How To Remove Stains From Clothes

Get rid of any spot, smudge, spill, or splatter with our top tips on how to remove stains from clothes.

How do you remove make-up stains?

Nail polish

Place the stain face down on clean paper towels. Apply nail-polish remover to the back of the stain. Replace the paper towels frequently to soak up the liquid. Repeat as needed. Rinse in cold water. If the fabric is acetate rayon, take it to a dry cleaner.


Remove any excess with a spoon, then gently blot the stain with a clean cloth, using a lifting motion to avoid smearing it deeper into the fabric. Pour a small amount of laundry detergent onto the affected area and use your fingers to work the detergent into the stain. Wash as normal and leave to air-dry. If the stain still hasn’t lifted, repeat this again.

How do you get rid of food stains?


Use a spatula or plastic knife to scrape off the excess. Use a stain remover, and then wash as usual, adding a little vinegar or lemon juice to your wash to help remove stains from white clothes.


Gently scrape off any excess. Run the back of the fabric under cold water. Rub a biological laundry detergent into the stain. Soak in cold water for 15 minutes, and gently rub at the stain every three to five minutes.

Chewing gum

Place the clothing in a freezer bag, seal and put in the freezer for about two hours. Place the fabric on a sturdy surface and peel off the gum while it’s still frozen. You can also try soaking the fabric in lemon juice.


Scrape off any excess. Rinse thoroughly with cool water; don’t use warm, as ice cream has protein in it, which will cause the stain to set in warm water. Rub a biological laundry detergent into the stain, as for chocolate.

How to get rid of wine stains, as well as other drinks stains


For red wine Blot the stain with a paper towel before it soaks in, sprinkle with salt, and rinse with warm water. For white wine Run cold water over the stain, then spray with a washing-up liquid solution and dab with a biological detergent.


Boil some water and stretch the fabric over a bowl. Carefully pour the water through the stain from about 30cms above. Apply a few drops of laundry detergent; rub into the stain, then rinse. Or soak it in a detergent solution before washing.


Use a clean cloth to remove as much of the remaining liquid as possible. Be sure to dab gently rather than scrubbing, particularly on delicate fabrics – you could damage them and spread the stain. Pretreat with a stain remover before washing.

How do you get rid of sauce stains?

Tomato sauce

If it’s bolognaise rather than tomato sauce, carefully scoop off as much as you can with a spoon – gently, so you don’t spread the stain. Then use a clean, dry cloth to dab the area. Hold the back of the fabric under cold running water, and flush the fabric through.

Soy sauce

Run cold water through the back of the fabric. Gently rub liquid laundry detergent into the stain and leave for three minutes; rinse thoroughly. On white clothes, you can use a bleach solution on a sponge; dab it onto the stain, and then rinse. Repeat, then wash as usual.

Salad dressing

First blot the stain gently to remove excess grease. Many people recommend dishwasher soap; apply to the stain and use an old, clean toothbrush to gently rub it into the stain in circular motions. Rinse with hot water. Wash at the highest heat possible for the fabric.


Immediately blot the stain with paper towel – don’t rub it. Flush through the back of the fabric with cold running water, then treat as quickly as possible with a stain remover. Rinse well with hot water, and wash as usual.

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How to get rid of blood stains

Wet thoroughly with cold water; hot or warm water will only make the stain worse. Gently work some soap or washing-up liquid into the stain; rinse in cold water, repeat if necessary. Apply a stain removal product before washing.

How do you get rid of underarm yellowing?

Use an old, clean toothbrush to apply a baking-powder paste to the stain. Wash as usual; repeat if necessary.

Can you get rid of paint stains? And other harsh materials?


Use a paper towel to wipe away any dried acrylic or water-based paint. Flush the stain with warm water, then sponge on a solution of laundry detergent diluted with warm water. After the paint softens, remove the excess with a spatula. Rinse and repeat.

Candle wax

Let the wax set, then remove as much of it as possible. Place a towel under the fabric, then put two paper towels over the top of the stain. Set an iron at a low to medium heat and iron over the area. The wax will melt and come away from the fabric.


Blot with a microfibre cloth until the ink dries. Use a water-based stain remover to help break down the stains. Leave for 10 minutes, or follow the instructions. Blot again; you should remove even more of the stain. Wash on its own at the normal temperature.

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