Laundry Stain Treatments: Tip Sheet
*Each point is a separate treatment, choose one method. Test a small hidden area first to make sure garment color or fibers won’t be damaged.
Bonus Freebie! Handy Chart To Frame: From Martha Stewart, this is a very handy guide to frame and hang in the laundry room, check at a glance how to treat a troublesome spot.
- Apply hydrogen peroxide to the stain, cover with salt, then sit for several minutes. You should see the blood draw up from the garment. Remove salt once stain has lifted and launder as usual. Test a small, hidden area first to make sure the color won’t be bleached.
- Try rinsing the stain area in cool water then sprinkle on meat tenderizer. Sit for a few minutes then launder as usual.
- You could also use hydrogen peroxide plain, apply to area, sit for a few minutes then launder in cool water (first test a small hidden area to make sure the garment color won’t be bleached).
- Make a batch of cold, salty water and soak garment overnight. General guideline is 1 TBS salt per 2 1/2 cups of water. Launder as usual.
- Mix 4 TBS borax with 2 1/2 cups of warm water, soak garment in solution. After soaking, place stained area under cool running water, if stain doesn’t disappear, rub with a bar of laundry soap. Launder as usual.
- Same as chocolate stains, see above.
- Before washing items with grass stains, try dabbing a generous amount of vinegar into the stain first. Launder as usual. This should help lift the stain right out.
- Wet stain with water and cover with sugar. Leave for at least 1 hour then launder as usual.
Jane Dane from lavenderridgefarms.com sent in a great remedy she found to remove a wad of chewing gum that was hiding in a shirt pocket–not discovered until after the shirt was washed and dried (eek!)…
How To Remove Chewing Gum From Clothing
I found a really great solution that worked and was easy so I wanted to share this info with you and hope that you will pass it along.
The chewing gum was in a shirt pocket and had been washed and dried before I realized it was there. Most websites recommended using ice and then scraping it off. This one said pour boiling vinegar over the gum and it will make it dissolve.
I couldn’t believe it. It really worked! It also recommended following up with a laundry pretreatment like Shout. I did and you would never know that there had been sticky, gross chewing gum on the fabric.
- Saturate a clean white cloth with household winger, rub lipstick stain lightly until it is removed.
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice on the spots then sprinkle with salt. Let dry in the sun. Launder as usual. Try this treatment for old stains, great for those vintage linens!
- Mix 1 TBS laundry detergent with 1/4 cup warm water. Soak stain overnight and launder as usual.
- Apply a few drops of liquid dish detergent to stain, gently rub into stain and soak overnight, launder as usual.
- Mix a solution of water and vinegar (60/40) then sponge onto stain areas. Launder as usual.
- Mix a solution of 1 quart warm water with 4 TBS table salt, soak garment. Wash as usual.
- See more tips on this page.
Ring Around The Collar
- Try rubbing toothpaste along the stain before tossing in the washing machine. Careful on items that aren’t white, the toothpaste could cause discoloration.
- Use 3 parts baking soda to 2 parts vinegar to make a paste, rub into stain and allow to set for 60 minutes, launder as usual (found on 10 Laundry Boosters Using Vinegar).
You could also dab toothpaste on white items that have hard to remove stains–it just might do the trick!
Rust Spots On Cloth Items
- Try treating the stains with a 50/50 mixture of lemon juice and water. Let sit for about 30 minutes before washing.
- Rub powdered Cream of Tartar into stain, then wash in hot soapy water. You can also boil garment in water mixed with Cream of Tartar (4 tsp Cream of Tartar per pint of water).
Rust stains on laundry can happen if your washing machine or dryer has a part that’s rusted. It can also be caused by hard water or if the clothing was accidentally washed with something metal that rusted in the wash.
Did you know: Chlorine bleach will make the rust stains harder to remove or even permanent?
*First published on September 11, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization
- Try freezing garment overnight (place in a plastic bag then toss in the freezer).
- The next day chip off the frozen wax, as much of it as you can without damaging fabric fibers.
- Then take a brown paper bag (a lunch bag size will do), open it up and lay it over the wax stain.
- Take a hot iron and press on top of the brown paper, it will melt the wax and lift it onto the paper bag. You should probably wait for the garment to return to room temp before doing that.
If you have to ‘hot press’ a few times, make sure to move the bag each time so you’re only pressing a clean part of the bag. You don’t want to melt the wax back onto the garment.
- Mix 1 1/4 cups of water and 2 tsp borax, apply over stain. Soak for 15 minutes, launder as usual.
These tips were collected from vintage booklets dating from the 1930’s and 1940’s. The Timeless Wisdom collection is a feature on Tipnut where we take a look back at the methods used and advice given to tackle regular household tasks. These were the days when fancy gadgets and cleaning powders weren’t yet invented so they were quite creative with what they had.
- Wet ink stains may be removed by washing in milk or, better still, in buttermilk. Wash, changing the milk frequently.
- To remove iron mould or dry ink from white materials, steep the stained material in a hot solution of salts of lemon–one tablespoon of salts to one quart of boiling water; or simply place the stained part over a basin, cover the stain with salts, and pour the boiling water through. Repeat if necessary.
- Ink stains may be removed by covering the spot with lard. Let this stand for about twelve hours and wash the article in the regular way.
- To remove tea, coffee, or cocoa stains, use glycerine. A fresh stain can be removed by gentle rubbing; if the stain is old, soak in the glycerine for some time.
- Wine stains may be removed by holding the stained portion of the cloth in boiling milk.
- While a fruit stain is still moist, cover it with powdered starch. When dry, rinse the article in cold water and wash in the ordinary way.
- Fruit stains may be removed with a strong solution of borax, or the stain moistened with water, rubbed with borax, and boiling water poured through.
- Fruit and Rust stains: Apply lemon juice, salt and expose to sun.
- Grass stains: When fresh, can be removed by soaking in alcohol. If stain is old, rub with molasses and allow to stand several hours before washing.
- For grass stains use cold water and no soap. Alcohol may be used if the material is unwashable.
- Blood stains, if fresh, may be removed by washing in cold water. If hard and dry steep for a few hours in cold water, to which add a pinch of baking soda. Washing and bleaching will finish the process. Never put blood stains in hot water.
- Never put hot water on milk and cream stains. Wash them out in cold water, followed by soap and water. Rinse in clear water.
- Egg stains on washable fabrics may be removed by soaking the garment in cold water for a short time before washing with soap and water in the usual way.
- To remove paint from colored material, dip the stains in turpentine, rub, then dip in a little ammonia, rub and wash in warm water.
- Mildew on linen may be removed by dampening the marks, rubbing soap on them, and covering them with chalk scraped into a powder. Work this well in and then wash the linen in the ordinary way.
- Mildew stains may be removed by rubbing with a paste made by mixing two teaspoonfuls of water, one of powdered chalk, and two of soap powder. The spots should afterwards be well rinsed and dried out of doors in the sunlight. This has a bleaching effect on them.
- Mildew: Use a mixture of soft soap, powdered starch, half as much salt and the juice of a lemon. Apply to both sides of the fabric and expose to the sun.
- To remove grease from silk lay the silk on a table on top of a clean white cloth. Cover the spot thickly with powdered French chalk. On this lay a sheet of blotting paper and over that a moderately hot iron. If grease does not disappear at once, repeat process.
- Grease spots on suede shoes will disappear if they are rubbed with a clean rag dipped in glycerine.
- Rub sewing machine oil stains with lard, let stand for several hours, and then wash with cold water and soap.
- Table salt and cream of tartar, equal parts, will remove rust stains. Wet the spot and spread the mixture on thickly, then place the material in the sun.
- To remove rain spots from satin, felt and similar materials, use a soft ball of tissue paper. Rub the effected parts with a circular movement.
- To remove iodine stains from linens rub the stained area with a slice of lemon.
- Chocolate and Cocoa Stains: Use borax and cold water and bleach, if necessary.
- Scorch Marks: Dip a cloth in diluted peroxide and rub the scorched spot. Then iron over it and stain will disappear.
*Some of the information above was previously published as individual Quick Tips. They’ve been moved here into one list for convenience. All bookmarks will automatically forward to this page.