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How to Remove Stains
From Clothes

How to Remove Stains 1

Stain Removal: 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 like a cliche, it is however true.

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

Learning laundry facts such as 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.

How to Remove Stains 2

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:

Stain Removal & Laundry Facts
Removing Stains from
Washable Items

[Source: Soap and Detergent Association]

  • 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.

How to Remove Stains 3

Laundry Facts
Some General Rules

  • Try to find out what the stain is, since some can be set by the wrong treatment. When in doubt, rinse or soak in cold water before laundering or applying a stain remover.
  • Check colorfastness of item. If unsure whether a treatment will harm the fabric or color, apply the recommended stain remover to a hidden part or a sample of the fabric, such as a clipping from the seam allowance. Rinse out and let dry. If the color or fabric is not damaged, proceed with the treatment.
  • When using any bleach, treat the entire item. This will prevent uneven color change, should any occur.
  • When removing stains such as lipstick, candle wax or tar, place the stain face down on paper towels and treat from the underside to avoid driving the stain through the fabric.
  • Always launder washable items after treating to remove residues of both the stain and the stain remover.

How to Remove Stains 4

Stain Removal & Laundry Facts
General Information on
How to Remove Stains

Basically, the following three procedures can be used to deal with stains prior to laundering: Soaking, Prewashing and Pretreating.

The choice depends primarily on the kind and extent of staining.

How to Remove Stains 5

Laundry Facts : 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 place to presoak.
  • 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.

Laundry Facts : Prewashing

How to Remove Stains 6
  • 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.

How to Remove Stains 7

Laundry Facts : Pretreating

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

  • Using a prewash soil and stain remover,
  • Applying and rubbing in a liquid detergent, or a paste of water and powder detergent, or a laundry additive, or bar soap.

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.

Laundry Facts : Detergents

How to Remove Stains 8

Detergent forms powders and liquids.  They are effective in removing most soils:

  • Powders: especially effective on clay and ground-in dirt
  • Liquids: especially effective on food, greasy and oil stains

How to Remove Stains 9

Laundry Facts : Soaps

Soap forms are 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.

Laundry Facts : Detergent Boosters

How to Remove Stains 10

Detergent boosters come in the form of powders or liquids.

  • Uses: Especially effective in hard water.

How to Remove Stains 11

Laundry Facts : Belaches

Bleaches come in the form of sodium hypochlorite, oxygen or 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.

How to Remove Stains 12

Laundry Facts : Enzyme Presoaks

Enzyme presoaks come in the form of powders.

  • Uses: Especially effective in removing protein stains such as egg, blood, grass, baby formula, dairy products, chocolate and body fluids.

Laundry Facts:
Prewash Soil & Stain Removers

Prewash soil and stain removers come in the form of: 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.
Laundry Problems 3

How to Remove Stains 13

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.

I hope this information on how to remove stains will help you clean up your act (pun intended!)

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

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

Go to: How to Remove Stains,

Go to: How to Solve Common Laundry Problems,

Go to:  How to Wash Clothes,

Go to:  Laundry Room Organizers

Go to: Stain Removal Chart

Go to:  Tips on Laundry

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