Introduction: Best Stain Remover

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After a run in with a spitting espresso machine at work, I discovered the best stain remover for white cotton clothing! And it doesn't require bleach - which I find can be hard on my clothes and the air I'm breathing!

Step 1: A White Shirt's Nemesis...

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Coffee. A great way to start a day, unless you end up wearing it instead of drinking it! It's a super staining substance. If this happens to you, here's what to do...

Step 2: Act Fast!

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As quickly as you can after the staining occurs, remove your article of clothing and turn it inside out.

Step 3: Run Cold Water

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The reason you turn the item inside out is so that your not pushing the stain even further into the fibers when you rinse it. If you can manage to do this step while the stain is still wet, it will do a great job of removing a lot of the staining.

Step 4: The Stain Fighting Warriors

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Grab a big bowl or plastic tub, distilled white vinegar, and laundry detergent.

Step 5: Spot Clean

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Lay out your garment. Pour or squeeze a dab of laundry detergent onto each stained area and give them all a gentle rub, working in the detergent.

Step 6: Soap & Vinegar

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Fill your container with water and mix in 2 cups of vinegar and 1/2 cap or one packet of laundry detergent.
Give it a good swish.
Then add your stained garment and make sure it is completely submerged.

Soak it for 3 hours, giving it the occasional stir.

Step 7: Wash It

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After the 3 hours are up, remove it from the soak bath and gently squeeze as much of the vinegar mixture out as you can.

Throw it into your washing machine (you can add it in with other whites) and wash with cold water.

Lay flat to dry. THIS IS IMPORTANT! If you put it in the dryer, any remaining staining will get heat set into the fabric and will be nearly impossible to remove.

Once dry you can inspect it to see if it needs one more round in the washer. When this staining occurred, I waited until my coffee stains were dry before I took action, so my shirt needed two machine washings. But now it is back to it's old sparkly white self!

Step 8: Ta Da!

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All clean and back in action!

If you have other tips on good ways of removing stains from whites, please be sure to share them in the comment section!


laurenhaynes987 (author)2016-07-14

Old, but gold cleaning method, really well explained. I am working at a professional cleaning company, and we all are using method like this for stain emergencies.

heidigail (author)2016-07-05

I knew a woman whose husband was a mechanic who wore white coveralls. She would pour a can of pepsi into the washer once the water was full. His coveralls sparkled. I tried it once and it worked for me too, but my husband doesn't wear white often so I haven't tried it since. I don't know how colors would fair with this technique.

HollyHarken (author)2016-07-05

My boyfriend love to work on cars and always wipes his dirty, greasy hands on the back of his pants. I've found that soaking his clothes in a mixture of Dawn dish soap and Oxy Clean in a bucket does a great job of cleaning off the automotive grease. Prior to that I was using tons of hand sanitizer as that works too. The Dawn/Oxy Clean combo are my go to cleaners now, oh and a 5 gallon bucket to soak them in :)

RobertA2 (author)2016-06-05

The BEST preventative is very simple. WEAR AN APRON!.

RobertA2 (author)2016-06-05

The BEST preventative is very simple. WEAR AN APRON!.

Greymom2 (author)2016-06-05

black coffee does not stain. However, coffee with cream does.

fixfireleo (author)2014-05-13

i find the best solution to stains is my credit card and a shopping trip. lol

john3347 (author)2013-12-08

Coffee does not stain your clothing. All that you have to do to get coffee out of your clothing is to wash the item in HOT water and plenty of soap. I am 72 years old and have been drinking - and spilling - coffee all my adult life. Soap and hot water is all that is required to remove coffee from your clothes. Now this advice does not apply to lots of other "stains", but coffee "stains" can be removed even after several washings in cold or warm water by washing in hot soapy water!

fixfireleo (author)john33472014-05-13

she's using an espresso machine so maybe her coffee is more concentrated and has lots of sugar? dont know if that makes a difference or not.

vincent7520 (author)2014-03-18

Excellent !

Now didn't you do the trick we all did in the advertising industry (at least while I worked in it, but no reason it has changed) : photo 8 taken BEFORE photo 1 ???

Ok ! Ok ! I was just kidding !!!… ;)

eclark9 (author)2013-11-27

Do not throw out that Soapy Vinegar mixture!!! Use it to clean your Washer... If you have a Tub Cleaning Cycle, Just wipe every thing down with it and then pour it inside and let it run... Wipe everything down on the outside with a clean wet and a clean dry cloth...
Works GREAT!!!

Paige Russell (author)eclark92013-12-02

Love the 'waste not' benefits of this suggestion. Thanks eclark9!

Since it contains vinegar why don't you clean the windows to (as a follow up of your home made glass cleaner instructables !…) ;))))

Misshelly742 (author)2014-02-25

Don't forget the power of the sun! All natural and energy efficient...instead of throwing it in the dryer, line dry it, and let the sun bleach out whatever the wash didn't remove!

hammer9876 (author)2013-11-29

For ball point ink stains, use rubbing alcohol as a spot remover.

schlem (author)hammer98762013-11-29

In medic school, I managed to wash both of my lab coats with a ball point pen (NO!) I had two dalmatian smocks! Spot cleaning was impossible, so I put each smock in a plastic bag and poured in an entire bottle of 98% rubbing alcohol, and manually worked the juice through the fabric. Then I washed each garment while thoroughly wet. I had to do this several times, but I ended up with pristine white lab coats.

bricabracwizard (author)schlem2013-12-15

Washing in Lux soap flakes also gets rid of ink stains....just soak overnight and wash out. Don't use detergent.

SienkRJ (author)2013-11-29

Unsure exactly how much detergent is in "a 1/2 cap or one bag". I am guessing about one fluid ounce (assuming you are using liquid detergent). Nichts wahr?

Paige Russell (author)SienkRJ2013-12-02

It would be about 1 1/2 tbsp or 3 oz.

thebeatonpath (author)2013-11-29

I always like finding new ways to treat stains, so thanks for this! I also recently discovered that if you soak even set in stains in warm water mixed with OxyClean (I actually use the off brand from Dollar Tree) that the stains disappear. I would not have believed it had I not seen it myself. I had favorite t-shirts that had been put into sleeping/cleaning shirts that are now back in wearable condition. The sprayed peroxide trick works as well, but you have to be careful. Great Instructable!

Thanks thebeatonpath! I will definitely be trying your suggestion!

MaryT8M (author)2013-11-27

I keep a "stain stick" in my bathroom, so I can inspect my clothes and rub the stain treatment on it before, or as soon as I take my clothes off.......sometimes it's easier to see a stain (like cooking oil that splattered onto your shirt) by looking at yourself in a mirror. Then I roll it up and it's ready for the wash whenever I get around to it!

Paige Russell (author)MaryT8M2013-12-02

That's a great idea MaryT8M! Thanks for the tip.

cwilliams17 (author)2013-12-01

what about crystal light on your carpet?

IDThoris (author)2013-11-30

Thank you for the reminder of the power of vinegar! My son's white tshirts from his barista job also thank you! And he will thank you when I forward this and he does the job himself!

Bettybstt (author)2013-11-30

Excellent! I will try this next time I intercept some coffee. Thanks.

quadra (author)2013-11-30

Excelent work!
I should have knew it before. It´d saved me a lot of good one t-shirts...

spylock (author)2013-11-29

Great tip,I will be trying it soon,seemed as though my clothes stayed cleaner when I was a child.

rockytopp (author)2013-11-28

If you missed any spots before you dried your clothing, combine Dawn dishwashing detergent and peroxide ..equal parts of each. Pour on the stains and scrub with an old toothbrush. Then wash and dry as usual. I use this with all stains and it is especially good with blood stains. If you find upon removing your clothing from the dryer that you have missed a spot or it has not totally removed the spot, just repeat the process. i have removed grease spots from Tee Shirts that have been washed and dried several times.

lauraabcd (author)2013-11-28

buenísimo el dato !!!!!!
Me gustaría tener mejores traducciones , no se si depende de ustedes

rickdf (author)2013-11-28

Best tip was don't put it in the dryer until your absolutely sure the stain is out. I've ruined many a shirt not knowing that. Thanks!

solusetal (author)2013-11-28

Peroxide is also effective for removing stains from organic sources such as coffee or body fluid stains. A spray bottle to douse the area and then same process or even into the cold water wash.

rowinghome (author)2013-11-27

That was absolutely amazing. Thank you. Great instructions too!

rowinghome (author)2013-11-27

That was absolutely amazing. Thank you. Great instructions too!

About This Instructable




Bio: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a BFA in product design ... More »
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