Laundry Facts

Laundry Stain Removal Tips & Tricks

April 16, 2023

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As if laundry day wasn’t hard enough. While we wish to go through our days with our garments unscathed, life happens, and when it does, it gets pretty messy. Drinks spill, dirt smudges, food stains - and that’s okay!

We’re here to prove there’s no reason to cry over spilled milk where stains are concerned. That’s because it’s possible to remove even the toughest of stains from your favorite jeans or your guest towels - with the proper practices, of course. So, continue reading for the inside scoop on must-know stain removal tips and tricks to make laundry day a breeze.

Pro Tip: Before we get into the gritty stuff, remember to check the label on your garments for care instructions.

6 Stain Removing Ground Rules

1.  Move Quickly

Stains are most vulnerable when they’ve just occurred, so taking action immediately is a great way to prevent them from settling in.

If you’re away from a washing machine, you can quickly pre-treat the stain. Take a damp paper towel and blot, starting at the edges of the stain and moving toward the center to avoid spreading it. For thick spills, gently remove the excess with a straight-edged object, like a spatula or credit card.

If you have a stain removal pen, take care of the stain on the go. This method should reduce the appearance of rougher stains.

2. Trust in Stain Removers

Take advantage of the convenience that stain removers offer. We recommend using one with an enzyme-based solution to destroy the bonds between the fabric and the stain.

To ensure the formula won’t disrupt the color or texture of the garment, test a small amount to a concealed area on the item. If there’s no adverse reaction, treat the stain with the remover and wait for up to 15 minutes before washing.

3. Adjust Your Washing Machine’s Water Temperature

Various stains will react differently to the same water temperature, so before you start the load, assess the situation.

If you’re unsure where the stain came from, follow the instructions on the garment’s care label. Otherwise, try cold water, as hot can set protein stains, such as blood or milk.

4. Say No to Hand Soap

Typically, a bar of soap is the first saving grace we think of when a stain occurs; however, rubbing hand soap onto stains can cause them to penetrate deeper into the fabric, so it’s best to avoid it. Instead, work some laundry detergent onto the stain before washing to lift the stain as much as possible before washing.

5. Wash Stained Garments Separately

Though throwing stained garments in with your regular load is tempting, you don’t want to risk ruining other items in the wash. So, for the best results, wash stained garments separately.

6. Inspect the Stain After Washing

Before tossing the garment into the dryer, check the state of the stain. If it’s still evident, don’t place it in the dryer just yet - the heat will make it more permanent. Instead, reapply laundry stain remover and let it soak for at least thirty minutes before washing again.

Some Stain Removal Hacks

Sometimes, the most powerful stain-removing potions are least expected. The best part? You can likely find many of them in your house already!

Baby Powder

Baby powder is an excellent emulsifier for treating oily stains. Pour a liberal amount on the stain and allow it to soak for at least thirty minutes, depending on the fabric’s density. You can also let it penetrate overnight.

Hydrogen Peroxide & Baking Soda

Kids had a little too much fun at recess and returned with grass stains on their clothes? Combine hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and water and apply the solution to remove the stain. Let it sit for ten minutes, and voila!


That’s right - Coca-Cola is more than just a delicious beverage. Containing phosphoric acid, it’s also an effective stain remover for grease and blood stains. Simply toss the stained garment in the wash, along with a poured can of Cola.

Shaving Cream

The soapy, foamy consistency of traditional shaving cream works great for lifting coffee, wine, and other stubborn stains. Apply a dollop onto the affected area and gently work it into the fabric before scrubbing it with a damp sponge.

Nail Polish Remover

It turns out nail polish remover does more than remove last week’s manicure; it can also remove stains, thanks to the acetone it contains. Whether you have ink, paint, or tea stains, saturate a cotton ball with nail polish remover and work gently in circular motions on the area.

Dishwashing Soap

A solution that cleans your dishes and treats stains - what more could we ask for? Dishwashing liquid doubles as a secret stain remover for fabrics. Apply a small amount to the area and gently work it into the material. Let it sit for a few minutes before laundering it.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a famous natural stain remover, as citric acid does wonders for breaking down stains and brightening fabrics. Just squeeze some lemon juice directly on the stain and sprinkle the area with salt to help the lemon penetrate deeper. Then, gently rub the garment before letting it sit for several minutes. Lastly, rinse with water and squeeze more lemon juice. Place the item outside to dry in the sun for a few hours.

Wrap Up

As you now know, there's no stain that's too permanent. So, let your dog roll around in the grass. Apply a bold red lipstick. Order that plate of hot wings. Life is too short to worry about stains, and now, with these helpful stain removal tips and tricks, you don’t have to.

In Need of Stain-Fighting Laundry Services?

If you’re running low on time or energy, we can take the load off your plate. At Laundry Smart, our expert wash and fold laundry services guarantee stain-free garments that look brand new each time. Take advantage of our laundry drop-off service and allow us to do the dirty work for you - it’s our privilege to be your ultimate stain fighter.

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