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Laundry

How to Remove Stains From Clothes: A Handy Stain Removal Guide

Stains happen, we just have to know how to deal with them! Use this handy stain removal guide to find out tricks for removing the most common stains.

Key Steps for Stain Removal:

  • It’s always best to tackle stains as quickly as possible.
  • Be sure to read the care label on your garment to determine which type of stain removal method to use.

There are so many different substances that can stain your clothes – from food and drink to ink, lipstick, and oil. Every stain has a different remedy, and the material of your garment will have an impact on how you clean it. So, what do you do when you get a stain on your favourite jacket, dress, or shirt?

For the ultimate laundry stain removal guide ­– read on!

How to Remove Stains from Clothes: Pre-Treating Different Fabrics

When treating a stain, you need to think about the fabric of your garment – whether it’s cotton, synthetic, wool, or silk. This will have an impact on how you remove a stain. Before doing anything, check the garment’s care label for any instructions; then follow these simple stain guidelines.

How to Remove Stains from Cotton:

  • Cotton is a durable fabric, so you can use a number of techniques to remove stains from cotton garments without worrying about damaging the fabric.

How to Remove Stains from Synthetics:

  • There are many different types of synthetic fabric, and generally they all are durable, so you can be quite firm when you work on the stain.
  • Often synthetic fabrics will respond well to regular detergents that contain enzymes, but harsh chemicals like bleach are not a good idea.
  • 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, so make sure to read the instructions on the label.
  • Dry the garment flat to maintain shape.
  • If necessary, take the garment to a professional for specialist stain treatment.

How to Remove Stains from Silk:

  • Even though you might be treating a small stain, it’s important to soak the whole garment to avoid water spotting.
  • Silk is incredibly delicate, so tough stains are better treated at the dry cleaners.

Home Remedies for Removing Common Stains

Let’s face it, most of us run for the Surf excel Bar as soon as disaster strikes. But ingredients you can find at home can help remove stains, too. Always remember to try out these methods on inconspicuous areas of your garment first to make sure that there is no discolouration or damage. If in doubt, you can always take your garment to a specialist for advice.

Removing Chocolate Stains with Milk

  • First, remove any excess chocolate by putting the garment in the freezer and then scraping the hardened chocolate off.
  • Then, run hot water down the back of the chocolate stain to melt it and push it through to the front.
  • Rub washing up detergent into the stain and then soak the garment in milk for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Wash as normal and repeat if necessary.

Removing Berry Stains with Lemon Juice

  • Wash the berry stain as normal and 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.
  • 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. Soaking the area in an alcohol-based product, like methylated spirits or hairspray, will be the best solution in this case.
  • Dab at the stain with an absorbent cloth until it fades.
  • Then, wash as normal.

Removing Oil Stains with Dishwashing Liquid

  • Oil and any form of greasy stain can benefit from a squirt of dishwashing liquid or washing detergent applied directly and rubbed in.
  • Wash on a hot cycle, and repeat if necessary.

Removing Blood Stains with Salt

  • Time is of the essence with blood stains – the sooner you can treat the stain, the better the outcome.
  • Create a paste with salt and cold water.
  • Rub this paste directly onto the stain, ideally within 10-15 minutes of the stain occurring.
  • Rinse with cold water (not hot) and repeat as necessary.

So, there you have it. With this stain removal guide, getting your clothes clean and spotless will be quick and easy!

We recommend


Washing clothes with a laundry detergent like Surf excel Easy Wash will help you fight stains with minimal effort. For tough stains, scrub the mark with the Surf excel Bar, but remember to always check the care label on the item beforehand and to test on a hidden area first.