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Removing Stains on Clothing

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Man Holding Burger with Mustard Stain on his Tie

Our clothes seem to be stain magnets; some are very difficult to remove. This is a guide about removing stains on clothing.

Solutions: Removing Stains on Clothing

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Use Electric Toothbrush to Remove Stains

I had lots of little marks and stains on my soft furniture after my grandchildren stayed for 3 weeks. I was quite distressed, as I did not want to ruin the fabric during a cleaning bout. I came across an old electric toothbrush, and when I replaced the batteries, it worked great as a small stain remover when dipped into a stain removing liquid designed for clothes.

I consider this little electric brush one of my most valuable tools now. I have arthritis and also weakened muscles. This is a miracle. Try it on clothes, shoes, actually anything including walls, even stovetops.

By joanfry from Europe

Tip: Goop as Stain Remover

I have on several occasions used the hand cleaner Goop as a spot remover. I have used it on items that have gone through the washer and dryer with grease spots. Put Goop on the stain and rub it in. Leave it on from 5 minutes to a day or two before washing. If the stain doesn't come out the first time, try again. It will often come out the second time.

By fossil1955 from Cortez, CO

Tip: Use Dawn Dish Soap as a Stain Remover

I really can't take any credit for this tip at all, except to tell you that it works. I used it to remove human urine from the decorative contour rug around our commode. Recently, someone from ThriftyFun suggested it and all credit to her.

I'd never been able to fully remove these urine stains. And believe me, I used everything. I used so much bleach that the rugs faded. In fact, I just got into the habit of buying new rugs regularly. This time, I wet a white rag with water and sprinkled a few drops of Dawn dishwashing liquid on it and rubbed it into the stain. I did work it in very well, but not for a long time.

I washed the mat with the highest setting of hot water, bleach (I don't measure bleach; I just count as I pour it, so I counted to 10 for the bleach). I use the cheapest laundry detergent I can find, but always less than they suggest. For the first time in ten years of marriage the stain came out. I couldn't believe it. No more Resolve or anything else for me. I'm going to try Dawn on every single stain and see what happens. Next time, I'm not going to use any bleach either.

Just one more thing. I threw away the rag I used to rub the Dawn into the urine spot. I only use white rags anyway to clean and I have a ton of them so if they get ratty or stained badly I throw them out. Sorry, but I can't stand dirty rags! They're just plain white bar towels or washcloths, the kind you get at Walmart 10 for $3.00. When I wash my rags I "count" the bleach to about 20, add my cheap detergent, but always less than they recommend.

I always, always use lots of water and less laundry. My mother taught me that the secret to clean bright laundry is lots of water and less soap. It always works for me. When the laundry and bleach are agitated together, I keep the lid open on the washing machine and let them soak in the bleach water, sometimes for most of the day. Then I close the lid and let the cycle finish. My rags are glowing white. I'm so proud! I hope you'll try Dawn and post your results.

Source: ThriftyFun.com

By metroplex from Houston, TX

Tip: Awesome Cleaner for Stains

Awesome cleaner from the Dollar Store works great on every stain there is. From grease to grass stains on fabric, and will not affect the color of fabric! It is great for cleaning everything from lawn furniture to stove tops. It is well worth a dollar!

By Beverly C. from Hanover TWP., PA

Tip: Store Stain Remover By Dirty Laundry

I keep a spray bottle of laundry stain remover by our dirty basket so when there is a stain, I spray it on the item of clothing before putting it in the laundry basket. This way it has a longer time to work and I don't have to remember which item has the stain.

By Dizzee from Woodstock, IL

Tip: Removing Dried Berry Stains from Clothing

I wanted to get stains out of my kids clothes and of course my family, I tried everything. So to get the water in Nebraska to soften more, I used Cascade with bleach, then to protect all colors in our clothes I used Clorox II. I soaked the clothes in hot water for an hour, it worked perfectly. I tied it on hands me downs and it still work great. I used a cup of each product per load.

By 6956 from 88olds88

Tip: Laundry Helper For Stains

Each of my laundry baskets has either a handle or holes on sides. If I see an item in the laundry pile that needs special attention such as pre-treatment, I will thread that item through the handle or holes. This allows me to remember to treat that item, but it also alerts my hubby to not wash that item. He doesn't do laundry often but when he does, he knows not to mess with those items. It saves both my time in fighting the stain, and fighting with him over washing something he wasn't supposed too.

By Denise from Nebraska

Tip: Carpet Stain Remover For Clothing Stains

I spilled red jello all over the front of my white pants. It had dried before I could get home. No remedy seemed to work so I tried carpet spot and stain remover. After spraying it on and letting it sit for about 5-10 minutes, no more stain.

By Imtomi from Philadelphia, PA

Tip: Keep Stain Stick Near Clothes Hamper

Here is a tip for keeping clothes nice longer! I have had to throw out clothes with small stains, because we didn't notice them soon enough to treat the stain. I have started keeping a laundry stain stick next to each of my hampers. Now whenever anyone undresses, they can quickly look over their clothes and treat small stains right away.

By Amy from Austin, Texas

Tip: Removing Pedialyte Stains

This tip is for removing purple stains (Pedialyte) on white cotton shirts. You'll need a mixing bowl, a rubber band, the fabric with the stain, peroxide, and white vinegar. Place the fabric over the mixing bowl centering the stain within the rim of the bowl. Use the rubber band to hold the fabric in place by wrapping it around the edge. This is to keep the process neat and clean by catching the liquids. Pour the peroxide on the stain, gently rubbing the stain with your fingertip. Repeat this as many times as it takes, you'll see the stain just disappear. Then remove fabric from bowl, rinse with vinegar for one minute. Finally throw the fabric in the wash on a cold cycle. You'll be amazed, my brother was going to throw a shirt away, a high dollar shirt, but I saved it.

By Jennifer

Tip: Dawn Power Dissolver for Colored Stains

To get those horrible red koolaide, ketchup or any color stain out of your white countertop - spray on Dawn Power Dissolver - let sit a few minutes, if stubborn use Dawns twirling dish brush and wash up. That easy. It has been wonderful find. Love Dawn.

By Prov31Wise

Tip: Battery Operated Toothbrush for Stains

When trying to remove a stain from clothing, use an old battery operated toothbrush to work the pretreatment into the fabric. If the stain is small, you can dip the toothbrush in the pretreatment solution and keep your hands clean.

By Cheryl from Missouri

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Questions

Here are questions related to Removing Stains on Clothing.

Question: Small Black Stains on T-shirt

I have a plain white t-shirt. I noticed the last time that I washed it, it came out of the washing machine, with 3 small black spots on it. These spots, weren't on my other clothes. I ran a washing machine cleaning (no clothes) with chlorine liquid bleach and hot water. Then, I did treating, of the shirt with Dawn dish detergent and tried washing it again. No luck. Please advise. Thank you.

By L. Lackey


Most Recent Answer

By Carol Swanson [17]10/07/2013

If you think these black spots are dots from a black ink pen, spray the dots with hair spray and then wash as usual. The ink should start to "run" when you spray it. If it doesn't "run," its not ink.
If you think it might be mold, you'll need to use another method. Clothes left to sit in a washing machine tend to get moldy. Thats why they get a sour smell. It is the mold starting to form.
Best wishes always.

Question: Coffee Stain on Cotton Clothing

How do I remove a coffee stain on a white cotton shirt?

By Colin

Question: Removing an Old English Stain from Clothing

I accidentally washed an Old English staining rag in my load of colored clothes and now I need to know how to get the stain spots out of my clothes. Please help!

By Brad

Question: Removing a Set In Coffee Stain on Clothing

My husband spilled coffee on his new cotton robe and then put in by the washer and drier. I was not told of the stain and when I came across the stain it was approximately 3 hours later. I sprayed the stain with Shout, let it sit for 5 minutes and then laundered as usual with warm water. I did not notice the light stain when I removed the robe from the washer and then dried it. Now I have a light stain and a not happy husband; so how do I remove a set in coffee stain on a cotton robe?

By Cathy


Most Recent Answer

By gbk [45]07/12/2011

If all that fails then you can moisten the spot pour lemon concentrate on it and salt it down good with salt and lay flat in sun and it will draw it out.

Question: Removing Set In Stains From Clothing

How can I remove set in stains from clothing?

By Brandi from Ontario


Most Recent Answer

By tara73 [3]10/06/2010

The best only cost a dollar. Most dollar stores carry this product. You can even use it in the wash. It is called awesome. Its a multi-purpose degreaser. It works amazing spray it on stains let it sit a few minutes then throw in wash.

Question: Stain Remover Reviews

I'm looking for a stain remover for all kind of stains, similar to those used in laundry shops. If you can help me in this case (to buy), please answer me. Thank you.

Davari

Question: Removing a Brown Stain on Cotton

I made a French hand sewn dress for my daughter, 26 years ago. It is a light lavender color and cotton. A small light brown spot is on it. How can I get it out for my granddaughter to wear?

By Melinda from MS


Most Recent Answer

By kathleen williams [23]03/19/2010

I use vinegar to remove stains from a white evening gown, apply it several times ,put in sunshine,i f that don't work, if you have a piece of that fabric left you can cut out the stain & sew the fabric on the under side or get an iron on patch to mend it, good luck.

Question: Old English Scratch Cover Stains on Clothes

I was using Old English scratch cover on my coffee table, the dark stain, and accidentally got spots of this stain on my cream colored top. How do I remove this stain. Thanks for any advice out there.

bettydeboop

By bettydeboop from Middleton, NH


Most Recent Answer

08/07/2009

I use spray and wash with resolve. It works really well. Just spray it rub the cloth and wash it.

Question: Stains on Gymboree Clothes

I love Gymboree clothing, however as you know Gymboree stains really badly. I tried everything but nothing works. Any suggestions?

Maria


Most Recent Answer

By (Guest Post)10/16/2008

Best product ever is M30. you can get it at dollar general in a tub for 1.00. A lady who owns a consignment store told me about it.

Question: Ink Stain on Lambskin Chanel Bag

I just realized that my lambskin Chanel bag has an inch long light blue ink mark on the side. I do not know how long it has been there. Does anyone know a safe technique to remove ink stains from soft, taupe-colored lambskin without drying it out and removing the color. I have not touched it yet because I am afraid I will mess up the material. Thanks!

Cat from Penn.


Most Recent Answer

By (Guest Post)07/23/2005

I would suggest to go to the Chanel shop. I guess that as Louis Vuitton they have an after sales service to clean and mend bags. They will know the right way to clean it without damaging the leather.

Archives

Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Removing a Set In Stains From Clothing

I have three white shirts that have set in stains. One has a mysterious blue stain, the other a yellow stain (maybe oil of some sort), and the other has a small black grease stain. Anyone have a solution on how to remove them? Any help would be appreciated. There is nothing else wrong with the garments.

Erin from PA


RE: Removing a Set In Stains From Clothing

A friend once told me to use a bar of hand soap, wet it slightly, rub it on the stain a few seconds then launder as usual. She said it works every time. I have never had to use it yet. (10/31/2004)

By Clarees

RE: Removing a Set In Stains From Clothing

Make a paste of Oxyclean and laundry soap, let it soak for awhile (just remember to place a towel between the fabric layers). (10/31/2004)

By ginann

RE: Removing a Set In Stains From Clothing

I usually put some bleach and water in a small bowl & use a q-tip to apply the mixture. If it is a solid white tee shirt or blouse, this works fine. A friend told me that you should boil water and pour it directly on the stain (even if the stain is an old one, the garment has been laundered and put in the dryer), it works great. I always thought that boiling hot water would 'set a stain' but it does not. Try it! (10/31/2004)

By Rosalie

RE: Removing a Set In Stains From Clothing

Here's a stain recipe I got from Amy Dacyczyn's Tightwad Gazette. Pour 1 cup of powdered Clorox 2 (I've never tried liquid) and 1 cup of Cascade dishwashing detergent into a pail, bucket or other container large enough for the stained item. Add the HOTtest tap water you can get. (I usually boil water in a teapot, pour that in, then finish filling with HOT tap water.) Stir until Clorox 2 and Cascade seem to be dissolved. (I never seem to get it all dissolved.) Add the item and soak anywhere from a couple of hours to overnight. Wring out the item and launder as usual.

Although the ingredients seem deadly to laundry, I've used this method a dozen or more times on many different fabrics and have never had any negative results. In fact, it has removed the stain(s) 99% of the time. I was at a thrift shop the other day where all clothes in one room were 10 cents each! There were several items I bought for 10 cents that had a small stain or two but seemed worth the chance of trying to get the stain out for the price. I will soak them overnight in the above solution.

Good luck (10/31/2004)

By FlaKathy

RE: Removing a Set In Stains From Clothing

Put Lysol (concentrated) liquid solution on the stain and put it out in the sun. May need to repeat this. I have gotten many set in stains out this way! (03/23/2005)

By Missy

RE: Removing a Set In Stains From Clothing

I have just recently started using this method: Put a dab of any clear shampoo on the spot, cover in salt, rub in, leave overnite and launder in the morning. So far, it has worked really well. I am dieting and changing sizes frequently, so I purchase my clothes at thrift stores and yard sales. (03/24/2005)

By suzi homemaker

RE: Removing a Set In Stains From Clothing

Use Dawn dish washing liquid directly on the stain. Let it soak, scrub it then throw it in the washer. This worked on a whole load of clothing that had been dryed with a busted ink pen. (03/25/2005)

By klr2080

Removing Set-in Stains

This is a tried and true tip! I had this shirt that had a very very old set in grease stain on it and I just hated to give it up. So as I was going through my closet found my shirt and decided to make my own stain concoction. What did I have to lose?

On the stains I rubbed some Shout Gel and then I took some powdered Borax and rubbed it into the gel/stain too and threw it in the wash and crossed my fingers. I also took one of my daughters stained shirts and did the same and threw it in as well. The old set in stains all came out! Completely gone! I was amazed.

Needless to say I have been going through all our old set-in stained clothes to give them new life! (06/14/2005)

By KimMcG

Archive: Removing Set In Stains From Clothing

I shop at consignment stores for my eBay store and I have several things with set in stains on them. I have tried everything from Dawn and Clorox 2 to carpet cleaner.

Read More...

Archive: Removing Set In Stains From Clothing

How do I remove set in stains?

By Debbie from NY


RE: Removing Set In Stains From Clothing

I often end up with "new" stains on clothing, especially from hubby. Then best luck I have had, is using Simple Green on them. I wet the stain first, then spray till soaking with the Simple Green, and let it sit overnight, then wash the next morning. It may not take all of the stain out, but it looks better than before. (08/03/2010)

By fatboyslimsmom

RE: Removing Set In Stains From Clothing

My sister swears by what she calls "brown soap". I had some stains on a tee shirt that had been through the dryer and I thought it was done since the strains had been "cooked" in the dryer. She gave me a bar of brown soap, I wet the shirt and rubbed the soap over the stains and washed again. Lo and behold, the stains were gone! She said every supermarket has brown soap and it's dirt cheap and I'm sure it has been around for a long, long time. (08/06/2010)

By DorothyNYC

Archive: Removing Set In Stains From Clothing

How do I clean stains left after washing and drying my laundry?

By Thomas


RE: Removing Set In Stains From Clothing

Please read Archives at bottom of page. I think you'll find the answer. (09/05/2010)

By MCW