How to get stains out of white clothes

If you’ve never had to deal with getting stains out of white clothes, then I’m happy to tell you that it’s relatively easy. However, if you have experienced the terrible consequences of having your favorite white dress stained by a cup of coffee or something else, then you should probably know what to do. Some things that help to get stains out are using cold water and vinegar (or baking soda) and letting them dry in the sun. Always ensure your clothes are clean first before putting them in the sun to dry, or else the stains will set more firmly into place. This article explains more, including some basic methods of getting stains out of white clothes.

Common Types of Stains

It’s important to note that stains are a little bit of everything, which can get your white clothes dirty. Any stain can ruin your white clothing if it stays on and destroys any color other than white when it becomes visible. Some of the most difficult stains to remove from white clothing include:

  1. Blood Stains
    Blood is generally difficult to remove from white clothing because it usually transfers very well from the fabric to any surface or item it touches. Blood removing products tend to be very strong and bright; however, they can usually be used once and then need replacing for good.
    Related: How to Get Blood out of Clothes
  2. Coffee Stains
    Coffee stains are difficult to remove from sleek materials such as silk, nylon, and wool. However, stains on other fabrics, such as cotton and polyester, usually disappear after a quick wash.
  3. Grass Stains
    Grass stains are generally easy to remove from white clothing, especially if you act quickly and focus on the spot when it happens. If you don’t, the stain can spread over a large area and leave a big mess to clean up afterward.
  4. Ink Stains
    Ink is almost always very difficult to remove from white clothing; the sooner you remove it, the better. If you leave the stain on your clothing and try to wash it later, it will seep and spread into the material, making it much harder to remove.
  5. Ketchup/Sauce Stains
    Ketchup or any other wet sauce is difficult to remove from white clothing because it tends to dry and stick on over time. If you don’t treat the stain immediately, it can also cause your clothes to discolor.
  6. Sweat Stains
    sweat stain on white tshirt
    Though sweat is usually easy to remove from white clothing because it dries quite quickly, sometimes the stain can remain on your clothing for a long time before disappearing. Sweat stains are often difficult to remove from white clothes because they are extremely stubborn.
  7. Grease Stains
    Grease stains are some of the most difficult to remove from clothing because they tend to be very heavy and sticky. They often make it difficult to wash out clothing by creating a permanent mess in the material.
  8. Wine Stains
    Wine is similar to blood in that it quickly rubs off on many other surfaces. Wine stains can ruin white clothing if left on for a long time.

6 Ways to Remove Stains From White Clothes

Choosing A Detergent and Stain Remover

When trying to get stains out of white clothes, you must choose a stain remover specially formulated for this task. The best stain remover for whites are detergents containing enzymes and natural chemicals in soil, grass, and plants that break down plant and animal protein stains on fabrics like cotton. Luckily, many detergents on the market today can help remove tough stains from white clothes, so finding one you like shouldn’t be difficult.

Generally speaking, the same stain remover will work on various stains, so you do not need to agonize over what type of stain remover to purchase. If you have a favorite white detergent, stick with it. If you don’t, plenty of other detergents should work just as well.

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Pre-Treat The Area

The first step in getting stains out of white clothes is pre-treating the area where the stain is. Simply add a little bit of your chosen stain remover directly onto the stained area. You can even go so far as to rub it into the fabric, though you should be careful not to rub too hard or too much, as this could damage your clothing beyond repair. After you’ve applied the stain remover directly to the stained area, you need to allow it time to penetrate. Depending on the stain remover and the fabric of your clothing, this could take as little as 20 minutes or as long as overnight.

If you’re concerned about the stain returning, you should pre-treat the area the next day. Pre-treating two days in a row is especially important if you have difficult stains that are more difficult to remove than others. If a large portion of your clothing needs pre-treatment, it may be wise to pre-treat the entire garment.

Wash and Rinse Your Clothes

Once the pre-treatment has had enough time to be absorbed into the fabric, it’s time to wash your clothes and rinse them afterward. Like any stain, starting with cold water and working your way up in temperature is important. For best results, you’ll want to start washing at cold and work up to hot as you go.

The great thing about getting stains out of white clothes is that they generally stand up very well in the washing machine. This means they are generally not ruined by over-washing, though sometimes some spots need more attention than others. If you’re getting particularly stubborn stains, you must not hesitate to do a few extra washes.

Wash With Oxygen Bleach

If you have tried washing your stained clothing in hot water and detergent, then it is likely that the stain is still present on your clothes. At this point, you will want to resort to oxygen bleach to finish removing the stain. You can purchase powdered oxygen bleach at any local store, but be careful not to use it on colored or pre-treated fabrics. It can cause color fading or even permanent damage if you aren’t careful.

The best way to ensure that your clothes don’t get ruined when using oxygen bleach is to ensure that you never add it directly into the washing machine. Instead, it would help if you tried diluting it in a tub of water and then using a washcloth to sponge the oxygen bleach onto the stained area. It’s best to wear rubber gloves when using this method, as oxygen bleach can quickly cause skin irritation.

After applying the oxygen bleach, you will want to agitate your clothes in the washer. This will help remove any excess oxygen bleach that may have been missed. If you purchase powdered oxygen bleach, then it would be a good idea to stir it in with a spoon before adding it to your wash.

Rinse and Repeat for Stubborn Stains

As soon as your clothes have been washed with oxygen bleach but are not yet completely stain-free, you will want to repeat the steps outlined above. While certain stains can be removed with just one round of oxy clean, many need a second round of cleaning before they will be removed completely. If you need to do a second cleaning round, then be sure to use the oxygen bleach on pre-treated areas. Otherwise, your clothes could end up discolored or damaged.

Dry In the Sun to Help Naturally Bleach the Stain

It has previously been proven that heat can help remove stains of all kinds. While this may seem counterintuitive, the truth is that heat can help break down protein and make it easier to remove. For best results, you will want to hang your clothes in the sun for several hours. This will speed up the process, but it will not completely remove the stain on its own.

This method is perfect if you need a little extra help removing tough stains from white clothing. It’s also a great way to naturally bleach-colored clothing without using too much energy or damaging your clothes.


Finding a stain remover that works well on your clothing can be difficult. Fortunately, though, there is no shortage. Many detergents and other cleaners on the market will remove tough stains from white clothing. The best way to find one is to keep trying new things until you find one that works wonders and doesn’t ruin your white clothes. The next time you have a stubborn stain in your closet and need to get it out, don’t worry about ruining your clothes or stressing yourself out by trying to remove it all at once. Try pre-treating the area first, then treat it with a simple solution like oxy clean or oxygen bleach before rinsing everything clean and letting it air dry.

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