Stains happen! And let's face it... we aren't always equipped to deal with them. The best "tool" though is knowing how to treat different types of stains. Some respond better to cold water, others to hot. Some need bleach alternative, others need nothing but a rinse. Print this handy stain solution cheat sheet to hang in your laundry area.
The best defense in removing stains is to treat immediately. Make sure you blot up liquid spills or scrape off solid buildup with edge of dull knife. Work from the outer edge to center of the stain — and don't rub.
Always check the care label first and pretest stain removal products. If the item is dry clean only, blot the excess stain and take to the cleaners within 24-48 hours of the stain.
You can group most stains in the following categories. Check below for general instructions — or visit the Fabric Advisor for detailed solutions for removing specific stains. With all stains, rinse and inspect the washed (or treated) garment before drying.
Baby Food/Formula, Body Soils (Feces, Urine, Vomit/Spit-Up), Blood, Dairy, Dirt/Clay/Mud, Egg, gelatin dessert
Soak fresh stains in cold water. Rub fabric against itself to dislodge stain. If stains are old, scrape off crusted material and soak in cold water with Tide® Liquid. Launder in warm water with Tide. Do not use hot water to soak or wash items with protein stains (hot water may set these types of stains).
Grease or Oil from Cars, Makeup and Food (including Butter and Mayonnaise), Collar/Cuff Soil, Deodorant/Perspiration, Gasoline
Pretreat with Tide Liquid. Make sure to work detergent into stain and let set for 10-15 minutes. Then wash in hottest water safe for fabric.
Beer, Coffee, Tea, Soft Drinks, Fruit & Juice (including Red Berries), Perfume, Wine
First rinse in cool water. Then wash fresh stains in hottest water safe for fabric with your favorite formula of Tide. Use Tide with Bleach or Tide Liquid with Bleach Alternative for old stains. Do not use bar soap on tannin stains — it makes them harder to remove.
Dye Transfer, Fruit (Blueberry & Cherry), Grass, Kool-Aid®, Mustard
Ballpoint Ink, Candle Wax, Chewing Gum, Crayon, Lipstick, Shoe Polish, Chocolate, Gravy, Ketchup, BBQ and Tomato-Based Sauces
These stains generally involve two components: oil/wax and dye/pigment. Remove the oily portion first and then the dye portion.
For stains that are waxy and/or ink-based, scrape and treat with dry-cleaning solution first, then rub with Tide Liquid and scrub stain under hot water. For most other combination stains, rub Tide Liquid into stain. Then wash in the hottest water possible for fabric with Tide with Bleach or Tide Liquid with Bleach Alternative.