All hope isn't lost for many soiled fabrics.
Photo: Pexels
Photo: Pexels

Ways to get rid of common stains on clothes

Did a meatball miss your mouth and soil your khakis? Do your white undershirts sport bright yellow rings? Save money, save time and save your favorite clothes by turning to at-home methods — and preventative care methods — for removing common stains.

Yellow Sweat

What you need to know: Wet patches that form on clothes after sweating can result in yellow stains around the armpits on white shirts.

A mixture of the body's natural oils and deodorant typically causes the stains. Apply deodorant sparingly to reduce the residue build-up that sets the discoloration into the fabric.

How to remove: Incredibly, bleaching doesn't help matters — it makes the stain more pronounced. After wearing the shirt, clean the soiled areas immediately by hand to remove the chemicals. Spray OxiClean stain removing spray around the armpits and gently rub the solution into the fabric using a toothbrush, and place the garment in a laundry bag for thorough cleaning later. When using a washing machine, add a biological laundry detergent, which contains enzymes and microorganisms that "eat" stain-causing bacteria. Detergents that contain enzymes will be noted in the product description. Some popular brands include Tide Original Formula, Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean and Ultra Plus. For fabrics that aren't delicate, soaking the armpit area in a mixture of one part water and vinegar ahead of washing will help strip the yellow stains.

What you need to know: When the blood stains are fresh, it's much easier to remove than after it has dried.

How to remove: For white clothes, add hydrogen peroxide to the affected area and rub gently. Watch the stains bubble and fizz away. Alternatively, pour white wine vinegar on the stain and blot. Finally, wash the garment with a biological laundry detergent.

For color clothes, avoid applying hydrogen peroxide because it can react like a bleaching agent. Instead, dilute ammonia with water and pour directly onto the area. Let it set, and later wash the fabric with a biological laundry detergent.

Ring around the collar

What you need to know: On a hot day, dead skin cells and oils can get trapped around the neck and collar cuffs on dress shirts, resulting in what's known as ring around the collar.

How to remove: The most effective way to avoid staining the fabric is to pre-treat and clean the item immediately after sweat soils the areas. For color and white clothes, first pre-treat the collar line and cuffs by pouring shampoo (Johnson's Baby Shampoo is recommended) or castile soap on the areas and rubbing it gently with a cotton swab or toothbrush. In the washing machine use a biological laundry detergent.


What you need to know: As one of the most powerful cleaning agents, chlorine bleach is almost an impossible stain to remove from color clothes. Other than discarding the damaged garment, the alternative is to try to blend the original fabric color into the stain.

How to remove: First, rinse the bleach from the affected area to ensure it's gone, then gently apply rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball around the stain and fabric until the colors unify.


What you need to know: Oils from food and many commonly used products are relatively easy to remove.

How to remove: Soda crystals (or washing soda) are powerful cleaners that will strip grease from fabric, among many other household uses. Add two tablespoons of the product along with a biological laundry detergent into a washing machine with warm or hot water and the stains will vanish.

Pasta Sauce
What you need to know: Red alert — removing a spaghetti sauce stain isn't a complicated process.
How to remove: Simply wash the garment and then hang it outside to let the sun's UV rays naturally break down the stain.

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