Laundry Stain Removal

Sadly, not all laundry stain removal can be accomplished using green cleaning recipes. Those that use only green and gentle homemade methods are in bold italics.

Laundry Stain Removal Products

Here is a list of mixtures and chemicals that you will find most useful in your laundry stain removal battles. Most of them you may already have around the house, or are easily accessible.

Ammonia - 1 tablespoon (15ml) combined with 1/2 cup (125 ml) of warm water

Club Soda or Seltzer Water - straight from the can or battle

Dish Soap - 1 tsp(5ml) of clear dishwashing soap in 1 cup (250 ml) of lukewarm water

Enzyme cleaner - purchase a pre-mixed product from the store, of mix a packaged product according to directions. Do not use on dry-clean only fabrics such as wool or silk.

Vinegar - 1/3 cup (90 ml) of white vinegar and 2/3 cup (160 ml) of warm water

Rubbing Alcohol - straight from the bottle

Laundry Stain Removal Tips

Laundry stain removal doesn't always succeed with the first product you try, however the order is very important. Trying different products to remove stains in the wrong order can set the stain, create new ones, or damage the fabric. After you have removed the stain you may want the launder the item as usual. Examine it carefully before putting it in the dryer however, as the heat from the dryer may set anything you might have missed.

Acne Medication

Do not use water - it will almost certainly set in any stain. Dry cleaning is the recommended method to try to remove these stains.

Animal Stains

Try first with the diluted dish soap, then ammonia, then vinegar.

Ballpoint Ink

Moisten a cloth with rubbing alcohol and carefully rub the ink from the marker, being careful to rub towards the centre of the stain to avoid spreading it outwards. If you are seeing success, continue until it is gone. Follow-up with nail polish remover if the stain remains. If neither of these methods gets the whole stain out, then it's time to take it to the dry cleaner.

Black Coffee

Try first with the dish soap mixture. If that doesn't work, try vinegar second. For washable fabrics you can follow up with very hot water and an enzyme cleaner. For non-washable fabrics, or lack of success with the other methods, there's always the dry cleaner.

Blood

Pre-soak washable fabrics with salt water for several hours or rinse with hydrogen peroxide. Follow-up with ammonia, then detergent, then an enzyme cleaner if you still need to.

Chocolate

Wash carefully with dish soap mixture. If that doesn't do the job, try the mild ammonia rinse. Any remaining stain can be cleaned with vinegar, and then try with an enzyme cleaner if required. Dry cleaning can be tried as a last resort.

Dirt/Mud

Allow to dry, and vacuum away as much as you can. Clean with the diluted dish soap and then rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Fruit Juices

Laundry stain removal of fruit juices is one of the most common and frustrating. Rinse thoroughly with club soda. If any stain remains, scrub with some of the dish soap mixture. If it's still not gone, try vinegar, and then the enzyme mixture for any really stubborn stains.

Hair Dye

Diluted dish soap is your first line of attack against hair dye stains. Any leftover stain should be attacked with the ammonia mixture described above, and then white vinegar if still required.

White School Glue

If the glue is still wet - Try first with white vinegar, and if not totally successful, a little dish soap mixture should get this out without too much trouble. Rinse thoroughly with lots of clean lukewarm water.

If the glue is dry, soak for a little while in lukewarm water before following the suggestions above.

Marker

Moisten a cloth with rubbing alcohol and carefully rub the ink from the marker, being careful to rub towards the center of the stain to avoid spreading it outwards. If you are seeing success, continue until it is gone. Follow-up with dish soap if required. Rinse with lots of clean water to remove any residues.

Milk

Try first of all to clean the stain with the diluted dish soap. That usually gets rid of the stain. If not, follow-up with ammonia and then vinegar. A good enzyme cleaner should take care of anything left over if required.

Rust

Apply a paste of vinegar and salt and let sit for about 1/2 hour. Launder, but do not dry without inspecting the fabric. If that didn't get it all out try again, but use lemon juice instead of vinegar.

Sweat

This works great to remove stains from armpits and ring around the collar. Take about 2/3 of a cup of baking soda and mix with just enough water to make a thin paste. Smear it generously on the stains and let it 'work' for about 30 minutes. Launder as usual and the stains should be gone.

Tea

Clean with a little diluted dish soap. If any stain remains, follow-up with vinegar, and then an enzyme cleaner if required. The enzyme cleaner may be required if there was any milk in the tea.

Vegetable Stains

Rinse thoroughly with club soda. If any stain remains, scrub with some of the dish soap mixture. If it's still not gone, try vinegar, and then the enzyme mixture for any really stubborn stains.

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