How to Remove Stubborn Stains From Your Clothing

  • Most of us can agree that having stains on your clothing can be very frustrating.

    Whether you've stained your favorite shirt, that dress your best friend doesn't know you borrowed, a brand new suit or your son's brand new shorts, don't despair just yet. 

    Those seemingly impossible stains( red wine, blood, tea, etc) aren't so tough when you attack them from the right angle. 

    However, the most important aspect of stain removal is pre-treating as soon as possible. The sooner you can soak or pre-treat a stain, the better your chances of being able to remove it.

    When pre-treating, always test a discreet area of fabric with a pre-treating solution to make sure the product doesn’t damage your garment.

    Also, it is important to note that not all fixes work every single time, so don't give up completely if a particular hack doesn't get a stain completely out. has compiled these 10 tips and tricks to help you knock those unwanted spots right off your fabrics:

    1. Tea/Coffee Stains 

    If you have fabrics with tea or coffee stains, don't sigh in frustration. 

    As long as you didn't burn yourself when you spilled the mug, there's nothing to worry about. 

    First things first, as soon as possible, rinse the stain with cold water. 

    Don't forget to run the water from the back of the stain, rather than over the top of it! 

    This helps it to come out the side it came in, rather than pushing it all the way through the material. 

    Next, grab any old liquid detergent and rub it into the stain. Let it stay for a minimum of five minutes. 

    Note: Dried stains should be soaked in cold water (with detergent applied) for about 30 minutes. Then, rinse the stain.

    Yet another trick is to treat wet tea stains with a generous amount of baking soda. Ideally, the powder will pull the color out of the clothing! Then, launder as normal.

    2. Mud Stains

    Resist the urge to toss it straight into the wash or try to scrape or blot it up.

    First, allow the mud to dry, then gently scrape off any excess. 

    Cover the stain with laundry detergent and a little water and rub the fabric together to create suds, then rinse and repeat as necessary. 

    On colorfast fabrics, if the stain isn’t removed after the first attempt, you can treat it with a mix of equal parts vinegar and water, then wash it with enzymatic laundry detergent. 

    3. Ink Stains

    Place a paper towel or scrap fabric under the stained area and saturate the stain with hairspray (yes, you read that right).

    Let it sit for a few seconds, then use a clean cloth to blot away the excess. Repeat as necessary, then wash the garment as usual with enzymatic laundry detergent. 

    4. Collar Stains

    You don't need a special stain remover or laundry pre-treater to banish ring around the collar. Instead, an item that you surely have lurking in your shower will take care of business!

    Whether it's on work shirts or Sunday best, staining around the collar can be easily vanquished with a touch of something you're pretty much guaranteed to have in the house like shampoo.

    Just pour a little shampoo onto the collar, rub the collar together to work the shampoo in well, allow it to soak for about 15 to 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.Follow-up by laundering as usual.

    Although any shampoo will likely do the trick, some experts recommend using a brand that's formulated specifically for oily hair because it is designed to break down body oils, grit and other stuff that transfers from skin to collar 

    5. Sweat Stains 

    To banish sweat stains, pour vinegar over the discolored area and rub coarse salt into it. Table salt will work if it's all you have.

    Place the garment out in the sun to dry before washing it. 

    6. Grass Stains 

    To lift grass stains, soak the garment in undiluted vinegar for 30 minutes, then launder it.

    If you can still see signs of the stain after washing, try making a paste of vinegar and baking soda.

    Use an old toothbrush to coat the stain, then launder it again. 

    7. Ink Stains 

    Defeat stubborn ink stains by spraying the stain with hairspray, then dabbing vinegar on the hairspray to remove it and the ink.

    8. Iron Scorch Marks 

    Accidentally leave the iron on your clothes for too long? Reverse the damage by soaking a cotton ball or rag in vinegar and dabbing at the scorched area.

    Blot the stain with a clean rag, which should lift the stain. It may take more than one application to remove the scorch mark fully. 

    9. Rust Stains 

    To remove a rust stain, soak a cotton ball in vinegar and use it to blot the stain.

    Cover the stain with a thin layer of salt and rub it into the vinegar and the fabric.

    Lay the garment outside in direct sunlight until the stain has faded, then wash as usual. 

    10. Combination of stains

    Combination stains are tricky because they have more than one stain type.

    Things like makeup, many foods (sauces, condiments, etc.) and ice cream (which could be both a dairy stain and have stains from fruits and oils) and the like can still be treated with the right approach.

    Always start by treating any grease aspect of the stain first by rubbing the area with a grease-fighting dishwashing liquid and cold water to loosen the grease and rinsing.

    Then attack any protein stains (sticking with cold water at first to avoid “cooking” any dairy or eggs) with an enzymatic presoak followed by a wash at the highest temperature recommended for that fabric (with more enzymatic laundry detergent.

    Finally, you can treat pigment-based stains with a soak in a solution of oxygenized non-chlorine bleach and water. And if that doesn’t work, colorfast fabrics can be treated with a mix of equal parts white vinegar and water and washed again.