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Laundry Stain Pretreater Recipes

Posted By Tipnut On November 14, 2008 @ 10:15 am In DIY,Laundry | 63 Comments

This is a great pretreater and it makes up nicely…keep a jar handy and you’ll never need to buy harsh chemicals again.

BowlDIY Soap Jelly:

Glass Jar
Laundry soap bar (or non-perfume like Ivory)
Hot water

  • Shave the bar until the shavings fill half of the jar.
  • Fill the rest of the jar with hot water (boiling if the glass can handle that hot without shattering). Cover with lid.
  • Allow the water to soak into the shavings a bit to soften it up then shake hard until it is dissolved (or stir well).
  • Once dissolved, allow to cool completely and forms a jelly.

Troubleshooting Tip: If the mixture doesn’t gel nicely, it’s still useable…you can reheat mixture and add more shavings. If it’s too thick, add a bit more hot water.

Directions for use:

  • Soften stubborn soil with this jelly on a soft brush. Scrub gently to avoid damaging cloth.

Quick Tip: I’ve also used just straight liquid dish detergent successfully. Squirt a bit onto the soiled area, rub in gently with your fingers, then toss the garment in the pile to be washed later. This is an especially easy one since you can apply it as soon as you notice the stain and leave the garment sit until you’re ready to wash.

Here are some more you can try:


1 cup hot water
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide


  • Mix ingredients then store in spray bottles. Use to spot treat as needed then soak overnight.


2 quarts water
1/2 cup ammonia
2 TBS laundry detergent


  • Mix ingredients then store in spray bottles. Apply as needed then soak overnight.
  • Do not use with bleach.

Methods & Guidelines


  • Clean as soon as possible since it’s easier to remove when fresh.
  • Test on a hidden or unseen area of the clothing, test for color fastness in a visible spot.
  • Avoid hot water on the following: blood, egg and milk.
  • Follow directions of commercial cleaners, be aware of any precautions noted.
  • Do not dry garments in a hot dryer until you have removed the stain, this can set it making it harder to remove.

Tip: Check clothes as you place them in the washer and check again while placing them in the dryer. Catching troublesome spots before garments are washed and dried can help prevent permanent markings.

Should They Be Washed With Hot Or Cold Water?

  • Many will come out quickly when flushed or soaked in hot water, but some will be set permanently. When in doubt, soak in cold water. If they are: Blood, Milk, Eggs…they should never be exposed to heat, always work with cool water for these.

Greasy Spots:

  • Place the garment soiled side down on a clean white towel.
  • Sponge the back of the spot thoroughly with solution, working from the center out.
  • Air dry. If there’s still a spot, repeat.

Quick & Dirty Method:
(use only if heat will not damage garment and the problem is not blood, eggs or milk)

  • Place a large bowl in the kitchen sink, position garment across the bowl with the troublesome spot in the middle. Pour boiling water through the cloth (and directly over the spot) from a height of 1 1/2 to 3 feet. This method works best when working on fresh spots.

Basic Removal Method

  • Wet the spot with cool water.
  • Rub with bar of soap (laundry or bar of Ivory). Rinse.
  • If it persists, rub with bar of soap again then soak garment in a mixture of cool water & detergent. Soak for about an hour or overnight. Rinse.
  • If it’s still there, rub bar soap into it then gently scrub with a scrub brush until it’s removed. Do not do this if the garment is delicate or will be damaged by the brush. Rinse & wash as usual.
  • If it still persists, try a more aggressive removal method by soaking in a commercial cleaner or bleach solution. Some recipes are found below.

General Remover

1 tsp Liquid Dish Detergent (no bleach)
1 tsp Ammonia

  • Soak spot under cool running water then apply solution by dabbing area with a sponge. Let sit for a few minutes then launder in cool water. Check for spot before putting garment in dryer. Reapply if needed.

All-Purpose Bleach Soak
(for items that are bleachable)

  • Soak garment in a solution of 1/2 cup bleach per gallon of hot sudsy water (except for blood, egg or milk stains–use cool water instead). After soaking launder as usual.

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