What can I do to remove stains from clothes?

Real Mom Problem

“What is your toughest stain fighter for clothes?”

by MeganGallagher MeganGallagher

Quick Tips

  • 1. Treat a stain as soon as possible
  • 2. Avoid using hot water which can cause a stain to set
  • 3. Don't rub stains as you'll just be rubbing them further into the fabric
  • 4. Keep an arsenal of stain-removal products and tactics up your sleeve (and in your bag!) for quick fixes

Real Mom Solutions

Stains are pains, but these mom-tested techniques can help relieve the stress and remove the mess.

Hannah Keeley Hannah Keeley

Our Expert Mom Says...

There are a lot of great stain removers on the market, but one thing I've found to be very effective is to keep hydrogen peroxide on hand for all organic stains, such as blood. If you do come across a blood stain, make sure you rinse it in cold water before tossing it in the laundry. Don't use hot water, as that causes a stain to set into the material and stay there for good.

You can treat all other stains, such as grass, makeup, and grease with your favorite stain lifter, or just use a spray bottle filled with 1/3 liquid detergent and 2/3 water to treat all stains immediately before you toss them in the laundry. It's a lot cheaper and usually just as effective.

Club soda is also an effective stain lifter for fluffier materials, such as sweaters, thick scarves, and even carpet. Just pour it on liberally and the carbonated action bubbles up and removes the stain.

Hannah Keeley is the producer and host of the national television series, "Hannah, Help Me!" She is also the author of "Hannah Keeley's Total Mom Makeover," founder of the mom website, hannahkeeley.com, and the mother of seven rambunctious kids! Hannah has appeared on the "Today" show, "Fox and Friends", TLC, and has been a frequent guest on the "Rachael Ray Show". She has also been featured in "The Wall Street Journal," "Better Homes and Gardens," and "Real Simple" magazine.

The Moms of CafeMom Say...

  • mom2boys664

    I use bleach for whites. Over time bleach will wear out clothes, so if it's something special, I would avoid using it. Usually the kids wear out the socks before the bleach has a chance to. It will also make things yellow. When I was in culinary school, they told us to use Cascade dishwasher detergent instead of bleach, and it works pretty well. I use about a cup of the powder for a load of whites.

  • HTMommy

    How I treat a stain depends on the type of stain. Sometimes I just spot treat with laundry detergent (I use Purex). If it's a blood stain, we use hydrogen peroxide (comes out every time, unless it sat for a long, long time). If it's a grease stain, we use Pine Sol -- yes, the stuff for floors! If it's just a food stain or dirt stain (other than soy sauce because nothing gets that out), I use Dreft Stain Remover.

  • Butterflysky_24

    For clothes, I use Spray 'n Wash brand stain stick. It's ultra-concentrated and has the little nubs to scrub the stain. I use it on my hubby's sweatshirt every time I wash it.

  • mom2four1978

    I use Mrs. Stewart's Liquid Bluing for whites. It has been around forever for whitening clothes and is nontoxic. The only time I use bleach is if a white item has a really bad stain, but I usually boil the item with OxiClean first and 90% of the time that gets rid of the stain.