How To Remove Stains From Cloth

Knowing the best ways for how to remove stains from cloth items around your home can save you endless frustration, and also save you a fair amount of time and money. When you know the right tools to have on hand in order to swiftly remove stains from cloth items, you won’t need to spend hours upon hours testing out different methods, or spend a lot of money trying several types of stain treatment products.

How To Remove Stains From Cloth

Whether you use cloth diapers, or have pretty cotton cloth napkins on the table at the holidays, knowing how to remove stains from cloth is essential for anyone who wishes to have these types of cloth items around their home. There are three important rules for removing stains, from any surface; correctly identifying the type of stain, doing a colorfast test, and being able to move swiftly to combat the stain before it completely sets into the cloth materials. 

How To Remove Stains From Cotton Cloth

Note: If the cloth is white, then you may want to take a look at our article on using bleach to remove stains from cloth.

What You Will Need Before You Start

  • Cornstarch
  • Oxygen bleach powder
  • White vinegar
  • Clean sponge
  • White absorbent towels

Whether spilled ketchup, spilled baby oil, or a spill of unknown origin, there are several things that you can try in order to lift out a stain from cloth made from cotton; just remember that it is best to treat the stain as soon as you can.

  1. Place a white towel on a flat surface, your kitchen counter for example.
  2. Sprinkle cornstarch over the stain if it is still damp. If the stain is dry, spritz it with a bit of vinegar in order to reactivate the stain, and then sprinkle cornstarch over the now damp stain.
  3. Allow the cornstarch to absorb the stain out of the cotton cloth fibers, for up to thirty minutes or until completely dry and powdery again.
  4. Brush the dried cornstarch off of the cloth item and closely examine the sight of the stain.

If the stain is still persisting, then make a paste of oxygen bleach powder and vinegar and apply it to the fabric with your fingers, completely covering the stain. Use your clean sponge to rub the oxygen bleach paste into the stain, and allow to sit for up to thirty minutes. Rinse clean, and launder as per the care instructions on the tag.

How To Remove Stains From Colored Cloth

What You Will Need Before You Start

  • Cornstarch
  • Oxygen bleach
  • White vinegar
  • Absorbent white towels
  • Clean sponge

The most important thing about how to remove stains from cloth that has a color to it, whether light or dark in color is to do a colorfast test so that you don’t inadvertently bleach the cloth item. Do the test on the seam or a hidden area of the cloth.

  1. Place the cloth item onto an absorbent white towel on your kitchen counter.
  2. Sprinkle cornstarch onto the stain if it is still fresh and damp.
  3. Allow to sit until the cornstarch has completely dried, and then brush off of the colored cloth garment or linen.
  4. If the stain has dried, create a paste using your favorite brand of oxygen bleach powder and vinegar and completely cover the stain with the paste.
  5. Use your sponge to carefully rub the cleansing paste into the stain, and allow to sit for up to thirty minutes.
  6. Rinse completely using cold water, the stain should be gone from the colored cloth.

There are many stain pretreating solutions that will work well on colored cloth items, so you should be able to use any of them to thoroughly remove the stain for you.

How To Remove Stains From Synthetic Cloth

What You Will Need Before You Start

  • Stain pretreatment solution spray or gel
  • Absorbent white towel
  • Soft bristled brush, or old toothbrush

When it comes to learning how to remove stains from cloth that is synthetic, you may find that it is easier to work with these blends because they tend to be incredibly durable.

  1. Place the stained item onto an absorbent white towel and use your favorite pretreatment solution, whether a spray or a gel, to completely cover the stain.
  2. Using your soft bristled brush, work the stain pretreatment solution into the stain, carefully; do not scrub at it or you run the risk of damaging the fibers of the synthetic cloth.
  3. Allow the stain treatment solution to soak into the cloth for up to fifteen minutes.
  4. Rinse the cloth completely in cool water and observe the area of the stain, the stain should have lifted out of the fabric.

If you do not have any stain pretreatment solution then you may have success using white vinegar and oxygen bleach, or even rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab. Closely follow the care instructions on the tag of the cloth garment or linen, just in case there are specific treatments that your synthetic cloth items need, like being dry clean only.

How To Remove Stains From Natural Cloth

What You Will Need Before You Start

  • White vinegar
  • Powdered laundry detergent
  • Clean sponge
  • White absorbent towel

Caring for natural cloth can sometimes require a bit more care in order to keep from damaging the natural fibers of the cloth. Many manufacturers often recommend using only detergents and other cleaning products that are also natural in origin, and also recommend line drying versus using a dryer in order to prevent shrinkage of the cloth.

  1. Place the stained item on the white absorbent towel.
  2. Create a paste using your preferred brand of powdered laundry detergent and white vinegar.
  3. Apply the paste directly to the stain, using your sponge to dab it on. Take care not to rub or otherwise be harsh on the fibers of the cloth.
  4. Allow the cleansing paste to set on the fabric for up to thirty minutes and then rinse well in cool water.

The stain should be completely gone, but if it is not, then you could try to apply lemon juice directly to the stain and then place the stained cloth outside in the direct sun for up to three hours. The lemon juice will act as a natural bleaching agent and will effectively remove the stain for you. It is important to note that this should only be done on white or very light colored cloth.

Be sure to always take care when washing dark colored cloth fabric that you do not mix it with lighter or white fabrics, as this could lead to the darker colors bleeding into the lighter colors; which will give you a while new laundry stain problem to worry about. Another consideration when learning how to remove stains from cloth when you are working with tougher stains, like ink or nail polish, is that you can try using rubbing alcohol on the stain until it has lifted out of the cloth.