Everybody stains their clothes from time to time – from finding a leaking pen in your pocket to accidentally spilling food onto your clothes during lunchtime. Stains can be troublesome and permanent when not dealt with properly.
Instead of spending more money to buy yourself a new piece of clothing, read on to find out how to remove common clothing stains so you can get the most out of your wardrobe.
1. Removing gravy stains
Curry stain is one of the most common gravy stains. Made from a rich blend of spices and colours, this flavourful gravy can be a pain to get rid of it once it’s found its way to your clothing. The reason behind it is turmeric, one of the ingredients in the curry which stains your clothes yellow.
Here’s how to save your clothing from the delicious turmeric-based dishes such as Laksa and Rendang!
Step 1: Scrape off as much residue as possible using a spoon or knife.
Don’t remove residue with a cloth or tissue paper as you might drive the stain deeper into your clothes, which will make it tougher to remove.
Step 2: Soak up excess oil from the stain with flour/baking soda or absorbent paper towel. Leave it on for about 20 minutes.
Tip: It’s important to remove excess oil before rinsing it with water as oil repels water. You could accidentally stain your clothes permanently!
Step 3: Dust off the baking soda and apply liquid dish soap onto the stained area.
Step 4: Gently rub the liquid dish soap into the stain until the stain gets lighter.
Step 5: Let it sit for 30 minutes or as per directed by the product label before rinsing the soap off with cold water.
Step 6: Wash your stained clothes in lower temperature water, ideally 30ºC.
If you’re dealing with saturated stains, apply lemon juice or vinegar for 30 minutes before rinsing it off and laundering with detergent! Remember to treat these stains as soon as possible for a higher chance of removing it from your clothes.
2. Removing dairy stains
Dairy products like yoghurt, ice-cream and milk are delicious snacks on a hot day. However, they are a chore to clean if you split any on your clothes.
Let’s not cry over spilt milk and instead go through these steps promptly to ensure that the stain doesn’t set into your clothes.
Step 1: Remove any excess dairy products from your clothes.
Step 2: Flush or soak your stained clothing in cold water. Do not use warm or hot water as it could cause the stain to set further.
Step 3: Apply laundry detergent onto the stained area and soak it for about 15 to 30 minutes.
Tip: For old and dried stains, soak it in water for 30 to 45 minutes.
Step 4: Rub the stained area every 3 to 5 minutes until the stain is gone.
Step 5: Machine-wash your stained clothes according to the washing instructions on the care label. Avoid tossing your clothes into the dryer until you’re sure there’s no stain left.
Also check out on StyleMag: A Guide To Laundry Care Symbols (+ A Cheatsheet For Homeowners)
3. Removing coffee/tea/Milo stains
Having a cup of coffee or tea is a good way to wind down after a long day. However, an accidental coffee or tea spill can ruin that good mood.
These simple steps work on coffee, tea and even Milo stains if you have children at home!
Step 1: Blot away excess coffee or tea with a paper towel or clean cloth.
Step 2: Run the backside of the stain underneath cold water until the water running out is completely clear.
Step 3: Apply liquid detergent/dish soap to both sides of the stained area and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Step 4: Gently rub the stained area with a laundry brush for at least 10 minutes.
Step 5: Wash your stained clothes with a detergent in the hottest water temperature allowed on the care label.
Tip: If you are dealing with an old stain, soak the stained garment into a solution mixture of warm water and oxygen-based bleach for at least 4 hours. After that, wash as per usual.
4. Removing baby food stains
When it comes to children, food stains are inevitable! They’d end up spilling food on the table or worse, on their clothes. These steps will help you deal with stains from food such as fruits and vegetables and preserve your child’s clothing.
Step 1: Scoop up any excess food off your children’s clothes. Be careful to not spread it to other areas.
Step 2: Rinse the stained clothes in cold water to loosen the stain. Avoid soaking it in hot water as it might set the stain.
Step 3: Soak the stained clothes for 15 to 30 minutes in equal parts water and rubbing alcohol.
Step 4: Once the stain is gone, wash it as per usual.
After washing out the stains, you can dry the clothes facing the sun so the stains will lighten up or even disappear altogether.
5. How To Remove Ink Stains
Having a pen in your pocket is convenient for you to quickly sign or jot down notes. However, if there is a leakage, your clothes will be in trouble.
Promptly go through these steps so that the ink stains won’t be permanent on your clothes.
Step 1: Place a paper towel underneath the stain and apply some rubbing alcohol on it. You can also use hair or body spray or hand sanitizer as it contains alcohol – it dilutes the stains for easy washing later on.
Step 2: Let your stained clothes soak for 15 minutes.
Step 3: Continue blotting for a few minutes until there are no more stain transfers on the paper towel/cloth.
Step 4: Rinse your clothes under cool water before washing it using the hottest water temperature recommended for the fabric type.
Step 5: If the stain persists (usually for permanent markers), soak your clothes in hot water with liquid laundry detergent overnight. Repeat this step if the stain remains.
Step 6: Once the stain mark has faded, rub in a little more detergent before laundering.
6. Removing sweat stains
Contrary to popular belief, the underarm stains on your clothes are not caused only by your sweat. The mixture of salt in your sweat and the ingredients in your antiperspirant is the primary culprit behind this stain.
Don’t sweat it, here’s how you can remove sweat stains from your clothes!
Step 1: Turn the shirt inside out and sponge the stain with white vinegar until it’s completely soaked.
Step 2: Rub gently and let it sit for up to 30 minutes.
Step 3: Rinse out the vinegar with cold water. Don’t use hot water as it might set the stain.
Step 4: Apply laundry detergent onto the stain and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Step 5: Wash your stained clothing as per usual, using the hottest water temperature setting.
7. How To Remove Blood Stains
Whether you cut yourself with a knife in the kitchen or you’re dealing with that time of the month, bloodstains may seem intimidating. These steps will help you get the bloodstain out in a snap.
Step 1: Soak your blood-stained clothes in cold water. Do not use hot water as it might set the stain.
Step 2: Rub the stain gently with your fingers until the stain lightens. Replace the water if it starts turning pink.
Step 3: Rinse your clothes before applying liquid laundry detergent to the stained area.
Step 4: Allow the detergent to sink into the stain before rubbing the fabric together until the stain is removed. Rinse and repeat until the stain is removed.
Step 5: Machine wash your clothes on a regular cycle.
Tip: If you’re dealing with dried bloodstains, soak your clothes in cold water before applying hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice to the stain. Test out on a small area to ensure that it’s safe to use on your clothes.
How To Remove Makeup Stains
If you’re someone who wears makeup before putting on your clothes, you’d understand the pain of makeup smudges, especially around the neckline.
Fret not, these steps will help you remove your makeup stains – specifically foundation and lipstick stains! For foundation, there are many different types of foundation for different skin types, so do check if these methods are suitable for your type of foundation!
8. Removing foundation stains
Step 1: For powder foundation, remove excess powder with a lint roller or hairdryer. For liquid foundation, remove excess foundation using a blunt knife or the edge of a card. Do not rub as it will push the stains deeper into the fabric.
Step 2: Dampen the stained area with cold water to loosen the stain. Consider using a spray bottle if you’re handling delicates.
Step 3: Apply a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Avoid dishwashing detergent as it’s harsh on your clothes.
Tip: If you’re dealing with oil-free liquid foundation, cover the stain with foam shaving cream for a few minutes. Mix in a little rubbing alcohol if it’s a stubborn stain.
Step 4: Rub the detergent into the stain with your fingers, cloth or a soft-bristled toothbrush to break up the oil in the makeup.
Step 5: Blot the stained area until it’s clean with a paper towel or clean cloth. Don’t rub it as the stain might smear, making it tougher to remove.
Step 6: Rinse under cold water to remove the detergent. If the stain persists, repeat the process.
Step 7: Wash your clothes in the washing machine as per the directions on the label to remove leftover stains and detergent.
9. Removing lipstick stains
Step 1: Remove excess lipstick with a blunt knife or the edge of credit cards to keep the stains from spreading.
Step 2: Dampen a clean cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol – gently dab it on the stained area until the stain is gone.
Step 3: Once the stain is gone, rinse your clothes with cool water to remove any excess product.
Step 4: Wash your clothes as per usual.
Tip: Other products you can use are dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, hairspray or hand sanitizer. Apply it directly onto the stain and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before blotting it with a clean cloth dipped in warm water.
10. How To Remove Stains From Masks
Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic happened, none of us can leave the house without wearing masks. Many of us are using fabric masks as they’re washable. However, for those of you who often wear makeup, you can relate to having makeup stains on the inside of your masks.
Don’t worry, here’s how you can clean your masks after a day out and how to deal with makeup smudges on your masks!
Before you get started, if you have makeup residue on your face masks, pre-treat it with rubbing alcohol or makeup remover wipes. After that, go through with the steps below.
Step 1: Let your masks soak in a bucket of warm water with detergent to kill the bacteria and viruses without damaging the fabric.
Tip: If you’re sensitive to smell, you can opt for a non-scented detergent so it’s easier to wear.
Step 2: Lather the soap and rub the fabric together.
Step 3: Let the masks soak in hot water for about 30 minutes to ensure that all the germs are gone.
Step 4: Rinse and dry. You can dry it in a dryer (using the heat setting), air-dry it under direct sunlight, or iron it on high heat cotton or linen.
Alternatively, you can wash your masks in the washing machine with a detergent on the hottest water temperature your laundry can handle. You can use a mesh laundry bag to avoid tangling your masks with your other laundry.
P.S Check out our Laundry Essentials to organize your laundry essentials and be prepared for any stain emergencies!
Now that you know how to remove some of the common stains, you can find your old stained clothing and see if you can salvage it. Let us know in the comments below if you have any other tips on removing these common stains!
Save this handy infographic on how to get rid of the 10 common stains aforementioned!