

Ways to Remove Chocolate Stains

how to remove chocolate stainsScrape away as much of the leftover chocolate as possible using a butter knife. In a small bowl, mix two parts hydrogen peroxide with one part dish soap. Apply the solution to the stain using a sponge and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before flushing the area with cool water.

Alternatively, you can soak the chocolate-stained area with a color-safe bleach solution. Launder the garment as usual once the stain has vanished.

You can also remove the stain using a paste made of baking soda and water. Using an old toothbrush, gently rub at the stain until it’s gone and rinse with water.

Getting Rid of Stains From Crayons & Wax

crayon stain removal clothesUsing a butter knife, remove as much crayon wax from the fabric as you can. Be careful not to press too hard as you don’t want to push the wax deeper into the fibers. Fill a sink or container with cool water and add a bit of oxygen-based bleach. Soak the garment for 20 to 30 minutes.

Wash the fabric with hot water afterward and allow it to air dry. If the stain is still present, repeat the process.

Tip: To remove melted crayon from the fabric, you’ll want to harden the wax again using an ice pack. Simply place it on top of the fabric for 20 to 30 minutes before soaking.

Removing Paint Stains From Clothes

how to get paint stains out of clothesIf the paint is dry, scrape off as much as you can using a butter knife. Flush the area with cold water. In a small bowl, mix warm water with dish soap in a one-to-one ratio. Dip a sponge into the solution and apply it to the stained area. Repeat until the paint has been removed.

Rinse the garment thoroughly with cool water and launder as usual. If the stain is still visible after rinsing, you can try blotting it with a cotton ball soaked with a bit of acetone.

Best Method to Remove Rust Stains on Clothing

how to remove rust stains clothingPour a small amount of distilled white vinegar over the rust stain and let it sit on the fabric for 15 to 20 minutes. The vinegar’s acidic properties will help dissolve the discoloration caused by the rust.

Blot the stained area with a clean towel afterward and sprinkle a liberal amount of salt over the vinegar-soaked fabric. The salt will make the vinegar more effective by increasing its acidity.

Lay the garment outside after blotting and allow it to dry in the sun; the stain will eventually start to fade.

Best Way to Get Mold Stains Out of Clothes

remove mold stains on clothesTake the garment outside and brush away as much of the visible mold as you can- that way, the spores won’t spread inside your home.

In a small bowl, mix one part white vinegar with three parts water and pour it directly over the stain. You can also use a sponge to apply the solution to the fabric. The key is to completely saturate the stained area with the mixture.

Alternatively, you can soak the stained garment in a vinegar-water solution. Once you’ve pre-treated the fabric with white vinegar, give it a good wash with hot water. The high temperature will kill off any remaining spores on the fabric.

If the mold stain is still visible after soaking with vinegar, you can apply a bleach solution (one-part non-chlorine bleach with three parts water) directly onto the stain using a spray bottle.

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Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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