8 Common Stains and How to Remove Them

Santy Gibson/Demand Media

They say you shouldn't cry over spilled milk, but what they forgot to add was, "Don't cry over hard-to-remove stains, either." Some stains are stubborn, yes, but that doesn't mean you can't nix them with a little elbow grease and a powerful washer and dryer. Here are eight common laundry stains and ways to erase them from history (and your fabrics).

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1. Grass Stains Be Gone

Whether you've got kids who appreciate the outdoors, or you appreciate the outdoors, grass stains are expected. To say goodbye to these green goblins, pre-wash the garment by applying laundry detergent with enzymes directly to the stain. Rub the fabric together, rinse and then launder on the hottest possible water setting.

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2. Give Deodorant Stripes the Boot

Those white streaks that appear on your shirt are likely a major frustration as you're getting ready, but don't fret. To remove them quickly, apply a couple drops of liquid detergent to the stains, gently rub and let set for about five minutes. Rinse well and then throw the garment into your dryer.

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3. Abolish Greasy Cooking Oil

Getting a little cooking oil on yourself is par for the course for anyone who spends time in the kitchen. Quickly remove the article of clothing and dab with paper towels to soak up excess oil. Then spread an even coat of baking soda on the front and back of the stain. Let it set for a couple hours, rinse and throw in the washing machine with detergent as normal. Repeat if necessary.

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4. Oust Messy Wax Stains

A candle that's toppled over doesn't spell doom. To remove wax stains, place the fabric in the freezer until the wax hardens and then use a spoon to scrape off the hard wax. Place sheets of brown paper bag under the stain and on top of the stain, then iron. Change out the paper as often as needed until you get zero wax transfer. Finally, run the fabric through the recommended cycle in your washer.

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5. Undo Those Cosmetics Stains

Lipstick, eyeshadow or foundation that transfers from your face to your clothing isn't too big a deal. To remove, pre-treat the cosmetic stains with a liquid detergent or store-bought stain remover. Gently rub the fabric together to work up some suds, then rinse thoroughly. From there, wash the garment according to the tag's instructions, and your garment will appear as good as new.

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6. Obliterate Wine and Coffee Stains

Red wine and coffee are loaded with tannins, which are notorious for their staining. The faster you address a tannin stain, the better. Begin by blotting excess liquid with a sponge. Next, combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and dishwashing soap and pour onto the stain. Soak for several hours, rinse with hot water and launder immediately on your washer's hottest setting. Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, so omit it if cleaning dark fabrics.

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7. Say Sayonara to Stubborn Ink

Ink stains are particularly stubborn, but you can fade them with the proper procedure. Lay the stained article on top of a clean towel and soak with hot water. Blot fabric with a sponge, apply liquid laundry detergent and set for five minutes. Launder in the hottest water recommended. Note that permanent ink stains—versus ballpoint or water-based—are nearly impossible to remove. You can fade them with bleach (light fabrics) or rubbing alcohol.

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8. Remove Dry and Fresh Blood Stains

Two types of blood stains exist: fresh and dried. For the former, rinse the article under cold water immediately. A fair amount of the blood will wash right out, leaving a faint stain behind. Launder according to fabric directions and any remaining blood should wash out. For dried blood, pre-treat with an enzyme stain remover and launder as normal. If the stain persists, apply bleach or hydrogen peroxide (light fabrics only) and wash again.

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