A person pouring Tide liquid detergent on stained shirt

How to remove stains

It’s a fact of life that not all stains are created equal.

It’s important to know what type of stains you’re facing before choosing the most appropriate pretreatment and washing methods to use. Dealing with oily stain removal? You can use a dish soap to pretreat these spots, but for enzymatic stains, like blood, you’ll want to pretreat with a liquid detergent and a clean toothbrush. Follow along to learn how to remove stains from clothes most effectively and more details about some of the most common types.

How to Remove Stains

Stain removal guide

I have a

acne
baby food
bbq
beer
blood
butter
candy
chewing gum
chocolate
clay
coffee
collar
cough syrup
crayon
dairy
deodorant
dingy whites
dirt
dye transfer
egg
fabric softener
facial mask
fruit
fruit juice
gelatin
glue
grass
gravy
grease
hair dye
hot chocolate
ink
ketchup
makeup
marker
mayonnaise
mildew
motor oil
mouthwash
mud
mustard
mystery
nail polish
oil
oily road
ointment
paint
perfume
pet
plaster
play-doh
pollen
poop
pudding
rust
salsa
shoe polish
skunk odor
soft drink
soot
spaghetti
sport drink
sunscreen
sweat
toothpaste
tree sap
underwear
urine
vegetable
wax
wine
acne
baby food
bbq
beer
blood
butter
candy
chewing gum
chocolate
clay
coffee
collar
cough syrup
crayon
dairy
deodorant
dingy whites
dirt
dye transfer
egg
fabric softener
facial mask
fruit
fruit juice
gelatin
glue
grass
gravy
grease
hair dye
hot chocolate
ink
ketchup
makeup
marker
mayonnaise
mildew
motor oil
mouthwash
mud
mustard
mystery
nail polish
oil
oily road
ointment
paint
perfume
pet
plaster
play-doh
pollen
poop
pudding
rust
salsa
shoe polish
skunk odor
soft drink
soot
spaghetti
sport drink
sunscreen
sweat
toothpaste
tree sap
underwear
urine
vegetable
wax
wine
TomatoWineCharcoalGrassDirtSpinach

Your Comprehensive Stain Removal Guide

What are the different types of stains?

Test ALP/Guide Header/Icons/Blood and Grass/Image
Blood or Grass stains

Test ALP/Guide Header/Icons/Blood and Grass/Image
Grease

Butter or other oily stains

Test ALP/Guide Header/Icons/Body soils/Image
Body soils

Collar and sweat stains

Test ALP/Guide Header/Icons/Bleachable/Image
Bleachable

Stains from coffee and tea

Test ALP/Guide Header/Icons/Clay soil or dirt stains/Image
Clay, soil or dirt stains

How do you get rid of stains?

Different stains can require different removal processes. Now that you have an idea of what type of stain you have, the good news is that most stain removal procedures are similar, except when it comes to pretreating. Whatever the cause of the stain, however, here are a few tips on how to get stains out of your favorites:

Step 1. Remove the excess stain

Use a paper towel, a fork, or a brush to get rid of as much of the stain as possible on the garment. This is particularly important for stains that have already dried.

Step 2. Pre-treat stains

Here it’s important to know the type of stain you are dealing with, because each requires a different pretreatment method:

Enzymatic stains.

Pour liquid detergent directly onto the stain. Gently rub the fabric together, or use a soft-bristled toothbrush to help work the detergent into the garment's fibers in a circular motion.

Greasy or oily stains.

Presoak in a soaking solution of detergent and warm water, or pretreat them with dish detergent.

Body-soil stains.

Rinse garments affected by body-soil stains under cold water.

Bleachable stains.

Presoak and wash with powder detergent.

Clay or dirt stains.

Presoak in cold water with liquid detergent.

Step 3. Add detergent

Measure the correct amount of detergent according to the product labels and your load size.

Step 4. Wash your garments

Choose the most appropriate wash temperature and cycle setting according to the instructions given by the garment's fabric-care label.

Step 5. Check garments before drying

Don't put the clothes into the drier until the stain is completely removed, as drying will set the stain.

To prevent stains from setting in, remember to soak the garment in cold water as soon as possible. When it comes to removing stains, it’s usually best to use cold water if you're not sure about the stain type. However, for greasy stains, you'll want to use warm water.

Eliminate odorsSign Up Now