Your Ultimate Stain-Remover Guide


by Mary Sauer for


Over the last decade I’ve filled a wide range of roles, working in food service, hospitality, healthcare and commercial cleaning. Personally, I’ve been a regular hostess and young parent. As you can imagine, I’ve experienced my fair share of stains.

Let’s take a look at some fool-proof methods for tackling your most stubborn and common stains!


Red wine: It’s very important to keep the stain wet with water or club soda if you have it on hand. Create a solution of two tablespoons vinegar, one tablespoon dish soap, and two cups of warm water. Pour small amounts of the solution onto the stain, and then blot with a clean towel. Repeat the process until the stain is gone.

Ballpoint pen: I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s left a pen in my pocket on laundry day. Your best bet for tackling these pesky stains is with rubbing alcohol and a clean paper towel. Soak the stain with rubbing alcohol and let it sit for 1 to 2 minutes, then blot the stain with a clean paper towel. Repeat the process until you’ve completely removed the stain.


Chocolate: Allow the chocolate to dry, and then use a dull knife to scrape off any excess chocolate. This prevents you from grinding any additional chocolate into the fabric. Generously apply a stain treatment to the remaining stain. Place clothing in a bowl of cold water and laundry detergent, and let it soak. Rinse clothing with cold water.

Blood: Soak the stain with cold water and then rub it in a circular motion with a bar of body soap. Apply a laundry pre-treatment and allow it to set for a few minutes. If the stain remains, soak with rubbing alcohol and blot dry until the stain is removed.

Grass stains: Wet stain with cold water. Apply a few tablespoons of rubbing alcohol to the stain and let set. Rinse out rubbing alcohol with cold warm and apply a laundry pre-treatment to set in for a few minutes before laundering.

Mud: Much like chocolate, it’s best to let mud dry completely before working on the stain. This will help you avoid working the stain deeper into the fabric. Once dry, use a dull knife to scrape any surface level mud off of the clothing. Next, apply a few drops of liquid dish soap and work into the fabric in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly with cold water and apply a laundry pre-treatment before washing.


In all cases, once you’ve treated the stain, launder the clothing as directed on the garment tag. If in doubt, pre-treat and wash clothing in cool water as warm water can further set in the stain.

If you are concerned that the stain may still remain after laundering, let the clothing air dry instead of placing it in the dryer. The heat of the dryer could further set the remaining stain.


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This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.