How to remove set in stains | The Great American Laundromat (2023)

In a perfect world, you would be able to treat stains as soon as spills happen. However, in reality, that is definitely not an option for most of us — especially when kids are in the equation. If you have reached your wit’s end trying to remove set in stains from your family’s clothing, we have good news for you! Below is our quick guide for learning how to remove set in stains.

There are actually a variety of effective ways to remove even the most stubborn stains from your clothing and linens. All you need is a little bit of time and some elbow grease. Ready to get started? Here are our top solutions for removing set in stains from just about anything.

Solution 1: Remove set in stains with good, old-fashioned bleach

The reason this tried-and-true cleaning method has maintained its popularity over the years is that it is one of the easiest and most effective options for getting rid of stains. When choosing a bleach stick to an oxygen bleach product that is powdered and includes sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate in its formulation. Some of the top options on the market include OxiClean, Oxo-Brite, and Biokleen.

Once you have your bleach ready to go, it is time to find a container that you can soak your soiled clothing in for five to six hours. When choosing a container, be sure to factor in enough room for both the stained item and the bleach water solution.

(Video) Stain Removal in Hotels | Clean Middle East

After choosing the perfect container, it is time to treat your stain! You will want to fill your container with hot water (cold water will not have effective results with oxygen bleach) and then add the bleach according to the directions on the container.

Now it’s time for a good long soak. The amount of time needed to remove a set in stain will vary depending on the severity of the stain. For optimum results, we suggest letting your clothing soak for five to six hours. While it soaks be sure to check in from time to time on the progress. You may also want to give the clothing an occasional stir to ensure the bleach does not all settle on the bottom of the container.

Following this process run your item through a normal laundry cycle. Once you have washed the item, check it to ensure the stain is completely removed, since drying can actually set the stain. If the stain is still there, you may need to use this same method again, or you may want to move on to another solution for the removal of set stains.

And that leads us to . . .

(Video) How Do Hospitals Wash Their Dirty Laundry? | How It’s Made

Solution 2: How to remove set in stains with white vinegar!

Yet again white vinegar comes to the rescue when it comes to household chores. Considered to be as effective as oxygen bleach by many, white vinegar is incredibly powerful when it comes to removing stubborn stains. To treat your stained clothing or linen follow the below easy steps.

1. Begin your treatment process by saturating the stained area of your garment with white vinegar.
2. After fully saturating the area, create a paste from white vinegar and baking soda, and vigorously rub the stained area.
3. Once you have done this, it’s time for a good soak. For this you can either fill a container with enough vinegar to completely cover the stain, and place the item in to soak, or, you can mix several tablespoons of white vinegar and your favorite laundry detergent in a bucket of water and soak the stain overnight.
4. Following this, give the item a good rinse and run it through a normal laundry cycle.
5. Similarly to the bleach method, do not dry the item if the stain is not thoroughly removed, as this can make worsen the stain. If the stain persists re-try this solution, or look into a stain-fighting treatment tailored to your specific type of stain.

And that leads us to . . .

Solution 3: Choose a treatment specific to your stain

If you have tried the first two stain removal solutions with little or no success, it may be time to try a treatment focused on the specific stain causing agent. Below are some of the most common causes of stains and the best solutions for getting rid of them successfully.

(Video) Equipment Review: Best Laundry Stain Removers & Our Testing Winner

Blood Stains

When it comes to getting rid of blood stains there are a variety of effective treatment options. A few of these include hydrogen peroxide, cornstarch, ammonia, soda, WD-40, and even meat tenderizer.

Ink Stains

Believe it or not, hairspray is actually the key to getting rid of tough ink stains! To use this method, simply spray the stained area with a hairspray of your choice. After this, just dab the area with a vinegar soaked rag and watch the ink magically disappear from sight.

Sweat Stains

Another surprising stain removal technique is using crushed aspirin to remove sweat stains. You heard us right! To use this method, crush up three aspirin pills (uncoated) and mix with a half cup of water that is room temperature. Soak the stain in this solution for two to three hours, give it a good wash, and voila! Your clothing should be as good as new.

Grease Stains

Grease stains can be incredibly frustrating to remove, so it makes sense to use a product formulated specifically for grease removal: dish soap! To use this treatment method, fill a ziplock bag with dish soap and hot water, and place the garment inside. Shake it up, let it soak, and your stain should be nothing but a distant memory.

(Video) The Secret to Getting WHITE CLOTHES WHITER (Easy Stain Removal)!!

Want to learn more about easy ways to optimize your laundry routine to get your clothing and linens looking their cleanest and brightest? Contact our team of laundry experts today!

We’ll do your laundry for you!

At the Great American Laundry, our drop off service allows you to get time back in your week by letting our laundry experts do your laundry for you! Simply drop off your dirty laundry and pick it up washed, dried, and folded!

Check out our Wash Dry Fold Service!


How do you get set in stains out of clothes that have been dried? ›

Mixing 1 part dish soap to 2 parts peroxide and water. Applying the mixture to the dried stains. Putting on a glove and rubbing the mixture gently onto the stain. Letting it sit overnight.

How do you get stains out of already set in? ›

  1. Apply white vinegar to the area, let it soak in for a couple minutes.
  2. Pour salt onto the stained area, then work it in with your fingers.
  3. Put the garment in the sun and let it air dry.
  4. Wash as usual.
  5. Check to see if the stain's gone, repeat the steps if not.
Dec 1, 2019

What is the best stain remover for set in stains? ›

OxiClean has the best overall value for its ability to tackle tough, set-in stains on clothes and throughout other household areas. We think it's the best laundry stain cleaner on the market and can replace several products in the laundry room. OxiClean is also easy to use in most cases.

How do you remove unknown set in stains? ›

Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent with enzymes with 1 cup of water. Add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar and stir. Use a Dobie All Purpose Cleaning Pad to apply the detergent-vinegar mixture to your unidentified stain. Blot with the pad until the stain is gone.

What is the most difficult stain to remove? ›

The Ten Worst Stains (and How to Treat Them)
  • Red Wine. ...
  • Chocolate. ...
  • Fruit & Fruit Juice. ...
  • Grass. ...
  • Coffee. ...
  • Grease. ...
  • Ink. A hand hack to remove ink from clothing is using a hairspray! ...
  • Perspiration. Perspiration is a difficult stain to remove.
Apr 30, 2020

What is the best homemade stain remover? ›

  1. Mix 1-part Dawn dishwashing liquid and 2-parts hydrogen peroxide in a *dark spray bottle or bowl. ( ...
  2. Spray or pour Miracle Cleaner directly on the stain, launder as usual and watch it disappear like MAGIC.
Aug 20, 2014

Will Dawn remove set in stains? ›

Turns out the solution to these stubborn stains has been right in front of my face this entire time: It's Dawn Dish Soap.

Does OxiClean remove set in stains? ›

Even if that stained shirt has been sitting at the bottom of the laundry bin forever, OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover can get out even old, set-in stains.

Does hydrogen peroxide remove stains? ›

Hydrogen peroxide works differently than vinegar and is better at removing different types of stains. Hydrogen peroxide doesn't actually remove stains—it just makes them invisible! It breaks up strong chemical bonds in stains including ink, and in doing so it makes the stains colorless—but they're still there!

How do you get stubborn stains out? ›

In a spray bottle, combine 1 cup white vinegar and 1 cup water. Spritz the stain, then blot with a damp cloth. Next, dab with diluted ammonia (1 tablespoon clear ammonia in 1 cup water)—a step probably best saved for once you're home from the office, to avoid drawing attention to the aroma.

Are there any stains that Cannot be removed? ›

Cocoa is made up of some of the world's toughest stains. It is essentially made from chocolate, which by itself is already a big culprit for dark stains. Apart from this, the drink also proves to be a tough stain to remove because it has the strong combination of proteins, fat, and sugar.

Why does baking soda and vinegar remove stains? ›

The acetic acid in vinegar acts as a disinfectant and reacts with the baking soda to lift stains. This combination is also great for brightening whites. With a little bit of scrubbing and leaving the paste to set for 30 minutes, I was able to almost remove the stains completely from my white jeans.

How does baking soda remove set stains? ›

As a Stain Remover

Make a paste with six tablespoons of baking soda and 1/3 cup of warm water, rub it into the stain and let it do its thing. The baking soda will lift the stain out of the fibers. Discard the baking soda before you put the item in the washer.

Does vinegar remove stains? ›

Distilled white vinegar is actually one of the best stain removers we have been given from nature. Found in invariably every household, it is mildly acidic, so acetic vinegar removes the tough spots and blotches without ruining the fabric of your clothes.

What ingredient that has a powerful stain removing ingredients? ›

Enzymes. Enzymes are powerful stain removing ingredients. Their power is to break down stains—just like the enzymes in our digestive system help break down the food we eat.

What are the five types of stain removal? ›

Learn the stain removal techniques for presoaking, scraping, freezing, sponging, and tamping.
  • Presoaking. Presoaking is a useful and effective treatment for washable articles that are grayed, yellowed, or heavily stained. ...
  • Scraping. ...
  • Freezing. ...
  • Sponging. ...
  • Tamping.

Does peroxide and Dawn remove stains? ›

Hydrogen peroxide and dishwashing liquid is one of the best stain removers around. Nurses have long known that this is the magic solution to getting rid of blood stains, and you can also use it on stains like mustard, ketchup, and even red wine. Scrub until the stain is gone, then launder as usual.

How do you remove tough stains naturally? ›

Use a solution of 50 percent vinegar and 50 percent water on the stain. Apply liberally and then treat with laundry soap and water. “DO NOT put the garment in the dryer until you have seen that the stain is gone,” he warns.

Can a stain be removed after drying? ›

If you find a stain on an item that has been through a hot dryer, it doesn't have to be permanent. By using the right laundry products and the right technique, stains that have been dried do come out.

Are set stains permanent? ›

Heat can set stains permanently. Once you toss the item into the dryer, the stain is set for good. If the stain remains after the first wash, pre-treat and wash again before drying to try and remove the stain.

How much dawn and peroxide does it take to remove stains? ›

So for a small stain mix 1 teaspoon of Dawn with two teaspoons of peroxide. For a large batch 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide to ½ cup detergent works! How to you remove stains with odors? Add a little bit of baking soda if your stain also has odor-like underarm stains, pet stains, vomit, or greasy stains.

Does dawn and vinegar remove stains? ›

Mix 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 1 tbsp. of dish soap, and water in a spray bottle. Spray the area liberally and let soak for 5-10 minutes and then blot again with a clean, dry towel until stain is removed.

What happens if you leave clothes in OxiClean too long? ›

According to the product page on Amazon: “Do not store solutions for more than 6 hours, as the pressure can build up and the container may rupture, causing injury.”

What not to use OxiClean on? ›

Don't use OxiClean on wool, silk, or other off-limits fabrics. OxiClean's manufacturer suggests that it should not be used on the following fabrics: wool, wool blends, silk, silk blends, leather, or on fabrics labeled dry clean only.

How long should you let hydrogen peroxide sit on a stain? ›

To treat stains, pour or spray a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on the stain. Allow it to soak into the fabric for about 10 minutes before washing the garment as usual.

What happens when you mix hydrogen peroxide and dish soap? ›

“When you add peroxide to dish soap, it breaks down into oxygen and water. The soapy water then traps that oxygen, creating bubbles, making your dish soap extra foamy.”

What should you not clean with hydrogen peroxide? ›

“Peroxide kills bacteria, fungi and viruses,” Dr. Beers explains. “It can come in handy if you don't have disinfecting wipes or bleach. Just be careful not to get it on your clothes or furniture, or it may bleach them.”

Why do stains not come out? ›

The most likely reason is time. When it comes to stain removal, time is the biggest factor. The age of the stain often determines whether it's removable or not. If treated quickly enough, in the hands of a trained professional, almost any stain can be removed from almost any fabric.

Do stains eventually come out? ›

"The good news is that almost any stain will come out eventually," says Mr. Macpherson. As for stain-removal sprays and pre-treatments, these can be useful, but you will still have to rinse, check the stain and repeat if necessary.

What kinds of stains are permanent? ›

Below are common stains that can highly cause “permanent” stain and suggestions how to remove / lighten the mark.
  • Watermark. Watermarks are often seen on soft furnishings like carpet, sofa and mattress after flooding or caused by leaking air conditioner. ...
  • Red Wine Stain. ...
  • Curry Stain.

Can you mix Dawn and vinegar and baking soda? ›

Cleaning Organizing. Tired of stinky, retail cleaners? Try this: Vinegar Cleaner: 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp Dawn dish soap 1 tbsp white vinegar Directions: Fill spray bottle with water. Add Dawn.

How long should vinegar sit to remove stains? ›

To remove stains with vinegar via pre-treating, you can dilute the vinegar with water (vinegar 1:3 Water) or soak in undiluted vinegar and allow garments to soak between 15-30 mins or even overnight depending on the stubbornness of the stain.

What goes first baking soda or vinegar for laundry? ›

Don't mix baking soda and vinegar.

pH is a scale used to measure acidity or basicity in chemistry. Since vinegar has a low pH and baking soda high pH, they will neutralize each other when used together. What you want to do instead is to use baking soda first mixed with water to do your laundry.

Does Dawn dish soap and baking soda remove stains? ›

House Cleaning Tips. Miracle stain remover!! Just mix equal parts of dawn dish soap, baking soda and peroxide and add a liberal amount to the stain rub in really good and let sit for at least 15 or 20 minutes then wash.

How long does baking soda take to remove stains? ›

Sprinkle Baking Soda and Wait

Sprinkle baking soda on a wet stain and allow it to sit overnight to help remove both the stain and the odor.

Does hydrogen peroxide and baking soda remove stains? ›

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide make a great stain remover — especially on yellowed whites. Spread a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide on stains, let it sit for half an hour, and launder as usual.

Is it okay to soak clothes in vinegar overnight? ›

If you need to resurrect items from your wardrobe that have become dull and faded, here's her pro tip: "Soak [your clothing] overnight in a vinegar and water solution. Then wash using half to a full cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle," she says. This should be especially helpful from fulling darker colors.

Can white vinegar damage clothes? ›

The acetic acid in distilled white vinegar is so mild that it will not harm washable fabrics. Yet it is strong enough to dissolve residues (alkalies) left by ingredients in soaps and detergents. Adding just 1/2 cup of vinegar to the final rinse will result in brighter, clearer colors.

Does hydrogen peroxide damage clothes? ›

As safe as hydrogen peroxide is for clothes, there are just some fibers that hydrogen peroxide can't befriend. Synthetic fibers don't react very well with hydrogen peroxide and often result in a yellow tinge or stain. However, for natural fibers, hydrogen peroxide is just as functional as ever.

How do you remove stains from clothes that have been dried? ›

Mixing 1 part dish soap to 2 parts peroxide and water. Applying the mixture to the dried stains. Putting on a glove and rubbing the mixture gently onto the stain. Letting it sit overnight.

What can cause stains to become permanent? ›


Certain types of fibers, such as wool, cotton, silk, and some nylons are particularly susceptible to permanent staining from coffee, tea, wine, etc. Be aware of hot liquids, especially. Of course, bleach and household chemicals (see below) can cause permanent staining as well.

Can stains become permanent? ›

However, most stains will become permanent if left untreated too long. When first coming into contact with fabric, most stains will initially remain on the surface and can be removed relatively easily. Over time, stains absorb into the fabric and permeate the fibres.

Are old stains harder to remove? ›

The longer a stain is left untreated, the less likely it is to be removed. When a spill first occurs, it sits on the surface of the fabric, but over time, that spill can start to react with the fabric causing the fabric to actually change colors.

How does vinegar remove set in stains? ›

To start, vinegar works as a very effective household cleaner because it is an acid. Acids remove stains and clean by adding a chemical charge to the stain's molecules. Much like a magnet being pulled by another magnet, these newly charged molecules become attracted to the positive and negative charges in water.

Can dry cleaners remove set in stains? ›

Dry cleaning is an effective stain removal method—especially when all else fails. We all know that stains require a prompt treatment; otherwise, they set-in and become incredibly hard to remove.

How do you get deep stains out of clothes? ›

For tough stains, try blotting the stains with one of the following: 1/3 cup vinegar in 2/3 cup water; 2 tablespoons ammonia in 1 cup water; or rubbing alcohol, either straight or mixed with an equal amount of water. Rinse well and then launder as usual.

What kind of stains are permanent? ›

Below are common stains that can highly cause “permanent” stain and suggestions how to remove / lighten the mark.
  • Watermark. Watermarks are often seen on soft furnishings like carpet, sofa and mattress after flooding or caused by leaking air conditioner. ...
  • Red Wine Stain. ...
  • Curry Stain.

Why are stains hard to remove? ›

Stains are harder to remove after a long period of time because they have “time to set” and cling to fibers; most difficult to remove if petroleum based. It can be done by “pretreating” the stains with a remover that is specifically made to combat that particular type of stain.


1. Coin Laundry Stain Removal Solvents
(Coin Laundry Association)
2. How to Wash Men's Dirty Work Clothes | Cleaning Dirty Work Clothing
(This and That with Denise Jordan)
3. How to Remove Blood Stains From Fabric
(One Good Thing by Jillee)
(Prepper Princess)
5. Laundromat Design Ideas -- HK Laundry Video
(Karl Hinrichs)
6. Laundry Sorting Simplified! How To Separate Your Laundry
(Living On A Dime To Grow Rich)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kelle Weber

Last Updated: 18/06/2023

Views: 6071

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kelle Weber

Birthday: 2000-08-05

Address: 6796 Juan Square, Markfort, MN 58988

Phone: +8215934114615

Job: Hospitality Director

Hobby: tabletop games, Foreign language learning, Leather crafting, Horseback riding, Swimming, Knapping, Handball

Introduction: My name is Kelle Weber, I am a magnificent, enchanting, fair, joyous, light, determined, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.