How to Remove Stains From Clothes

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How to Remove Stains -- Laundry Facts

There is a saying: A penny saved is a penny earned. This means saving money is just as important as earning it. While that may sound unimportant, it is, however true.

Saving money, time, stress and frustration is what good organizing principles are all about.

Learning laundry facts, how to do laundry, tips on stain removal, overcoming laundry problems and how to wash clothes properly will save the clothes you spent your hard-earned money on. This will become increasing important during tough economic times when it becomes harder to spend money buying new clothes.


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This information from the Soap and Detergent Association is being provided to help you save money by taking good care of your clothing.

Here’s what you’ll find on this page:


[Source: Soap and Detergent Association]

Laundry Facts -- Removing Stains From Washable Items

Garments can become unwearable long before they wear out if spots and stains are not treated properly and promptly. Many stains will come out in the wash, especially if good laundering techniques are used. Some stains, however, are more complex than others and require special treatment. Treat them as soon as possible. When items remain in a hamper for days, stains become much more difficult to remove. Some stains may even be impossible to remove.


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Laundry Facts -- Some General Rules


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Laundry Facts – General Information on How to Remove Stains

Basically, the following three procedures can be used to deal with stains prior to laundering. The choice depends primarily on the kind and extent of staining.


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Soaking Whether done in a basin, laundry sink or washer, soaking can effectively loosen heavy soils. A product containing enzymes can be helpful in removing protein-based stains. A laundry presoak, detergent and/or an appropriate laundry additive should be mixed in water or added before the clothes. When there’s a quantity of items to treat, the washer is handiest. Use either an automatic soak cycle or manually set the controls as needed.

Sorting before soaking is important to prevent dye transfer from one item to another or to keep a white or light item from picking up color that has bled into the water. Soak whites separately from colors. Soak colors that bleed separately or with fabrics of like color. Follow label directions for the presoak, detergent or other additive as to soaking time and temperature. Generally, they call for a 30-minute or longer period in warm or cool water. Spin or wring solution out of the garment before beginning the wash cycle. Elasticized garments should be soaked separately for just a short period of time. Yellowing can occur with prolonged soaking.


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Prewashing Taking less time than soaking, a prewash provides an agitated washing of loads with heavy or greasy soil that might not come out in a single regular washing. Some washers have a prewash cycle that includes a short soak period; the washer may also advance to the regular wash automatically. Refer to appliance instructions for either an automatic cycle or for setting controls manually to agitate and then spin. A presoak product, detergent and/or other laundry additive should be used in a prewash. Follow with a regular wash using detergent according to label directions.


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Pretreating This involves treating and sometimes completely removing individual spots and stains prior to laundering. Some of the common methods are:


Laundry Facts -- Products For Removing Stains

There are a number of laundry products and aids which can be used in stain treatment and removal. The most commonly used products and the stains that they are most effective on are listed below.


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How to Remove Stains -- Detergents Form: Powders and liquids Uses: Effective in removing most soils Powders: Especially effective on clay and ground-in dirt Liquids: Especially effective on food, greasy and oil stains


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How to Remove Stains -- Soaps Form: Powders or bars Uses: When used with washing soda, soap is effective in removing crayon. Bars are especially effective in removing fabric softener, perspiration and tobacco stains.


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How to Remove Stains -- Detergent Boosters Form: Powders and liquids Uses: Especially effective in hard water.


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How to Remove Stains -- Bleaches Form: Sodium hypochlorite, oxygen, color removers Uses: Bleaches – All bleaches aid in stain removal and help whiten and brighten fabrics. Sodium hypochlorite bleach is a laundry disinfectant. Color Removers – Reduce or completely remove colored dyes from garments. Effective in removing rust stains or dye stains which have transferred to white garments.


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How to Remove Stains -- Enzyme Presoak Products Form: Powders
Uses: Especially effective in removing protein stains such as egg, blood, grass, baby formula, dairy products, chocolate and body fluids.


How to Remove Stains -- Prewash Soil and Stain Removers Form: Aerosols, pump sprays, gels, sticks, liquids Uses: Especially effective on polyester fibers and on oil-based stains such as body soils, cosmetics, cooking oils, animal fats and motor oils.


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Laundry Facts – Safety Concerns

  • Read instructions on all products and keep them out of children’s reach during use and storage. Keep products in their original labeled containers. Thoroughly wash any utensils used.
  • DO NOT COMBINE STAIN REMOVAL PRODUCTS, especially ammonia and sodium hypochlorite bleach; some chemical mixtures may release irritating gases.
  • Never use a highly flammable solvent, such as gasoline, because vapors can explode.
  • Solvents, such as cleaning fluid, denatured alcohol or turpentine should be used only in a well ventilated room away from open flame and pilot lights. They should never be inhaled. Clothes treated with solvents should be rinsed before washing.


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I hope this information on how to remove stains will help you "clean up your act"!


For more information on laundry, check the information on these pages:

How to do Laundry How to Wash Clothes How to Solve Common Laundry Problems
Stain Removal Chart Tips on How to Remove Stains Tips on Laundry Room Organizers Tips on Laundry


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