The Key to Laundry Stain Removal is Acting Quickly!
- For the best stain removal outcome, you want to deal with the stain as early as possible. The less time a stain has to soak into your laundry, the easier it will be to remove. Whether you’re stuck at a backyard BBQ with limited options or in the comfort of your home with a laundry room nearby, you will want to act quickly!
- Pre-treat with a stain remover and give the stain remover ample time to soak in. It’s a marathon – not a sprint. The more time you let your stain soak, the easier it will be to remove.
- Launder the stained garment according to the fabric care instructions, using the warmest setting safe for the fabric. If the stain remains, you can repeat the process and mix in scrubbing the stain out of the damp garment. It’s important to remember: do not put it in the dryer until the stain is removed!
How to Pretreat and Soak Stained Laundry
Pretreating is important. It’s not if you have time. It’s critical to remove the stain.
Use some common sense here. The size of the bucket depends on how much you’re soaking. If it’s easier, you may wish to wait and soak everything together to save time, but keep in mind that stains can become more stubborn if you wait.
You’ll also need a place to leave the bucket while it soaks, such as in an empty bathtub or shower stall in a bathroom you don’t often use. It’s important that your children don’t have access to the bucket.
Oxi Clean is powerful, but it can be irritating to your skin. Make sure to use rubber gloves to protect your skin from itchiness and redness.
Here are the steps:
- Follow the directions and scoop the desired amount of Oxi Clean into the bucket. A little goes a long way with an extended soak time horizon.
- Fill with warm or hot water to dissolve it.
- Use your gloved hand to dissolve the Oxi Clean as the bucket fills.
- Put your stained clothes in the water and make sure they’re fully saturated.
- Leave the clothes to soak. You can wait hours or days – just check on the clothes periodically for color fastness.
Treating Stains with Laundry Detergent
For most wash and fold laundry fabrics, laundry stain removal starts with blotting up the excess stain then rinsing the area with cold water. Remember, don’t rub the stain; this spreads the stain and pushes it deeper and deeper into the garment! Thanks to advances in modern detergents, keeping your favorite clothes blemish-free is easier than ever.
Prewash stain removers are concentrated and designed to go directly on the stains. Detergents, on the other hand, mix in with lots of water to clean, and the water dilutes the stain-removing power. But if you apply a dab of detergent to the stain before washing and let it sit, the detergent alone can remove stains.
Here are our favorite detergents for removing wash & fold laundry stains.
Treating Stains with Prewash Stain Removers
Prewash stain removers are available over-the-counter as sprays, sticks, and liquids. These are effective on most fibers. But, how do they work? Why are they so effective?
Simply put, the majority of the effect comes in keeping the stain wet. Not letting the stain dry – even with only water – is better than letting the stain dry. However, these sprays, sticks, and liquids do more than water.
Most prewash stain removers use hydrogen peroxide, detergents, surfactants, and a bit of water to break up the stain molecules. Most of these are strong enough to remove most laundry stains, but gentle enough to avoid damaging most garments.
Time is critical. That’s why many of these stain removers come in pocket-size doses to keep with you for immediate application. Here are our favorites.
Treating Stains with Bleach & Laundry Whiteners
You have some whites that aren’t looking so white anymore. What do you do? Most people reach for the bottle of Clorox bleach.
Don’t do that! You can do better. Bringing a bottle of Clorox to brighten your favorite t-shirt is like bringing a tractor to pick one weed in your yard. You don’t need that much horsepower! And, that much horsepower can cause unnecessary damage.
The problem is that most people don’t know the difference between bleach and laundry whiteners. Within that, there are different considerations to make between bleach and laundry whitener subsets.
Unless you’re cleaning commercial laundry, it’s likely you can skip the bleach and instead opt for a softer, more reasonable laundry whitener. Here are our favorites.
For more on treating laundry stains with bleach and laundry whitener, read our “Guide to Bleach and Laundry Whiteners” here.
Remove stains from your clothes that bleach and oxi couldn’t get rid of using the White Brite Laundry Cleaner. Great for yellowed whites!
Laundry booster with 100% natural lemon essential oil instead of synthetics. Used extensively as a stain treatment and multi-purpose stain remover.
Most Common Stains & Stain Treatment
Everyone deals with stains. Some are more common than others. Here are the most common: Sweat Stains and Poop Stains.
How to Remove Sweat Stains?
Sweat stains can ruin a good shirt. Mix a quick formula of white vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide to treat the stain.
White vinegar only! Don’t use other types of vinegar. Mix one cup white vinegar with ½ cup baking soda, one tablespoon salt, and one tablespoon hydrogen peroxide into a paste. Got it?
Next, use a toothbrush or laundry brush to scrub the solution into the pit stain.
After scrubbing, let the shirt soak. For newer stains, a 10 or 15-minute soak should do the trick. For older stains, let the shirt sit for at least a few hours, although it’s best to leave it overnight.
Lastly, machine wash the shirt and follow the washing instructions accordingly.
Note that vinegar is highly acidic. Although it’s effective against tough underarm stains, it may be too harsh for certain fabrics.
Important: Avoid using chlorine bleach or club soda to remove sweat stains. Bleach can damage shirts and even cause pit stains to appear darker, while club soda is only useful when applied before the stain sets.
How to Remove Poop Stains?
Anyone with a baby knows that baby poop can get all over everything – and it stains. Newborn and breastfed babies leave the most challenging poop stains.
Pretreat: Soak the Outfit in Cold Water
Run the outfit under cold water to remove as much of the poop as possible. Stay with us! This isn’t going to be easy…
If you’re not able to wash it right away, leave the outfit to soak in a pan of cold water. This will prevent the stain from setting in. If it dries, it will be much harder to remove.
After pretreating, wash the outfit according to these steps:
Step 1: Use Oxi Clean. Be sure you are following the direction for the size of the load. This can be added to pretreatment or to the warm water wash cycle.
Step 2: Wash the clothing in warm water. Cold water won’t remove the stain. Difficult stains need the added agitation of the “normal” wash cycle. If the outfit is delicate, you can use the “gentle” cycle, but it may not be as effective at removing the stain.
Step 3: Air dry outside – in the sunlight. The sun has powerful bleaching qualities. Some bloggers will tell you that it doesn’t matter how you wash the poop stains – as long as you get it in the sunlight to dry. Whatever you do, don’t dry it in the dryer! Wet clothes disguise stains to a certain degree, so you can only really tell if a stain is gone if the outfit is dry. If there is still a stain, using the dryer can set it.
Wash and Fold Laundry Stain Removal Guide
Treat the soiled cotton/poly cotton fabric with a small squirt of dishwashing soap, about the size of a button. Anything more than a teaspoon will cause excess suds. That’s great for people who want a soap party in the laundry room, but not so great for everyone else.
Use your fingers to rub the soap over the entire stained area and allow a few minutes to let the soap set. The cleaning agents in the detergent grab and hold grease until the stain is washed away in the rinse cycle.
Toss the stained garment into the washing machine with similar items and wash normally. If the stain does not come out, do not try to pre-treat the soiled area twice.
Apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain and watch as the red blood stain disappears. In the case of old or stubborn stains, reapply as needed. After the stain is removed, rinse the area with cold water to remove any peroxide that may be left behind.
Spray diluted dishwashing soap solution on the stain to remove sugars. Using an eyedropper vinegar and then hydrogen peroxide to remove any remaining color. Follow up with an enzyme detergent to remove residue before washing.
Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to form a thick paste. Smear onto the grass stain and let sit for about 30 minutes. Scrub with a brush, rinse with cool water, scrub in detergent, let sit, then rinse in cool water again.
Mix together equal parts dishwashing detergent and hydrogen peroxide. Pour the mixture over the wine stain and allow it to soak in. You should see the stain begin to fade almost immediately. After you have allowed the mixture to soak into the stain, launder the clothing normally.
Coffee stains are not permanent but can be difficult to remove depending on the time to soak or the size of the stain. Most coffee stains can be removed, however, this varies and can be a lengthy process.
For dried coffee stains, you’ll need water, clean cloths or paper towels, liquid laundry detergent, and white vinegar — in tough cases. If your clothing has a dried coffee stain, wet the stained area, and apply a few drops of laundry detergent while gently rubbing the stain with your fingers.
The best way to remove chocolate stains from any fabric is to soak the fabric in a mixture of water and either dishwashing soap, detergent, or vinegar to loosen and lift the stains. Use an enzyme cleaner for more stubborn smudges, and then wash and air dry until the stain has lifted.
Begin by pretreating the stain using a solvent-based stain removal product. If you don’t have a solvent-based pre-treater handy, apply a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent to the stain and work it in by gently rubbing with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush.
Allow the stain remover to work for at least fifteen minutes, then wash the garment in the hottest water appropriate for the fabric following the guidelines on the care label. After washing, inspect the stained area before tossing it into the dryer. The high heat of the dryer, especially for synthetic fabrics, can make the stain very difficult to remove. Repeat the treatment if necessary.
Rubbing alcohol should be your first choice for neutralizing and removing oil stains. When it comes to small ink stains, you can apply the rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth or paper towel and start soaking the stain. After a few minutes rinse and blot.
Your goal here is to soak up the ink and not scrub it away so make sure to focus on creating pressure and blotting instead of wiping or scrubbing. If you’ve got an older or large ink stain, soak the area in rubbing alcohol for as much as 10 to 15 minutes. After the rubbing alcohol has removed the oil, soapy water may also help.
- Allow the mud to dry. Washing wet mud will only make the stain worse!
- Shake or brush off any dried-on mud that will come loose.
- Spot clean the stained area with liquid laundry detergent, following the steps in this article.
- Remember to always test your product on a small area of the garment first to check it will not damage the fabric.
Need Some Help with Your Stained Laundry?
Our Wash and Fold Laundry Stain Removal Guide is a great place to start. But, some stains are best left to the professionals!
We pride ourselves on our convenient and professional pickup and delivery services. Whether you need weekly laundry services for your clothes or occasional laundry service to care for your wash and fold laundry, The Folde has you covered.
With fast, contactless pickup and delivery, special treatment preferences, and top-tier professional results, you won’t ever go back to doing your own laundry again. Learn more about our services and schedule your first pickup today.
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Our Favorite Laundry Softeners – That Actually Work – from New Laundry Brands
Our Favorite Bleach and Laundry Whiteners + Whitening Tips for Your Laundry
Dryer Balls vs. Dryer Sheets? Keep Your Laundry Soft Without Ruining Your Dryer!