How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (2023)

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 soft-bristled brush (old toothbrush)
  • 1 to 2microfiber cloths
  • 1 laundry sink or washer
  • 1 set measuring cups and spoons


  • 1 bottle dishwashing liquid with degreaser
  • 1 bottle distilled white vinegar
  • 1 bottle isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
  • 1 bottle hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 container heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • 1 container cornstarch or baby powder
  • 1 container table salt
  • 1 box baking soda


How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (1)

How to Remove Oil and Grease Stains

Oil stains should be treated as soon as possible by sprinkling the fabric with a thick layer of cornstarch or baby powder to help absorb the oil. This can often make the stain disappear and, if not, will make stain removal later much easier.

  1. Blot the Stain

    • Use a paper towel to blot oily drips.
    • If there are greasy solids on the fabric, lift them away with the edge of a credit card or a dull knife.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (2)

  2. Treat with Dishwashing Liquid

    • Lay the garment on a flat surface and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the stain.
    • Rub the stain remover into the fabric with your fingers or an old toothbrush until the fabric is completely saturated.
    • Let it sit for at least 10 minutes - up to an hour is even better to give the dishwashing liquid time to begin breaking apart the stain molecules so you can flush them away from the fabric.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (3)

    (Video) How to Remove Stains From Clothes At Home Better Than The Dry Cleaner
  3. Rinse and Wash

    • Finally, rinse the fabric in warm water if you can't wash the garment right away.
    • If you can toss it directly in the washing machine, no need to rinse it.
    • After washing, make sure the stain is completely gone before you move the garment to the dryer. The high heat can permanently set the grease stain.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (4)

How to Remove Red Wine Stains

Red wine will come out of clothes but the stains can be stubborn.If possible, treat the stain immediately—and never put a wine-stained fabric in a hot dryer, as the heat will set the stain and make removal almost impossible.

  1. Blot and Absorb the Stain

    • Begin by blotting the fresh stain with a paper towel.
    • Sprinkle table salt generously onto the stain to help absorb the wine.
    • Let it sit on a fresh wine stain for at least one hour.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (5)

  2. Mix a Vinegar and Laundry Detergent Solution

    • In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup of distilled whitevinegarand one teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent. The vinegar neutralizes the red and purple pigments in the wine, while the detergent helps clean the fabric.
    • Apply the mixture to the stain with a soft-bristled brush.
    • Slip the garment or table linen into a plastic bag and let it sit overnight.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (6)

  3. Rinse and Wash

    • Rinse the area with cool water.
    • If the stain is gone, you should wash the garment as you usually would.
    • If the stain remains, repeat the steps.


If the vinegar hasn't removed the stains, try a mixture of 3 partshydrogen peroxideand 1 part dishwashing liquid. Pour the mixture onto the stain and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Wash the garment immediately or rinse it with cold water. Note that this is recommended for white or light-colored fabrics only.

How to Remove Grass Stains

Grass stains are a mixture of proteins from the dirt, but mostly they are made of chlorophyll from the plant. Chlorophyll produces a dye stain that is tough to remove.

  1. Soak the Stain in Vinegar

    • Pour enough white vinegar into a small bowl to submerge the stain area of the clothes.
    • Allow the stain to sit and soak for 30 minutes.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (7)

  2. Scrub with Baking Soda Paste

    • If the grass stain remains after soaking in vinegar, make a paste of 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of water.
    • Spread the paste on the stain, and scrub with an old toothbrush.
    • Let the paste work for at least 15 minutes.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (8)

  3. Rinse and Wash the Garment

    • Rinse the area with cool water.
    • Wash the garment as you usually would.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (9)

How to Remove Ink Stains

Ink stains can be puzzling because some types of ink - like washable markers and ballpoint ink - come out easily while permanent marker stains take much more effort.

  1. Protect the Rest of the Garment

    Before you begin, place a piece of cardboard or an absorbent microfiber cloth underneath the stained portion of your garment. As the ink dissolves, it can stain other areas of the garment.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (10)

  2. Treat the Stain with Rubbing Alcohol

    • Place a small amount of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol on a paper towel or cloth. A cotton swab works great for treating small stains.
    • Work from the outside of the stain toward the center to keep it from spreading.
    • Work slowly.
    • As the ink is transferred onto the microfiber cloth, move to a clean area to prevent re-staining the garment. Add more alcohol to the cloth as needed.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (11)

  3. Rinse the Fabric and Wash

    • Once the ink is gone, rinse the fabric in cool water.
    • Rub a small amount of heavy-duty laundry detergent into the treated area.
    • Let it work for 5 to 10 minutes before washing the garment.
    • Repeat the steps if needed. Do not place an ink-stained garment in the clothes dryer.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (12)

How to Remove Coffee and Tea Stains

Coffee and tea contain tannins that leave stains in our favorite mugs and on our clothes. In addition to the discoloration, the oily component of cream and other flavorings make stain removal even more difficult.

  1. Blot and Rinse

    • As soon as possible, blot the stain with a white paper towel or cloth.
    • Hold the stained area under a faucet of cold water and rinse the area.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (13)

    (Video) Stain Removal 101: How to Clean Common Stains

  2. Pretreat the Stain

    • Dab the stain with a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent or dishwashing liquid.
    • Gently work the stain remover into the fabric with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush and allow it to work for at least 10 minutes before washing.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (14)

  3. Wash the Garment

    • Wash the garment as usual.
    • Check the stained area before placing the item in the dryer and repeat the steps if necessary.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (15)

How to Remove Blood Stains

Accidents happen and sometimes result in blood stains on clothes or sheets. Fortunately, if you act quickly most blood stains can be removed easily. It is best to wear protective gloves when treating blood stains to reduce your exposure to bacteria.

  1. Flush the Stain

    Flush the fresh or dried blood stain with cold water by holding the fabric inside out directly under a cold, running faucet.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (16)

  2. Treat the Stain

    • Place a small amount of heavy-duty liquid laundrydetergenton the stain.
    • Work the detergent into the stain with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush.
    • Allow the detergent to work for fifteen minutes and thenwash as recommended on the care label.
    • Check the stained area after washing, and do not place it in a machine dryer if the stain remains.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (17)

  3. Use Hydrogen Peroxide

    • If traces of the blood stain remain on white or light-colored clothes, dab the stain with a white cloth dipped in hydrogen peroxide.
    • Blot well and then rinse the fabric under cold water.
    • Wash again using a heavy-duty laundry detergent.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (18)

How to Remove Sweat Stains

Yellow underarm stains and stiff underarm build-up on dark clothes are caused by the interaction between the aluminum in deodorants and body oils and salts. The stains can be removed by following these steps.

  1. Remove Sweat Stains on White Shirts with Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

    • Mix one partbaking soda, one parthydrogen peroxide, and one part water in a small bowl. (A quarter cup of each ingredient is enough to clean one shirt.)
    • Work the mixture into the stained area with an old toothbrush.
    • Allow the paste to work for at least 30 minutes.
    • Wash the shirt as usual with heavy-duty laundry detergent in the warmest water setting that is safe for the fabric.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (19)

    (Video) How to Remove Sweat Stains from White Clothes
  2. Remove Sweat Stains on Dark Shirts with Distilled White Vinegar

    • Mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl.
    • Turn the shirts inside out.
    • Dip an old toothbrush in the solution and scrub the armpit areas thoroughly.
    • Fill a sink or large bucket with cool water. Add one cup ofwhite distilled vinegar.
    • Add the colored shirts. Allow the shirts to soak for at least 30 minutes.
    • Wash the shirts as usual in cool water using a heavy-duty detergent.

    How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes (20)

Additional Tips for Stain Removal

  • Don't rub: If a stain lands on your clothes, avoid the temptation to wipe it away. Blot liquids and lift away solids with a spoon or the edge of a credit card. Wiping pushes the stain deeper into the fabric.
  • Don't start with hot water: Rinse the stained area with cool water first because hot water makes some stains more difficult to remove.
  • Don't wait: Treat stains as quickly as possible and then wash the garment.


  • What is the best household stain remover for clothes?

    Several household cleaners work well to remove stains from clothes. The best product to try is a dishwashing liquid that contains a degreaser. Dawn Ultra, Palmolive Extra Strength, and Seventh Generation Dish Liquid are good stain removers for many types of laundry stains.

  • Does vinegar really get rid of stains?

    Vinegar contains acetic acid that works as a mild bleaching agent on light-colored clothes to remove tannins contained in many food stains that discolor the fabric. Vinegar does not work well to remove oily or greasy stains.

  • Can I use laundry detergent to treat stains?

    (Video) How To Remove Common Stains

    One of the easiest ways to remove stains on clothes is to pretreat the stain with a dab of liquid laundry detergent. Work the detergent into the fabric with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush. Let the detergent begin breaking apart the stain for about 15 minutes before you wash the clothes.


How to Remove Common Stains From Clothes? ›

Sponge the stained area with a dry-cleaning solvent; let it air-dry. Soak the stain in a solution of one cup of liquid laundry detergent and a few drops of ammonia (Caution: Never mix chlorine bleach and ammonia - the resulting fumes are hazardous) for at least 30 minutes. Launder using liquid laundry detergent.

How do you get random stains out of clothes? ›

“Use a solution of 50 percent vinegar and 50 percent water on the stain. Apply liberally and then treat with laundry soap and water. “DO NOT put the garment in the dryer until you have seen that the stain is gone,” he warns.

How do you get stains out of clothes after they've been washed? ›

Douse the stain with white vinegar, then apply a paste made of equal parts baking soda and vinegar. If this doesn't work, immerse the item overnight in a bucket of water containing a few tablespoons of detergent and vinegar. Rinse and wash the following morning.

How do you treat common stains? ›

How to Remove Common Stains Safely and Effectively
  1. Cover the stain with clear liquid dish soap (if your dish soap isn't clear, dilute it with water first).
  2. Soak the area with cold water.
  3. Rub the water and soap into the stain with a toothbrush.
  4. Rinse with white vinegar.
Sep 1, 2020

Will baking soda and vinegar remove stains from clothes? ›

Vinegar and baking soda are your best friends when it comes to stains. Most stains can be lifted by making a paste with vinegar and baking soda, rubbing it on the stain, and letting it sit for about half an hour. This works great for yellow underarm stains and old stains, as well as most food and drink stains.

Why do some of my clothes come out with stains? ›

Detergent is supposed to help remove stains, but sometimes it leaves a mark (or two) of its own. If a washing machine is overloaded or detergent is not properly loaded, it won't properly dissolve in water – meaning it ends up on your clothes instead.

Do all stains eventually come out? ›

The short answer is unfortunately no, not all stains can be removed, and here are three reasons why. The longer a stain is left untreated, the less likely it is to be removed.

What is the hardest stain to remove? ›

But for these 8 hardest and stubborn stains to remove, you would be needing more than that to get rid of them.
  • Hot Cocoa. ...
  • Poop. ...
  • Blood. ...
  • Permanent Marker. ...
  • Tomato Sauce. ...
  • Grass Stains. ...
  • Red Wine. ...
  • Chocolate.
Mar 14, 2020

Can you use Dawn dish soap to get stains out of clothes? ›

Dish soap can be applied to stains before you run the wash, to better prevent them from settling into the fabric. Handwashing small loads: Dawn® Platinum can help remove stubborn oil and food stains, making it an ideal option for handwashing small loads of laundry.

Is it possible to remove stains after drying? ›

Dried Stains

Once a stain has been dried it's very hard to remove, but it is possible. If you've already used a stain remover, try using it again. More than likely you'll need to soak the stain or use a more aggressive stain remover. On white clothes, try using lemon juice and placing the garment in the sun.

Why some stains can't be removed? ›

Unfortunately for everyone, some stains are permanent. They simply become part of the fabric. Continued attempts to remove them will cause dye loss or fabric damage, known as chafing or fraying. Many stains are removed by the dry cleaning machine and require no additional effort from the cleaner.

Does hydrogen peroxide remove stains? ›

Oxidizable stains are usually brightly colored, such as juice. These stains are removed by using a bleaching agent, for example, hydrogen peroxide. These oxidizing agents break down the color-causing components of chemical structures so that the stain becomes invisible!

What are all stains permanently set by? ›

Heat can set stains permanently. Once you toss the item into the dryer, the stain is set for good. If the stain remains after the first wash, pre-treat and wash again before drying to try and remove the stain. 5.

How long do you leave baking soda and vinegar on a stain? ›

The acetic acid in vinegar acts as a disinfectant and reacts with the baking soda to lift stains. This combination is also great for brightening whites. With a little bit of scrubbing and leaving the paste to set for 30 minutes, I was able to almost remove the stains completely from my white jeans.

Is vinegar or baking soda better for stains? ›

Well, that would depend on its intended use. For instance, vinegar is potent at fighting mold while baking soda is great at fighting wine and coffee stains. The former is a better disinfectant but the latter is a phenomenal deodorizer.

How long to soak clothes in vinegar to remove stains? ›

Stain Removal: As a stain remover, vinegar is effective at treating low-pH stains like coffee, tea, fruit juice, wine, and beer. To use it, soak the stained item for 30 minutes up to overnight in a solution of white vinegar and 1 Tbsp. liquid laundry detergent prior to laundering.

Can stains on clothes be permanent? ›

If a stain has set in the fabric for a while without treatment, it may not be removable, especially if it's a grease or oil-based product like salad dressing and many cosmetics. The best way to prevent stains from becoming permanent is to treat them immediately.

Why do my clothes have weird spots after washing? ›

Most often, detergents leave marks behind on your clothes for one of two reasons: You overloaded your washing machine with clothes and soap. You didn't distribute the detergent properly.

Does washing clothes inside out still remove stains? ›

During a typical day of wear, clothing comes into contact with our bodies as they move and sweat, leaving them in dire need of washing. By turning your items inside out in the washing machine you can ensure that these sweat stains are coming in as close a contact with the detergent as possible.

What stain Cannot be removed? ›

Greasy / Oil Stains – such as hand lotion, hair mousse, lard and butter. Oxidisable Stains – key ingredient in alcoholic drinks, coffee and tea (without milk) and soft drinks. Particulate Stains – such as mud and ground in dirt. Combination Stains – these stains can be a mix of two or more of the above stain types.

What is most common for stain removing? ›

1. Chlorine Bleach and Color-Safe Bleach. Diluted household bleach is one of the most effective stain removers for clothes and linens. Always check clothing labels for directions on the use of bleach.

Do stains come out in hot or cold? ›

Typically, cold water works great on blood, as well as food, beverages and water-based paint, while hot water works best on protein-based stains. Unfortunately, there's no golden rule to stain removal. For example, most food stains should be soaked in cold water, unless it's egg, mustard or a tomato-based product.

What removes stains instantly? ›

Apply isopropyl alcohol to the stain and blot with a clean napkin or cloth, according to Good Housekeeping. You might want to place a paper towel under the fabric to prevent the alcohol from soaking through. You should see the stain start to dissolve almost immediately.

How do you get stains out of light colored clothes? ›

Vinegar is your best friend when learning how to get sweat stains out of coloured shirts, tops, and clothes. Soak your item in a large bowl filled with 1-part white vinegar and 1-part water for 30 minutes. Wash with a strong detergent like OMO to finish.

Are some clothing stains permanent? ›

Unfortunately for everyone, some stains are permanent. They simply become part of the fabric. Continued attempts to remove them will cause dye loss or fabric damage, known as chafing or fraying. Many stains are removed by the dry cleaning machine and require no additional effort from the cleaner.


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