Anyclean’s Ultimate Guide To Removing Stains From Clothes

updated: 03/07/2024

A woman looking at a ketchup stain on her white shirt

Efficient Stain Removal Is All About A Quick Reaction

Oh no.  You just knew it was going to happen.  Gravity (spills), momentum (splatters), a curious child or some other force of nature has stepped in, and now you’ve got some terrible stain on some precious item.  Now, what are you going to do?

When a stain strikes, your immediate action is your best defence.  The sooner you tackle a stain, the better.  If you put it off, the stain will have a chance to set, and you will never get it out.  However, how you deal with a stain depends on what sort of stain it is.

The appearance of stains on clothes, towels and bed linens is inevitable, but fortunately, there are great solutions for them these days. Stains are different, and some seem very hard to remove. Usually, the stains happen if you touch the garment with a dirty hand or drop something on it accidentally. Depending on the type of stain, you should use a different product to remove it, but it will be best if you act quickly and try to remove the stain as soon as it appears.

Grass stains

What fool decided that cricket should be played in white?  If you have a cricketer in your household, you must remove grass stains from white clothes at some stage.  If you’re lucky, your cricketer will wear synthetics, which don’t take stains well.  You are fortunate – wash as usual.  For cotton, however, you will need to attack the stain.  White clothes can be soaked in chlorine bleach (not the greenest solution, I’ll admit, but it works) or in a nappy whitening solution.  For coloured clothing or minor grass stains, spot-treat with methylated or white spirits and leave for a few minutes before washing as usual.

Beetroot and tomato sauce

These bright stains may look daunting, but the process is simple.  Act quickly and wash them out as soon as possible.  The same applies to curries with turmeric. It’s a straightforward process that you can easily handle.


Every woman will have to deal with bloodstains at some point for obvious monthly reasons. Soaking in cold water as soon as possible is the answer—overnight soaking can obliterate bloodstains. Never wash in hot or warm water; this will set the stain in. The same applies to eggs.

Tar and bitumen

So little Billy had decided that the gooey black stuff oozing out from the tarmac or chip-seal looked tempting, and it was all over his shirt when he tried to wash it off.  Bitumen and tar used in road surfacing are soluble in kerosene, so spot-treat the garment before washing it.  You may need to attack the stain with a scrubbing brush or fingernail to remove bulky bitumen.


In the Norse fairy tale “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” the heroine won her prince of a troll because she knew how to wash candle wax off a white shirt.  The first thing you should do is to let the wax dry in a bead.  Then, pick it off with your fingernails.  After that, cover the spots top and bottom with paper towels or toilet paper and apply a hot iron.  The melted wax will soak into the paper towels.  Then wash as usual.

Tempera paint

You will find it in every kindergarten and primary school and, more often than not – on your kids’ clothes.  Act immediately – getting it off is next to impossible if this dries.  Soak in cold water with NO DETERGENT.  Learn from your mistake and make sure your child wears a painted shirt and old clothes next time.

Caramel Or Other Sticky Substances

To clean caramel or other sticky stains, use a borax with warm water on the stain for about half an hour. Rub the stain rinse thoroughly with warm water, and put the garment for washing on its usual washing cycle. If this doesn’t help, you can get a stain remover for this particular stain and treat it again. The stain removers may come in a gel, spray or stick.

Milk Stains

Milk stains also have to be dealt with as they may cause the garment to change its colour where the stain is. Milk also contains fat to a certain extent, and like the oil stains, milk ones could become permanent. Wash the stain with warm water and a washing-up liquid. Rub the stain a few times and rinse to check whether it has gone. If it is still visible, repeat the previous step until you are sure it is completely removed. Then wash the garment as usual with your matching colour items.

Banana Stains

Banana stains are difficult to remove – unlike other fruit spills and splashes, they don’t just wash off in the regular wash. Suggestions to remove banana stains from clothing include dabbing it with tea tree oil before washing, rubbing it with a natural domestic cleaner London like lemon juice (mild bleach) or rubbing it with a mixture of glycerine and water. Washing with a biological washing powder in warm water can work. Chlorine bleach can be used with white clothing and an old stain (baby clothes spring to mind).

How To Remove Stains From A Necktie

Neckties vary in their styles, colours, and materials. They may be worn as formal or casual wear or as part of a school or business uniform. The fabrics they are made of are exceptionally delicate and need to be treated with care when stained. Most neckties have silk materials in them, which makes them expensive. They need to be looked after to look beautiful and presentable.

Although stains on neckties are inevitable in everyday life, you have to be careful and try to avoid staining as much as possible.  Juice, coffee, ketchup – these are just some of the potential dangers for your necktie. When the stain is already a fact, you have no other choice but to try to remove it. First, you must let the stain with a tissue, although rubbing is not recommended as you may expand the stained area.

Most stains are considered permanent damage to the necktie, and cleaning it with tissue may not help. If you are almost sure the stain has damaged the necktie, try soaking it in water and a mild detergent and rubbing it with your fingers. Do not wash it in the washing machine, as it will destroy your necktie.

The best method to clean a necktie is dry cleaning. Dry cleaners can disinfect your necktie and preserve its colours and finish, but they might not be able to remove stains. You can still mention the stain to the dry cleaners so they can do their best to remove it, although there is no guarantee they can clean it successfully.

Neckties are delicate and easy to damage. Take extra care when removing stains from them, or consult with a dry cleaner to avoid damage.

How To Remove Stains From A Wedding Dress

The wedding dress is the dress every woman has dreamed about and is the finest she has ever worn. N nasty stains may appear around the preparation and during the wedding ceremony, which you don’t want to spoil during your wedding party. Even though you try to protect your dress from spillages, they are inevitable sometimes. Nobody wants to see a disappointed bride, especially on her special day, leaving her unsatisfied with the most expected day. Fortunately, there are solutions to these problems, some of which we will outline below.

As a preventative measure before the wedding, wear the wedding dress in a sealable clean bag to prevent it gets stained. Don’t take it out for any reason before it is time to dress up. It is a fact that all brides want to take pictures outdoors before the wedding, and you should be extremely careful with mud, grass and dirt, which may quickly transfer to the dress during the photography. When choosing the menu for your wedding party, avoid saucy food, which may cause a mess during the feast. When buying the dress, choose the material carefully and always read the label to understand how to care about your dress and prepare your emergency stain removal kit.

Even the smallest stains may cause unnecessary stress, but some techniques could improve the situation. Fortunately, some stains are too small or light to notice, and you can deal with them after the wedding. If you try to remove those stains, they may worsen, so you should leave them alone. You need to stop thinking about what happened and behave as usual.

When you encounter a stain, never rub it, as you may spread it around or rub it deeper into the fabric. Blot as much as possible with a white towel by pressing the towel over the stain. Always do the spot treatment from the edges towards the centre of the stain.

  • Water-based stains: Absorb as much as possible from the stain with a dry towel. Soak a towel in warm water and dab the stained area until the stain disappears.
  • Oil-based stains – Sprinkle baby powder over the stain and dust the powder to absorb the oil.
  • Make-up stains – A stain removal wipe should work on this type of stain.
  • Ink-based stains: You will need to use alcohol to remove these types of stains. Blot the stain with a dry, clean towel, then soak another towel in alcohol and rub it.
  • Chewing gum stains—Use an ice cube first for this type of stain. It will harden the gum, which can be easily scraped off after that.

Hopefully, the worst will not happen to you on your wedding day, but just in case, have these tips in mind. They will help you remove these stains, which look disastrous, quickly and easily.

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.