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Stains - Getting Laundry Really Clean The First Time

Updated on September 3, 2013

Cleaning soiled clothes should be as easy as 1-2-3. You read the labels, sort accordingly and put it them in the washing machine.

When it comes to stains, though, unless you treat them separately you are very likely to come out with a clean garment and a stain still on it! Removing the stain the second time around is less likely to succeed. Be smart and check the garments before putting them in the wash. Find the stains, if any, and treat them.

Scrub out those stains! Cute, isn't he?
Scrub out those stains! Cute, isn't he? | Source

Blood Stains

Blood stains on clothes can mean the end to a good garment. When allowed to dry, it is nearly impossible to completely remove them. Catch the stain quickly, using hydrogen peroxide to remove it.

Just pour the peroxide on a cotton ball or cloth and apply it to the stain. If there is a lot of blood, you may need to pour it onto the stained area or soak it.The peroxide will actually bubble up and the blood will disappear--then, launder as usual. If this is a piece of clothing that you are unfamiliar with, be sure to read the labels first!

Note: hydrogen peroxide has a bleaching effect and can be tough on some fabrics. Treat then launder the garment immediately after removing the stain.

Chewing Gum

Primary method: Chewing gum can easily be removed from fabric by applying peanut butter or mayonnaise. First, remove as much of the gum as you can by hand without damaging the fabric. Now apply peanut butter or mayonnaise to the remaining gum, gently massaging it in with your fingers. Allow the gum a little bit of time to "soak" it up and then pull the gum away from that to which it is adhered.

To avoid leaving an oily stain on the garment from the peanut butter or mayo, now apply a little stain stick to the location where the gum had been and then wash as you normally would.

Alternate method: freeze it. Apply an ice cube to the gum and then gently peel the hardened gum off the fabric. You may need to use an old toothbrush to remove small remaining particles. Then, wash.

Grass Stains

Grass stains are the toughest to remove because they are created by dye...chlorophyll. In order to remove them, you must get the right cleaning solution, in this case rubbing alcohol, into that dye to force it out.

First, pre-soak the garment in warm water. Using a clean wash cloth, brush the wet garment to loosen the stain and lighten it a bit.

Next, apply a combination of rubbing alcohol and water to the stained area.

Now, apply a commercial stain remover to the treated area and launder as usual.

Grease and Oil Stains

There are several methods for removing grease and oil stains. When trying them, be conscious of whether your garment is color-fast. If it is not, the process to remove the grease could create a problem of it's own---loss of color or discoloration of the fabric.

Lighter fluid--soak the stain in lighter fluid and promptly launder it.

Stain stick--this is my favorite method. Rub stain stick across the stain, liberally, throw it in the machine and launder as usual.

Coca Cola™--yes, things go better with Coke! Pour the Coke right on the stain or add it to the laundry tub. Continue with your normal laundry process. For fun: Here is Coca Cola's official statement about its multiple uses.

Baseball and dirt just go together!
Baseball and dirt just go together! | Source

Ground In Dirt

There are lots of ways to grind dirt into clothes, not the least of these is baseball! Sliding into home will do it, bigtime!

Baseball moms will tell you that one of the more effective methods is to use a bar of Fels-Naptha soap.

Dampen the soiled area (on baseball pants that'll be almost everywhere) and rub on a generous amount of the soap.

Throw it in the washing machine with very warm water and regular laundry detergent and wash those stains away.

Baby food - a tough stain to remove.
Baby food - a tough stain to remove. | Source

Food Stains

Baby Food, especially the orange kind like sweet potatoes or carrots, is tough on clothes. Use a commercial stain removing product like Shout, Zout or Tide.

Berries make dramatic stains. Deep and resistant to washing. Take the stained garment and pour very hot water over the stained area. Now, apply a commercial stain remover to the stain and wash in the machine.

Do not place the garment in the dryer if you detect any stain on it after washing.Drying will set the stain permanently. First, try washing it again.

Chocolate stains can be treated with club soda and then launder. If they don't come out that way, apply stain remover and wash again.

Coffee stains can be removed by spreading a paste of baking soda and water on and then washing the garment in the machine.

Tomato Sauce requires more than one step.

  • First, rinse with cold water as soon as possible after the stain occurs.
  • Next, apply stain stick to the stain (liberally).
  • Now, put it in the washing machine but first pour a little bit of the liquid laundry detergent directly onto the stain. Gently rub the fabric together in that area.
  • Finally, pour the remaining detergent into the washing machine, fill with water and run it. If the stain is totally gone after washing, you can now dry it. If not, repeat this process before drying.

Ink Stains

Ink is easily removed by spraying hair spray on the spot. It will almost melt away! Amazing.

Makeup Stains

Makeup that is not oiled based such as eye shadow and other powders is best removed by brushing lightly away and then laundering.

Oil based makeups, like foundation or lipstick, can be treated with dishwashing liquid or hair shampoo. Then wash as usual.

Poison Ivy Resin

Poison Ivy contains a natural oil that is a difficult stain to remove from clothing. For people who are particularly susceptible to getting poison ivy, leaving the resin on clothing and other items puts them at risk. It is important to do what you can to get it out as soon as possible.

Handle the exposed clothing with rubber gloves and safely dispose of them in a garbage bag afterward. Do not leave the gloves lying around and do not throw them in a garbage can without first sealing them in a bag.

Wash the clothing with lots of hot sudsy water. Pack your washtub loosely to allow a lot of movement as the clothes are agitating. If the clothes are "dry clean only", be SURE to let the people at the dry cleaners know that your order has been in contact with poison ivy so that they will know how to handle it.

Rust Stains

Rust stains are very difficult to remove from clothing. The most effective method is to use a commercial rust stain remover.

About the Author...

Sinea Pies is a freelance writer who writes frequently on HubPages, GVParent Magazine and her own blog: Ducks 'n a Row.



Submit a Comment

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks Pinkdaisy. That picture just tickled me when I saw it. HAD to use it! Thanks for the vote up!

  • pinkdaisy profile image


    6 years ago from Canada

    LOVE the dog photo :) Useful hub - voted up!

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    RTalloni, you make a great point. It not only costs time but MONEY to have to re-wash laundry!

  • RTalloni profile image


    6 years ago from the short journey

    Super job here. This post on getting laundry clean the first time is a great resource to keep handy--important in this economic climate!

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks for the vote up, Jackie. I appreciate it!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 

    6 years ago from The Beautiful South

    I need to post a copy of these stain removers to my fridge til I learn them. I have a top I really love right now I have been trying one thing after another on but I don't know what type stain, one I let go probably. Great info, thank you, voted up.

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Wow, Victoria Lynn, I am overwhelmed! Thank you so very much for the multiple votes and share, too.

  • Victoria Lynn profile image

    Victoria Lynn 

    6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

    This is great. I did know about the hairspray on the ink! Coke is it, huh? :-) GREAT info! I'm going to have to remember this one. Voted up, interesting, awesome, and useful. Sharing!

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Yes, alocsin, hydrogene peroxide is available in the first aid section of most super markets and pharmacies. Thank you for the vote UP and useful!

  • alocsin profile image


    6 years ago from Orange County, CA

    Excellent tips for those like myself who are clueless. I assume you can get hydrogen peroxide at the local supermarket? Voting this Up and Useful.


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