There are so many different substances that can stain your clothes – from food and drink to ink and oil - but there are also a lot of fabric types too. Every fabric stain has a different remedy. That's why we've collected these handy stain removal tips - so you can learn everything from what takes out blood stains to how to clean polyester stains.
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How to remove stains from clothes by different fabrics
The fabric your clothes are made from will affect how you remove a stain from it. Always check the care label for any special instructions (discover what wash symbols mean here) and try these common remedies.
How to remove stains from cotton
- Cotton is a durable fabric, so you can use a number of techniques.
- Be cautious of the wash temperature as very hot temperatures can cause cotton to shrink.
- Read our guide on how to prevent cotton from shrinking for more advice on this.
How to remove stains from synthetics
- There are many different types of synthetic fabric and generally they all are very durable.
- Synthetic fabrics often respond well to detergents that contain enzymes - like Persil Bio.
- Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach which can cause damage.
- Check that any specific stain removers you are using are safe for synthetic use.
How to remove stains from wool
- Many commercial stain removers will damage wool fibres. Read the instructions on the label and check before you wash.
- Use a specific detergent designed for wool and then dry the garment flat to maintain its shape.
- If necessary, take the garment to a professional for specialist stain treatment.
How to remove stains from silk
- Use an appropriate detergent on silk - it's a very delicate material.
- Soak the whole garment to avoid water spotting.
- Tough stains are better treated at the dry cleaners.
- For more advice on how to care for this delicate material, read our guide to washing silk at home.
How to clean stains out of polyester
- Polyester is suitable for machine washing and is quite durable.
- Turn knitted garments inside out to prevent damage from your washing machine drum.
- If drying in a tumble dryer, choose a low setting as hot temperatures can lead to shrinkage over time.
How to remove stains from clothes: by stain
Most of us run for the all-purpose stain remover as soon as disaster strikes - or pre-treat with our regular detergent. If this isn't possible, you can remove stains using everyday ingredients from your home; just try them on a small area first to check the results and avoid damage.
Removing chocolate stains with milk
- First, remove any excess chocolate by putting the garment in the freezer.
- Once cooled, scrape the hardened chocolate off.
- Run hot water down the back of the chocolate stain to melt it and push it through the fibres.
- Rub washing-up detergent into the stain.
- Soak the garment in milk for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Finish by washing as normal with your regular detergent.
Removing berry stains with ... lemon juice
- Wash the berry stain as normal.
- Leave it out in direct sunlight for some time to benefit from the bleaching effect of the sun’s rays.
- If it’s a tough stain, rub lemon juice over the top or lay a slice of lemon on the stain.
- Rinse, dry, and repeat if necessary.
Removing tomato stains with vinegar
- Soak the tomato stain for 30 minutes in neat white vinegar (one to two tbsp).
- Rinse, and then rub detergent directly into the stain before washing on a cool cycle.
- Repeat as necessary.
Removing ink stains with hairspray
- An ink stain can be tricky to remove.
- Soak the area in an alcohol-based product, like methylated spirits or hairspray.
- Dab at the stain with an absorbent cloth until it fades.
- Then, wash as normal.
Removing oil stains with dishwashing liquid
- Oil and grease stains can benefit from a squirt of dishwashing liquid or washing detergent.
- Apply directly and rub in.
- Wash clothes on a hot cycle afterwards and repeat if necessary.
- Do not dry before the stain is fully removed.
- If you need to know how to get fresh grease stains out of clothes, absorb excess moisture using cornflour first.
Removing blood stains with salt
- Time is of the essence when learning how to remove blood stains from clothes: the sooner you can treat it, the better.
- Create a paste with salt and cold water.
- Rub directly onto the stain, ideally within 10-15 minutes of the stain occurring.
- Rinse with cold water (not hot) and repeat as necessary.
There you have it, with these easy-to-follow tips stain removal should be a breeze!