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How to Remove Tough Stains From Your Clothes

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Getting stains off of your clothes doesn't have to be difficult.

Getting stains off of your clothes doesn't have to be difficult.

Stains Don't Have to Be Annoying

Most of us have trouble removing stains from our clothes. However, if you take action immediately, they can be easy to remove. The longer you let the stain be, the tougher it will be to remove, so it's important to act quickly.

When trying to get it off, blot gently. Do not rub the stain, as doing so will only make matters worse—especially if you do so with hot water. Once you know how to handle and remove stains from fabric, doing the laundry should no longer be a tedious chore. You can still look good without having to buy new clothes!

Methods for Removing Stains

  1. Don't Use Hot Water
  2. Try Milk to Remove Ink
  3. Try Saliva for Bloodstains
  4. Use Detergent Soaks for Tea Stains
  5. Act Quickly to Remove Curry
  6. Soak Jam Stains in Borax
  7. How to Remove Fruit, Tomato, and Spaghetti Stains
  8. Use Glycerin for Grass
  9. Try Vaseline for Lipstick
  10. How to Remove Deodorant Stains
  11. Use Vinegar for Urine
  12. Remember Nail Polish Remover
  13. How to Remove Paint Stains

Don't Use Hot Water to Remove Stains

Remember to treat the offending stain first before you put your clothes in the washing machine. Stains set with hot water are difficult, if not impossible, to remove. If stain remains after washing, you'll have to wash it again. If it doesn't come off in the wash, the heat from the dryer can set the stains, making them a permanent part of your clothes' designs!

Use Milk to Get Ink Out of Your Clothes

If you get a stain from the ink of a fountain pen, soak the affected part of your clothes in milk, and then wash the clothes as usual.

For ballpoint pen and felt-tip market stains, dissolve stain in methylated spirit. Use a clean cotton bud to avoid transferring the ink mark. Follow up with a normal wash.

If you get a stain from a marking pen or Indian ink, try using WD-40. Spray WD-40 onto the stain. Then wrap it with plastic food wrap and set aside for five minutes. Add a few drops of liquid detergent to a bowl of warm water and use this mixture to "sponge" the stain.

Saliva Can Help Remove a Small Blood Stain

It's easy to remove a small spot of blood from your clothes if you do it immediately. Make a tiny ball out of cotton thread, chew it, and then use it to sponge the spot of blood. The saliva in the cotton thread will dissolve the blood.

If the stain is bigger, soak the spot in the cold, salty water. Keep rinsing with more salty water until the water runs clear. Then, wash as usual.

For old and stubborn blood stains, soak the clothes overnight in a solution of biological washing powder and then wash as usual. Do not use hot water.

Remove stains as soon as possible to make cleaning easier.

Remove stains as soon as possible to make cleaning easier.

Use a Detergent Soak to Get Rid of Tea Stains

You can remove light tea stains by soaking the clothes in detergent. If the stain is stubborn, sponge it with a solution of one pint of warm water mixed with one tablespoon of borax, or two tablespoons of household ammonia. You can follow similar steps if you have a fresh coffee or hot cocoa stain.

Act Quickly to Remove Curry Stains

Curry, especially curry oil, must be removed immediately. Sprinkle talcum powder over the stain to soak up some of the oil. Shake off the powder and then soak it in a solution of water and borax.

Get the Jam Off of Your Kids' Clothes

If your kids love to rub jam all over their clothes, don't worry! Just soak the clothes in a warm borax solution and then wash as usual.

Try to get tomato and fruit stains off of your clothes as soon as possible.

Try to get tomato and fruit stains off of your clothes as soon as possible.

Remove Fruit, Tomato Sauce, and Spaghetti Sauce Stains

Take immediate action to remove stains from fruit such as beetroot, tomato, and spaghetti sauce stains. For strong materials like washable linen and cotton, put the affected material in a basin and pour boiling water directly onto the stain.

For delicate fabrics, wash the item of clothing in cold water first. Then, rub glycerin into the stain and leave for an hour or so to lift the stain off of the affected area. Wash out with detergent and warm water

Treat non-washable materials carefully in order not to spread the stain. Soak in glycerin for several hours and then sponge with liquid detergent and water.

Use Glycerin or Methylated Spirit to Remove Grass Stains

If you get grass stains from working in the garden, or if your kids get them from playing in the field, you know how tough it is to remove them. Next time you have this problem, try one of the following methods.

For cotton, sponge the stain with neat methylated spirit. For nylon and rayon, use a solution of half-half water and methylated spirit. Wash normally.

You can also rub glycerin onto the stain. Set it aside for an hour, and then wash as usual.

A Little Vaseline Can Get Lipstick Out

Got lipstick on your clothes? Don't worry! Just use a knife to scrape off as much of the lipstick, then rub in Vaseline or glycerin to loosen the stain. Afterward, wash normally.

You Can Even Remove Deodorant Stains From Your Clothes

If you have a sweat or deodorant stain on your clothes, don't wait too long before removing it, as these stains can damage the fabric.

There are three ways to treat perspiration and deodorant stains.

  1. Soak the affected part of your clothes in a solution of one part ammonia to three parts water.
  2. Sponge the stain with white vinegar.
  3. Soak the clothes in a detergent solution. Allow it to stand for about 10 minutes.

After taking any one of these steps, wash according to the instructions on the label.

Vinegar and Water Work Wonders Against Urine

Wash the clothes in warm water. Sponge any remaining stains with a solution of vinegar and water (1 tablespoon of vinegar to every pint of water).

Use Nail Polish Remover to Get the Nail Polish Out

If you get nail polish stain, nail polish remover works safely and quite effectively on all fabrics except rayon and tricel. Try it out!

Make sure to remove paint stains while the paint is still wet.

Make sure to remove paint stains while the paint is still wet.

Get Paint Off Your Clothes Before It Dries

Paint can be hard to get out of your clothes, but it can be done if you work quickly.

Water-Based Paint Stains

Rinse your clothes in warm water while the paint is still wet. Then, wash as usual.

Oil-Based Paint Stains

Treat the paint with the same thinner that's recommended on the paint can's label. If the recommended thinner is not available, use turpentine. Rinse and pretreat the fabric with laundry detergent. Rinse again, then wash as usual.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 Mazlan A


Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on September 04, 2018:

Hi Kian

Thanks for sharing these tips. Cheers.

Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on September 03, 2016:

Hi, CYong74 . Thanks for dropping by and commenting and do let us know of your success in removing sweat stains.

Ced Yong from Asia on September 03, 2016:

Very useful info. Going to try the suggestions for sweat stains.

Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on June 28, 2016:

Hi, Carol. You are welcome.

Carol Morris on June 23, 2016:

Thanks for the great info. Now, just to get off HP and start cleaning those stains....

judalyn eres from cebu city, philippines on June 18, 2015:

wow, let me try it

Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on July 04, 2012:

@Vesiko. Thanks for these infos. Yes, it sounds strange that you have to 'waste' a white wine to remove red wine stain! Thanks also for the tip on removing fat stain. Really appreciate your input and sharing these informations.

Vesiko on July 02, 2012:

I can add more, I think it will be useful for you. For example, red wine stains you can remove as you pull over white wine. I know it sounds ridiculous but it really works. And then if it is a fat stain you should put some salt over it before you wash it.

Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on July 01, 2012:

@CyberShelley, thanks for sharing this tip. I am sure that is a common problem for most people. Thanks also for the votes

Shelley Watson on July 01, 2012:

Hi greatstuff, Thanks for this, I had to look up a method for getting chewing gum off clothing today. The answer was place garment in a plastic bag in the freezer. One gum has hardened you can pick it off - any marks can be cleaned off with white vinegar.

Thanks for the hub, voted up and useful!

Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on July 01, 2012:

@Heather Jacobs, Thank you for your kind comment. Have a great day!

Heather Jacobs on June 30, 2012:

Great info! I always panic when I find stains. Yesterday I got lemon juice all down the front of my new (of course) pants and had a small fit! Thanks for Sharing!