Best Laundry Stain Removal Tips and Tricks

Laundry stains can be a real headache, especially when they seem impossible to remove. But with these laundry stain removal tips and tricks, you can disappear even the most stubborn stains!

Shirt with large red wine stain

Common Types of Stains

Knowing how to get rid of laundry, stains requires knowing what caused them. Here are some of the typical stains you’ll encounter in the laundry.

Food Stains

Food stains can be anything from tomato sauce, wine, and chocolate to oils and coffee. These stains can be particularly stubborn and become permanent if not treated properly.

Grass and Mud Stains

If you or your family spend much time outdoors, grass and mud stains are practically inevitable. These stains can be hard to remove because of to their green or brown pigmentation.

Ink Stains

Ink stains are common, especially if you accidentally drop a pen or forget to take it out of your pocket before washing your clothes. These stains can leave behind dark, blotchy marks that need immediate attention.

Sweat Stains

Perspiration can leave yellowish stains on clothing, particularly under arms and around the collar. These stains can be tough to remove if not treated promptly.

Pre-Treating Stains

Pre-treating stains is very important in stain removal. These methods can work wonders. And you can make your own homemade DIY laundry stain remover.

  • Cold Water Rinse: For fresh stains, rinse the fabric under cold water and rub detergent into it.
  • Dish Soap: Apply a small amount of dish soap directly to the stain, gently rubbing it in with your fingers or a soft brush. Let it sit for a few minutes before putting it in the washer or hand washing, as per the instructions.
  • Vinegar: Mix equal parts vinegar and water and soak the stained area for 15-20 minutes before washing. Vinegar helps break down stains and neutralizes odors.

Homemade Stain Removal Solutions

If you prefer using natural or simple ingredients, there are several homemade stain removal solutions you can create using items you probably already have in your pantry:

  • Baking Soda Paste: Mix baking soda with a small amount of water to create a paste. Apply it directly to the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing.
  • Lemon Juice: Lemon juice acts as a natural bleach and can be effective in removing stains. Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before washing.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Dilute hydrogen peroxide with water (1:1 ratio) and apply it directly to the stain. Let it sit for 10 minutes before washing.

Specialized Stain Removal Techniques

Certain stains require specific treatments to achieve optimal results. Here are some specialized stain removal techniques:

Red Wine Stains

To tackle red wine stains, follow these steps:

  1. Blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove excess liquid.
  2. Sprinkle salt or baking soda on the stain to absorb any remaining wine.
  3. Rinse the fabric with cold water and apply a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and dish soap.
  4. Let the solution sit for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly before washing as usual.

Grease Stains

Grease stains require a different approach:

  1. Place an absorbent cloth or paper towel under the stained fabric to prevent the grease from spreading.
  2. Apply dish soap directly to the stain and gently rub it in.
  3. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
  4. Repeat the process if necessary before washing.

Ink Stains

Dealing with ink stains can be tricky, but these steps can help:

  1. Dab the stain with rubbing alcohol using a clean cloth or cotton ball.
  2. Blot the stain gently, ensuring you don’t spread the ink further.
  3. Rinse with cold water and apply a mixture of dish soap and hydrogen peroxide.
  4. Let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing and washing as usual.

General Stain Removal Guide

Candle Wax & CrayonsRub with ice and scrape off excess wax. Place stain between paper towels and press with warm iron. Then place stain face down on paper towels and sponge with rubbing alcohol, if safe for fabric (refer to WARNING above). Let dry, wash. If traces of color remain, wash with commercial color remover (Rit, Putnam,* etc.) or, if safe for the fabric, hot water and chlorine bleach.

Laundry StainsMethods to Remove
CoffeeApply liquid laundry detergent and gently rub into the stain, rinse with cold water, then wash as usual.
BloodRinse with cold water immediately, apply hydrogen peroxide if available, then wash as usual.
GrassPre-treat the stain with detergent, then wash with the hottest water safe for the fabric.
ChocolateGently scrape off excess chocolate, apply liquid laundry detergent, and rinse with cold water, then wash as usual.
SweatPre-soak in a mix of warm water and salt or vinegar before washing.
LipstickRub dish soap into the stain and rinse with cold water, then wash as usual.
MudLet the mud dry and brush off as much as you can, then pre-soak in a detergent solution before washing.
Chewing GumRub the gum with ice and scrape it off. Sponge the stain with a pretreat.
Candle Wax & CrayonsRub the wax with ice and scrape off as much as possible. Put it between two paper towels and go over it with an iron on a warm setting. Then sponge over the stains with rubbing alcohol. Wash like usual.

Preventing Future Stains

Prevention is key when it comes to avoiding stubborn stains. Here are some tips to help you keep your clothes stain-free:

  • Treat Stains Immediately: The sooner you tackle a stain, the easier it will be to remove.
  • Read Care Labels: Follow the instructions on your clothing’s care labels to ensure you use the appropriate cleaning methods.
  • Use Stain Repellents: Try using stain repellent sprays on delicate or easily stained fabrics to create a protective barrier.
  • Separate Colors: Sort your laundry into whites, lights, and darks to prevent color bleeding and staining.