Clothes Stain Remover Solutions

Use these clothes stain remover solutions to get rid of any spots you encounter.

A good plan is to have a small cupboard in the laundry where these stain removers for clothes may be kept together with the utensils used for applying them.

Absorbents: Cornmeal, cornstarch, or talcum powder; can be sprinkled on a grease stain, allowed to sit to absorb it, and brushed or vacuumed to remove.

Ammonia: Use the plain kind when you need a mild alkaline solution. Use this clothes stain remover with caution. Never mix chlorine bleach and ammonia. This can cause dangerous fumes.

Bar soap: Rub on fabric softener stains to remove them.

Chlorine bleach: A powerful clothing stain remover for getting rid of spots if the fabric can tolerate it.

Denatured or isopropyl alcohol: Useful for removing stains on water-sensitive fabrics. Check for colorfastness first.

Clothes stain removerDigestant: This clothes stain remover contains enzymes that eat tough protein stains such as food, vomit, and blood. Can be purchased in pure enzyme form from some health food stores or as a laundry presoak. Use warm water. Don’t mix with other chemicals. Enzymes are sensitive. Also, you may need to apply several treatments.

Laundry pretreaters: Available in sprays, liquid, gels, and sticks. Different types work better on different stains.

Neutral detergent: A liquid dishwashing detergent works fine. Use a clear one that has a pH of 7. Mix a light solution of 2 or 3 drops in 1 cup water. Opaque or colored ones may contain dye or skin softeners.

Spot remover: A spot remover (available at supermarkets, hardware stores, or discount department stores) is good for removing oily stains from fabrics that can only be dry-cleaned. It can be used on most fabrics and will not set stains. Watch for flammability.

3 percent hydrogen peroxide: Provides a mild bleaching action for fabrics that can’t tolerate chlorine bleach. Allow time for it to work.

Water: A spray bottle filled with water at room temperature is your best tool. Most stains are water-soluble and nine times out of ten, water will do the trick. Use it to flush the stain and to rinse solvents from the fabric or stained surface.

White Vinegar: Good for stains that call for acid or to neutralize alkaline stains. It will also neutralize smoke odor.

General Rules

For the best results with stain removers for clothes, follow these general rules:

First, try to identify the stain. Look at the color of the stain. Look at the surface. Is it soaked in or crusted on? Crusty stains that turn white when scratched are often sugar-based. If you can identify the stain, look for specific removal instructions in Stain Removal from Clothes A-Z. If you can’t identify the stain, try to learn if it’s a protein stain, an oil-based stain, a tannin stain, a dye stain, or a combination stain (see How to Remove Stains). Certain stains can be set by the wrong treatment. If you can categorize the stain, proceed with an appropriate clothes stain remover treatment.

Wait before you wet. Remove as much of the stain as possible before wetting it with water or cleaning solvent, which will immediately start to dissolve the stain and spread it to other fibers. So blot away liquids and scrape or lift away as much solid residue as possible.

Be wary of heat. The heat of the dryer or even hot water can set stains, so stick to cool or warm water when working on an unknown stain. After laundering, allow stained items to air-dry until you’re sure that the stain has been completely removed. The heat of the dryer will set sugar stains, protein stains, and a host of other stains. The iron will permanently set perspiration stains and bring out a lovely shade of yellow-brown in old sugar stains. There are exceptions, though. Grease and soil stains should be washed with hot water.

Lift the stain out. Never rub a stain. Rubbing abrades textile fibers and carpeting and drives the stain further into the surface. Use the following clothes stain remover methods to effectively pull stains from some fibers and surfaces.

  • Blot fresh stains with clean white cloths.
  • Flush with cool or warm water, or with an appropriate cleaning solvent.
  • Soak in cool water.
  • Freeze the stain and peel or pick off.
  • Tamp with a flat-bristle brush to break up stain particles so that they can be lifted off by cleaner. Tamping is a vertical striking motion, not a back and forth scrubbing motion.

Check the colorfastness before treatment. In an inconspicuous place, such as a seam or hem on clothing, test your fabric for dye bleeding. Apply cleaning solution or pretreater. Let it soak for a few minutes, then blot with a clean white cloth. Look for dye on the cloth or lightening on the fabric. Silk is extremely prone to dye migration. Commercial clothing stain removers may make neon dyes bleed.

Pretreat stains. This can be done using a commercial prewash clothes stain remover (see Commercial Stain Remover A-Z), or by making your own from a liquid laundry detergent, a paste of water and granular detergent, bar soap, or a laundry additive, such as borax.

Be persistent. It may take more than one try to get the stain out. If you see some lightening of the stain on the first attempt. Try again.

Toss it in the washer. Always launder washable items after treating to remove residues of both the stain and the clothes stain remover.

Speed tip: To save yourself time and aggravation when dealing with a stain, remember the first rule of thumb: Deal with it right away. It also helps to:

  • Know where to look for stains. On clothing look at collars, underarm areas, elbows and knees, cuffs, and seams.
  • Mark the spot. If you don’t have time to attack a stain until laundry day, mark it with a piece of masking tape or a Post-it Note before putting it in the hamper.
  • Use the soak cycle on your washer. Soaking does not need to take hours and hours to be effective. The 20- to 30-minute cycle provides an adequate amount of cleaning action.
  • Wash it on laundry day. If you don’t have time to wash it now, laundry stain sticks do a pretty good job on most stains. As long as it’s not a grease or oil stain, a clothes stain remover stick is effective. Keep one next to the hamper and train everyone in the household to use it.

Related Articles:

Carpet Stain Remover

Fabric Stain Remover

Laundry Stain Remover

Commercial Stain Remover A-Z

Natural Stain Remover

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