• Lone Tree

Removing Stains

tinta azul en aguaA stain on any piece clothing that you just bought or that you are wearing for the first time can seem a real tragedy, but it will become a simple incident if you know a few simple tricks to eliminate it. 

The main thing to keep in mind is that the sooner you act on the stain, the better the probabilities of successfully removing it. Stains that are let to dry or sit on the fabric for a long time are very difficult to remove.
Before trying to eliminate a stain, it is important to consider the type of material where the stain sits and what kind of stain it is, since the procedures for removing stains vary a lot. Remember to look in these pages when you need to remove stains from your favorite clothes.

Most stains come out in dry cleaning and this is the best solution for delicate and expensive clothes, but dry cleaning isn’t always available. When stains are fresh they are easier to remove. The fresher the stain, the easier it will be to remove it without leaving a trace. Most food stains can be removed if you soak them in warm water right away. Don’t wait until the stain dries or it will be harder to remove.

The first time you wash a color garment, make sure that it doesn’t bleed. To check for colorfastness follow these instructions:
Moisten the garment with warm water and add some soap. Rub a dry white cloth on the garment. If the color of the garment transfers onto the white cloth, it is colorfast and you must wash it separately.

  • To remove a stain with any stain remover, you must place the garment (single layer only) on a flat surface. Put a dry, clean white cloth or a thick layer of absorbent paper under the garment, which must be replaced several times as the paper or rag gets wet. To apply the stain remover you must use a clean rag too. Never rub the fabric too hard because you might rub off the color. Tap the fabric gently with the wet rag instead. If you are working with delicate fabrics or colors, try the stain remover on a seam inside the garment first.
  • After eliminating stains with turpentine, ammonia, or similar products, it is necessary to rinse clothes very well to avoid fabric damage.
  • Treating stains with salt of ammonia can fade the treated spot. You will bring the original color to the fabric again if you apply water and vinegar to the faded area. It will recover its natural color.
  • Stains that have dried on the fabric are easier to remove if you soak the fabric first and then you wrap the garment in paper (blank newspaper type paper works well). The humidity will loosen up the stain.
  • When you use any stain remover, always work from the outside in to prevent shrinkage.
  • Always begin with the mildest stain remover and work your way up.

Ten Great Stain Removers:

1. For most stain types: Magic Stain Remover. This stain remover is great!! The formula was given to me by my friend Genie. She is one of those  great people, who always has a tip for everything. This one really works well. I use it all the time. Here is the formula:

  • 1 part ammonia
  • 1 part peroxide at 20% (the kind they use to bleach your hair with)
  • 2 parts water

When you mix it, leave the container open so it can breathe. Do not use peroxide at 30% because it is too strong and your plastic container might blow-up like a balloon. Once the mixture has breathed for a while, you can close the container. I know that it sounds weird, but it is totally safe and it works in all types of fabric and all types of stains. It is fantastic removing blood and all types of organic stains. Once you see the magic results, you will not want to do without it.
Caution: it has a strong smell so don’t use it too close to your face.

2. Shaving cream
   Another stain remover that works well is shaving cream. It works instantly. Apply on the stain and rinse with cold water or soda water.

3. Make a solution of 25 parts of alcohol, 10 parts of ammonia, and one part Varsol®.

4. Dissolve kitchen salt in alcohol and use it as a stain remover.

5. Adding a Tbs. of baking soda to your detergent will produce the same results as if you use a salt based stain remover.

6. Stains caused by dirt or food can be easily removed with cologne water or aftershave lotion.

7. Light stains on dark fabric can be eliminated touching them with a solution of dark coffee.

8. Whey is a very harmless and efficient stain remover. You can remove Calcium deposits from bathtubs and sinks using this product. It is also good  for removing fruit stains from all types of fabrics. Almost all fruit stains disappear if fabrics are not too delicate. Soak the stain in whey. Let it sit for  over an hour and rinse with warm water.

9. If the origin of a stain is unknown, you can try the following: Put the garment in a pot filled with milk or butter whey. Bring to a boil for a few  minutes and let it soak for a while. After that, rinse it with cold water. If stains persists, repeat the procedure.

10.To remove stains from wool and silk, cook a few potatoes and use the leftover water to wash the garments.

Egg shells:

To remove stains caused by colorfast fabrics of trimmings, or stains caused by accidents in your washer (you accidentally placed a colorfast garment the washer and it stained everything) you can do the following:

  • Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil.
  • Add a few crushed egg shells and put the stained clothes inside, stirring from time to time while it remains in the stove.
  • Let it cool and wash. They will look great. 

It is a good idea to treat fruit stains quickly so they don’t become permanent. For most fruit stains you can use salt. Let it sit over the stain and then rinse with hot water. Lemon works very well on some fruit stains. Another trick that works is to use the water from cooking white beans to wash the clothes.

Blackberry stains
These stains are tough. If the stain is fresh use peroxide and then wash with cold water.

Strawberry stains
These stains are very stubborn. Use borax to soften the stain and then wash with cold water. Strawberry stains on white clothes use water down bleach. If the stain has been dry for a while can be removed with a solution of borax and salt ammonia.

Cherry stains
Wash in detergent and cold water and then soak in milk until the stain has disappeared completely.

Orange stains
Apply glycerine on the stain. Let it soak in and wash the garment with delicate clothes soap.

Plantain stains
Forget it! They are impossible to remove. Cut the garment in pieces and use it for kitchen rags.

Avocado stains
Avocado stains are very difficult to remove. The ink from avocado seeds is even used to permanently mark clothes. If your clothes become stained, boil the stained part in milk as soon as possible.

Tomato stains
Treat them with hot water and soap as soon as possible.

Spinach stains
These stains are very hard to remove. Try rubbing a raw potato over the stain before washing.

Carrot stains
Put water on the stain and place garment in the sun. Wash carrot stains with a green bar of soap.

Organic Stains

Blood stains
- The first thing to do to a blood stain is to rinse it with cold clear water so the albumin present in the blood, won’t coagulate and gets ingrained in the fabric.

- When blood stains are fresh they are easy to remove with slightly salty cold water. NEVER use hot water because heat will fix the stain. If the stain persists rinse the garment in cold water with ice. If blood dries and it becomes hard to remove, cover it with a paste made with cornstarch and water and let Varsol® drops fall over the paste slowly as the Varsol® is absorbed by the fabric.

Dissolve an aspirin in water and put it over the stain.

Blood stains on non-washable fabrics

- Spray a clean cloth with ammonia and apply the following preparation over the stain:

  • 1 part glycerin
  • 1 part dishwashing soap
  • 8 parts water

- Blood stains on silk fabrics are removed using alcohol.

- Blood stains on man made fabrics come out rinsing with cold water and then with hot water. Repeat this process for better results.

- If blood stains are fresh they can be removed with a solution of ammonia diluted in water.

- If a blood stain is old use water and vinegar adding a little bit of magnesium to the mix.

- Removing blood stains from colorfast fabrics: use a mixture of kitchen salt diluted in warm water.

- Blood stains on white clothes are removed with a mixture of lukewarm water and baking soda. Wash with detergent as usual.

- Blood stains on wool are removed with wet cornstarch letting the paste dry before brushing it off carefully.

- Blood stains on delicate handy works or embroidery apply cornstarch lightly moistened with water. After it is dry, blow or brush the powder.

Grease stains on fabric

  • Most grease stains are easier to remove if you don’t let them get old. After you have ironed a grease stain it is almost impossible to remove it.
  • Rescue your delicate clothes from grease stains sprinkling them with talc powder. Cover it with silk paper on both sides and use the iron on top of the paper at a very low temperature until the stain disappears.
  • For wool garments do the same thing but replace the talc for calcium carbonate and a little water. Let the paste sit for several hours until it dries and then brush it off.
  • Add baking soda to the detergent you use in your laundry to dissolve grease stains in your clothes.
  • As soon you get a grease stain, when they are still fresh, sprinkle a thick layer of baking soda, body talc or cornstarch on the stain and rub in. Let it sit for an hour and when the grease has been absorbed, just brush it off. This treatment yields amazing results.
  • Tailor’s chalk also works well on grease stains. It doesn’t leave traces once it has been used.
  • Grease stains on ties, put abundant salt immediately and let it dry. Then shake the salt.
  • Fresh grease stains on silk clothes are eliminated at once by rubbing lightly with potato starch and if you want to wash the entire garment, it is enough to wash it with detergent for delicate clothes and let it soak all night before washing it normally.
  • Another way to remove grease stains from silk (including silk ties) is to use a piece of cloth soaked in soda water. Tap lightly on the stain without rubbing.
  • To remove grease stains from dark clothes use a brush soaked in a mixture of ammonia and water. Add 1 tbs. of ammonia to 8 oz. of water.
  • Grease stains on sturdy fabrics can be cleaned with ammonia and water too.
  • Most grease stains can be removed by washing the fabric with dishwashing detergent and rinse very well afterwards. Also try rubbing a slice of lemon on the stain.
  • Grease stains on velvet can be removed by rubbing an onion cut in half against the direction of the hair. Let the fabric dry and steam it on the wrong side.
  • Turpentine removes grease stains on delicate fabrics.


Grease stains on other surfaces

Grease stains on rubber, plastic or plastic fabric can be cleaned with hot water and soap. Rinse well afterwards. NEVER use petroleum based products on rubber because it ruins it.

Turpentine or similar substance stains are softened with butter. Butter is easy to remove.

Grease stains on wallpaper could be covered with a thick layer of soft clay. Let it dry for one day, brush the wall carefully and wash the wallpaper using only water.

Grease stains on leather can be removed using ammonium carbonate mixed with hot water. Mix these and apply the paste over the stain. After it dries, brush it off.

You can apply a leather balm or shoe shine afterwards.

Grease stains on pictures can be removed using a cotton ball soaked in acetone. Tap the stain lightly and let it dry. Cover the stain with absorbent paper and then iron with a warm iron.

Grease stains on hard surfaces come out using clay mixed with vinegar.

For grease stains on wood use absorbent paper soaked in Varsol®.

For hard to remove grease stains use Varsol®.

Grease stains on suede or wool fabric sprinkle body talc or flour. Let it seat for a while and brush off.

Grass stains:

Rub enzyme based liquid detergent into the stain. Wash with the hottest water allowed for that type of fabric. If the fabric is white, you can add chlorine bleach as well.

Never treat them with water because they become more difficult to remove. For the majority of fabrics it is recommended to treat with ethyl alcohol or ammonia diluted in water. Rinse with cold water afterwards.

Apply butter onto the stain which dissolves the chlorophyll in the grass. After that you can wash the stain with soap and hot water.

Before you wash the garment sprinkle baking powder onto the stain and let it work.

Before washing grass stains treat the stains with ethyl alcohol.

Fresh grass stains can be eliminated rubbing them with lemon juice.

You can use the magic stain remover on grass stains.

Vomit stains:
You can use baking soda to clean vomit stains on non-washable fabrics. Remove the excess vomit with a paper towel, and then use a wet sponge or a rag soaked in baking soda and water.

For washable fabrics remove the excess vomit from the surface, and then soak the fabric in warm water with mild soap and baking soda.

Mildew stains:
Tents, backpacks, bags and other items that aren’t properly dried before storing, develop mildew naturally. To remove this mildew mix sodium hypochlorite with water in a proportion of 1 part of sodium hypochlorite to 20 parts of water. Rub the affected parts with a sponge soaked in this solution and let it dry thoroughly.

Linen clothes with mildew stains can be cleaned with butter whey. Apply the whey and let it sit for half a day before washing it.

To remove stubborn mildew stains touch them with a solution of ammonia and water before you wash the clothes normally.

Bird dropping stains:
Use magic stain remover formula.

Soak fabric in warm water with enzyme based detergent, then wash.

To remove stubborn bird dropping spots apply hydrogen peroxide by the drop until you saturate the stain. If the clothes are white use a mixture of warm water and ammonia. Color fabrics can be treated with Varsol®.

Pollen stains:
Shake the garment to remove as many spores as possible. Use the sticky side of scotch tape to lift off the remaining pollen. Do not remove pollen with your hands because you might rub the pollen grains into the fabric and the oil from your hands may set the stain. Place the fabric directly under sunlight for a few hours and the stain will disappear.

Tobacco stains:

  • Tobacco stains can be removed taking the following steps:
  • Wash clothes and after that rub the stains with egg yolk and then with alcohol.
  • Let the garment sit for about an hour.
  • Apply aguardiente (alcohol) and then wash with hot water.
  • Rinse with cold water.

Sweat stains:
To remove sweat stains from your color clothes soak them in water with vinegar. Or apply the mixture to the specific area. Repeat the operation if necessary.

Baking soda is another good stain remover for sweat stains. Make a paste with baking soda and water and rub on the stain.

Try my magical stain remover; it also works on this type of stains.

A mixture of 4 parts of alcohol and 1 part of salicylic acid can remove sweat stains too.

On white garments a mixture of equal parts of alcohol and salt ammonia is very effective.

To remove the smell of sweat from a dress, place the stain between two rags moistened with water and ammonia and iron it with a warm iron. You might have to repeat this procedure a few times.

Sweat stains on leather garments can be treated with a solution of ammonia in water and then rinse them carefully with warm water.

Egg stains:
Egg stains on washable fabrics are not a problem, just remove the egg with a kitchen spatula and wash normally with cold water.
If the stain is on a non-washable fabric remove the egg with a wet sponge in warm water and salt.
You can also try letting the egg dry and brushing it off.
On white clothes: rub the stain with wet salt and then wash with hot water.
Egg stains on colour fabrics can be removed with a solution of ammonia and water. You can also use the magic stain remover. ( see recipe).

Tea stains:
Treat them with glycerine before you wash them with clear water.

Chocolate stains:
Don’t let the stain set in. Rub the stain with boric acid before it dries.
Wash the garment with soda water or soap and after the chocolate has been removed, treat it as you would any grease stain.

Mustard stains:
Rub a raw onion on the stain before washing it as usual.

Coca-cola stains:
A garment that has been stained with coffee should be placed in cold water with salt, immediately.
If you accidentally drop coffee or tea on your clothes, rub them with very cold water as soon as you get the stain.
Coffee stains disappear with warm water and borax.
For coffee or tea stains on colour fabrics, dilute an egg yolk in a little bit of warm water. Apply this solution on the stain. Rinse with warm water.
Before you wash a garment that has been stained with coffee, rub stain with glycerine.
Boiling white clothes in a mixture of water and mild soap always gets rid of coffee stains.

Wine stains:
When you spill wine on a tablecloth add lemon juice to the stain and let it dry. Wash normally.
It the stain is red wine on a white tablecloth, add salt and soda water.
On red wine stains use ethyl alcohol and water on equal parts.
Apply a thick layer of salt as soon as you spill the wine and the stain will come off easily.
Red wine stains can be removed with soda water, white wine of champagne. Apply any of these three on the red wine stain and it will disappear immediately. The other, white wine and champagne stains, will come off in the laundry.
Cotton clothes or wool colour clothes can be washed with salt of ammonia.
Red wine stains on white cotton clothes can be removed with chlorine bleach.
To remove red wine stains on furniture or carpets, add soda water first and dry with paper towels.

Cod Oil stains:
Treat repeatedly with turpentine and hot soapy water. This procedure can remove very persistent stains. If the stain is on white fabrics place them outside in the sun after the treatment.

Mayonnaise stains:
Scrape off excess mayonnaise and treat it with a pre-wash solution. Wash with the hottest water possible.

Barbecue sauce stains:
Flush cold water from the inside to the outside of the garment. The best way is to put it under a faucet and let the water run. Use a toothbrush to tamp the stain from the inside out. Don’t scrub! Add a solution of white vinegar and water to what remains of the stain and let it sit. Wash in warm water.

Milk stains:
The best thing to do is to rinse the clothes in cold water immediately.
Milk or any milk based sauce stains can be treated with diluted alcohol.
If the milk stain is on non washable fabrics use turpentine oil and lemon juice to remove the stain. Mix 2 parts turpentine oil, 1 part lemon juice.

Liquor stains:
If the stain is fresh, place clothes in hot water immediately.
If the stain is old, wet with diluted alcohol before you use a mixture of peroxide and ammonia. You can also use the magic stain remover.

Ice cream or Yogurt stains:
Soak stains in cold water for a half an hour. After that rub with a liquid detergent and wash. If the stain is old and dry, let it set in for several hours.

Beer stains:
Use alcohol mixed with a mild liquid soap.
Use warm water and salt of ammonia on delicate fabrics.

Chewing gum stains:

  • Chewing gum on small garments can be eliminated putting the garment in the freezer. Larger pieces of clothing, furniture or carpets can be treated with ice cubes. Coldness can make chewing gum become breakable and pieces of it can be removed scraping them from the surface of the fabric.
  • Use the same technique, but try removing the excess gum with benzene and then wash.
  • Try paint thinner instead of benzene to remove what is left of the gum. Wash normally.
  • After removing the majority of the gum, try using egg white to remove the rest. Wash normally.
  • Apply hairspray on the gum and let it dry. Then scrape off with a knife.

Vinegar stains:
Remove vinegar stains with a solution of ammonia and water.

Cocoa stains:
You can remove this type of stains with a mixture of water and a little amount of alcohol. Dry with a clean cloth.

Lipstick stains:
Do not apply soap on lipstick stains even if the fabric is washable because they will become permanent. Rub Vaseline on the stain and then dry clean or wash with water depending on the fabric.
Almost all greasy stains can be removed placing a clean rug under the stain and putting a few Varsol® drops on it. Slowly letting the fabric absorb the substance.
Make-up stains:
To remove make-up stains from clothes rub them with bread.
Acid stains:
Acid normally destroys fabric very fast. The key is to act fast and eliminate the stains so you can save what you can.
Wet the stain with a solution made with ammonia and water. Rinse well with lots of water.
Water stains:
Water stains can be eliminated rubbing them with a warm mixture of two parts of water and one part ethyl alcohol. After that you iron them using a steam iron on the clothes.
Water stains on leather garments can be eliminated rubbing the leather with a sliced onion after cleaning and shining the leather.
If the water stains are on non-washable fabrics, use a brush impregnated with a solution of ammonia and water. After that rub it with a wet rag.
Ink stains:
Ball pen ink stains can be removed rubbing it with ethyl alcohol.
Other ink stains can also be removed with hairspray. Apply the hairspray, let it sit for a few minutes and wash with soap and water.
A favorite one around here is to soak the ink stain overnight in milk. Wash the next day with soap and water and the stain will come out easily.
If the stain is very stubborn of it has been dry for a few days apply a solution of:
1 part of glycerin, 1 part liquid soap and 8 parts water.
Apply the mixture tapping gently with a small brush.
DO NOT BRUSH the stain, just tap gently.
If the stain is on a non-washable fabric dry with a towel.
Fresh ink stains can be removed with salt and hot water and then use alcohol spirit.
The best way to remove old dry ink stains is with oxalic acid (VERY POISONOUS). Let it sit for a while until the stains become brown, then rinse with warm water. YOU MUST WEAR protection when working with this product.
For fine clothes wash the garment with milk and treat the rest of the stain with alcohol.
You can use lemon juice to bleach ink stains on white clothes. The remaining yellow spot that is left over from the ink stain can be removed with potassium oxalate.
Use a pinch of tartaric acid to remove ink stains from hands and clothes. The stain will become red but it will disappear completely when you wash it. Never use water before doing this treatment.
Perfume stains:
Mix alcohol and mild soap and apply over the stain.
A mixture of ammonia and water removes this type of stains.
Iodine stains:
If iodine drops onto washable fabrics rinse the fabric with cold water and place it on top of a heated surface such as a furnace or a water heater; if it is a sunny day place in the sun. Wash it normally.
If the fabric isn’t washable with water, rub the stain with alcohol or place a sponge soaked in alcohol under the stain for several hours. It will yield better results if the stain is fresh.
Wet the stain in a solution of potassium permanganate and then with vinegar. Rinse well with warm water.
Rub the stain with a raw potato. As a chemical reaction, the stain will become even darker. Wash the stain repeatedly with clear water until the stain has disappeared.
Paint stains:
Water based paint can be removed if the paint is still wet. If the paint dries, it becomes more difficult to remove. Add hot water and any detergent.
If the paint dries out, clean with paint thinner or turpentine and a toothbrush. Wash with hot water and detergent. Repeat the operation until all the paint has come out.
On knits that aren’t too delicate soften the paint with Vaseline and rub with a rag impregnated with turpentine.
For non washable surfaces put Varsol® on the paint and as the paint dissolves soak it with absorbent paper. Repeat until all the stain has been removed.
Lubricant oil stains:
Spread a thick layer of butter on the stain. Let it sit for 15 minutes so the butter dissolves the lubricant stain. Scrape off the excess and wash clothes normally with soap and water.
If the lubricant oil is hardly soluble it is better to use pork lard instead of butter. Further treatment with Varsol® or Turpentine may prove useful.
Engine oil stains on leather can be removed with shoe polish or floor wax.
Tar stains:
To solve the problem of tar stains on non-delicate clothes spray with common insecticide. Scrub energetically and it will come off easily when you wash the garment.
A few glycerin drops over the stain help soften the tar before you wash with hot water.
Apply pork lard on the stain and rub before you apply Varsol® or soap. The residue can be removed with turpentine and wash normally.
f the tar stain is on delicate clothes, touch them with egg yolk lightly before washing them with soap and water.
Shoe polish stains:
You can remove them with turpentine. After that the stains can be removed with potassium permanganate.
Ink pen stains:
The best way to remove them is to moisten the stain with pure alcohol. If the stain is fresh you can use shaving cream.
Treat the stain with alcohol or a solution of half alcohol half vinegar.
Wax stains:
Place absorbent paper or paper towel under and another one over the wax stain. Iron until the wax has been completely absorbed by the paper.
Never try to scrape wax stains on furniture. Rub them with a piece of cloth soaked in oil.
If you get wax on a tablecloth from the dinner candles, scrape as much as possible with a knife. Then soak the tablecloth for 15 minutes in a mixture of 1 part of alcohol and 2 parts hot water.
Apply the blow dryer on hot until the wax has softened so it can be removed easily. Remove what is left with hot water and vinegar.
Nail Polish stains:
Can be removed with acetone or nail polish remover.
Adhesive stains:
There are many different types of adhesive and some are stronger than others. Try one of this stain removing methods:
For strong glue stains: Mix water and vinegar. Heat the water to warm. Place the garment inside let it sit for a while and then wash.
Place a cotton ball impregnated with alcohol on the stain and let it sit. When the stain softens, remove it with a paper towel.
Nail polish remover also works well on glue stains.
Rust stains:
Sprinkle the stain with salt and lay it in the sun. Rinse and repeat the operation.
Submerge the garment in salty cold water and expose it to the sun. Rinse well with cold water.
Place the stained part in a pot of hot water and squeeze a lemon over the stain. Wait a few minutes and rinse the stain.
Mix lemon juice and salt and cover the stain with it. Lay it in the sun for a few hours. Rinse well in cold water.
If the rust stain persists use oxalic acid dissolved in water.
Use ammonia diluted in water to remove rust stains from wool or silk.
Oxalic acid easily removes rust stains but it is HIGHLY POISONOUS. Wear a mask and gloves when working with this product.
Artist Oil Paint stains:
If the stain is fresh there are more possibilities to be removed easily. Apply turpentine oil on the fresh stain and rub with a piece of wool fabric. Wash garment normally.
If the stain is already dry, apply soft bar soap and let the paint get soft. At least 1 day. Rub the paint with lye, salt or if it is too hard to remove, use fine sand.