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How to get stains out of white clothes

Sadly, stains are common on white clothes. These stains don’t mean you have to throw your favourite white clothes, however. Read below for our simple step-by-step guide for how to get stains out of white clothes.

Updated By Cleanipedia Team

Clean white jeans on a pink carpet
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It can be easy to think you’ve ruined your favourite white shirt when you notice a new and unwanted stain. However, there is no need to panic. The steps to remove brown and yellow stains on white clothes are easier than you think. In this guide, we’ll show you how to get stains out of white clothes in simple steps using some common household products from your own cupboards. Read on to discover top tips and tricks.

Remember it is important to act fast before the stain can set in. Don’t forget to always check the wash care label of the garment before you try to clean it.
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You will need
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RequiredPersil Bio or Persil Ultimate Non-Bio
Persil Bio Bottle
  • Washing Machine
  • Clean Cloth
  • Laundry Detergent
  • White Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Cold Water
  • Ammonia

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How to get stains out of white clothes: top tips

When it comes to getting stains out of white clothes there are a few important key tips you need to be aware of before you get started.

  1. Don’t bleach yellow stains.

    Avoid chlorinated bleach as this may actually darken the stain.

  2. Don’t use a dark coloured cloth or towel to rub the stain.

    Dark colours could make the stain worse, especially if they accidentally lead to colour transfer.

  3. If you’re unsure what kind of stain you’re dealing with don’t use hot water.

    Heat can cause protein-based stains such as blood, egg, or milk to set.

  4. Don’t iron, press, or machine-dry a stained garment since heat causes stains to set.

    Instead, allow items to dry in natural sunlight.

How to remove stains from white clothes using laundry detergent

Commercial laundry detergents can be used to get stains out of white clothes like ketchup, jam, and grass. In just three easy steps we'll show you how to get rid of stains on white clothes using laundry detergent.

  1. Add laundry detergent directly to the stain.

    Add a good-quality laundry detergent, such as Persil, to the stain. Leave the detergent on the stain for five minutes.

  2. Rinse the garment using cold running water.

    Place the stain under cold running water, until you have flushed away all traces of the detergent.

    Always run the cold water from the opposite side of the fabric to the stain, to push the stain away from the fibres.

  3. Wash in washing machine on a normal cycle.

    Finally, wash your clothes as normal, using a high-quality detergent such as Persil. Check the care label and follow the recommendations to wash your clothing as normal.

How to get rid of stains on white clothes using white vinegar

White vinegar is a liquid most households will have in the cupboard. Here are the steps for how to get a stain out of white shirt or other items of clothing using white vinegar, from yellow sweat stains to blood stains.

  1. Pour white vinegar directly onto the stain.

    For a sweat stain or deodorant marks pour a bit of white vinegar directly onto the stain.

  2. Gently rub the white vinegar into the stain.

    Rub the white vinegar into the stain to make sure it is entirely covered.

  3. Wash on a normal wash cycle.

    With the white vinegar covering the stain, wash the garment on a normal wash cycle in the washing machine.

    Don't forget to check the care label to ensure you follow the manufacturer's advice for cleaning your item of clothing.

Three steps for removing stains out of white clothes using salt

You may be surprised to discover that salt is a surprisingly effective option if you're looking for home remedies for how to remove stains from white clothes. Here's how:

  1. Soak the garment in cold salt water.

    Let the garment soak for 3-4 hours in cold salt water.

  2. Rub the stain with laundry detergent.

    Apply liquid laundry detergent directly to the stain. Gently rub the detergent into the stain with your fingers.

  3. Wash in a normal wash cycle.

    With the laundry detergent directly on the stain, put in the washing machine your normal wash cycle.

How to get rid of a stain on a white shirt or other clothing using ammonia

If you want to know how to get brown stains out of white clothes, or even blood and urine stains, ammonia could be your saving grace. Read below for the simple steps to get a stain out of a white shirt using this well-known cleaning compound.

  1. Mix up an ammonia stain remover.

    To create this stain remover you need to mix a 50:50 solution of ammonia and water.

  2. Use a clean cloth to dab ammonia over the stain.

    Take care to dab at the stain instead of rubbing it to avoid pushing the stain further into the clothing fibres.

  3. Wash the clothing as normal.

    As with the other methods above, check the care label before washing your clothing on a normal wash cycle with your usual detergent.

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So, there you go. From liquid detergent to salt there are plenty of stain removal options if you want to get a stain out of a white shirt or other white clothes. Now you've got the stains removed, why not read our article on getting your clothes looking white again?

Frequently asked questions on how to get stains out of white clothes

What causes yellow stains on white clothes?

There are a number of causes of yellow stains on white clothes. These include sweat, antiperspirant, and even damp. To avoid this, always wash your white clothing as soon as you can, and ensure your garments are fully dry before putting them away.

How can I get dried on stains out of white clothes?

If you’re wondering how to remove old stains from white clothes, why not try baking soda? Mix up a paste using baking soda and water. Gently scrub the stain using the paste and a soft bristled brush. Leave the paste to work for 2-3 minutes and rinse before washing your clothing as normal.

How can I remove colour run from my white clothes?

If you’ve accidentally washed your white clothes with something coloured, don’t panic. Soaking the colour run in distilled white vinegar is a great method for getting your whites back to white again. If all else fails and the colour run seems to be sticking around, why not give your clothes new lease of life and try your hand at tie-dying them.

Originally published