Chester's Laundry Stain Removal Guide

If anyone tells you that they enjoy doing the laundry, you have to question their sanity. Laundry is just a fact of life, it has to be done. I don’t mind doing the laundry, but I do hate stains! Especially the set-in ones! Here are some of our best tips for removing laundry stains.

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Blood Stain Removal

Hopefully you don’t have to use this great tip too often! The best way to remove blood stains, even dried-on blood stains is to make a paste out of meat tenderizer and water and apply to the stain. Let it stand for about an hour and rinse off with water. If the stain still exists, repeat and this time work the paste into the stain. Rinse off and launder as usual.

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Coffee Stain Removal

Coffee stains happen, luckily making your own coffee stain removal solution is easy. The first thing you should do with a coffee stain is rinse out as much of the stain with water as possible. The best way to do this is to turn the garment inside out and place it under a running faucet. Next mix 1 cup hot water with about 1 tsp of dish soap. Blot with a sponge and dry with a white terry cloth. If the stain is still there, try mixing 1 part distilled vinegar and 2 parts warm water. Again blot the area with a sponge and dry with a terry cloth towel. Do not rub, that will only spread the stain. Wash regularly and verify that the stain is completely removed before you dry it. You can repeat each of the coffee stain removal methods as needed. As always test for color fastness.

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Deodorant Stains Removal

Deodorant stains can ruin any dress or shirt. I have two different tricks for dealing with these stains, however, you must test each one first in a inconspicuous place to make sure that they do not cause the color to fade or damage the fabric. The first trick is to wipe the stain with white vinegar as a pre-treatment for the stain. Launder as usual and the stain should be gone. The second trick is to soak the deodorant stain with denatured alcohol. Once you have soaked the stain, wash with the highest temperature setting that you safely can use.

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Grass Stain Removal

Grass stains are horrible. If you can get to them before they completely set, then just use a pre-wash stain remover such as the Spray and Wash Stick. It will keep the stain from setting even if you pre-treat and ignore until your normal laundry day. However, if the grass stain has set completely, you have to take more drastic measures. Mix two parts of ammonia with one part vinegar. Work the mixture into the stain and then launder as usual.

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Homemade Laundry Detergent

Diane T. sent in her homemade laundry detergent:

Here’s a recipe for laundry detergent which makes no suds, leaves no residue, and leaves your clothes soft. I dry my clothes on a clothesline and since I started using this detergent, I rarely have to iron anything –the wrinkles seem to just fall out! This recipe makes almost 5 gallons at a cost of about $3.00. I use a cup of detergent per full load and get 55-60 loads of clothes from each batch of soap. Pretty cheap, yes? I make mine in a large recycled paint bucket with a lid and store it under the pantry counter. I keep a smaller container by the washing machine which I refill from the large bucket. I buy all the ingredients from my local Kroger grocery store or they can be purchased online, which would increase the cost. Since I have very hard water, I sometimes add ½ cup of baking soda to the wash load to soften the water. (This works great when washing dishes, too, both in the dishwasher and hand washing).


  • 1 very large container (5 gallon )
  • 1 bar Fels Naptha Soap
  • 1 ½ cups 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 1 ½ cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • Put 12 cups (3 quarts) water in a large pan, bring to a boil.
  • Grate the bar of soap into a bowl and pour into the boiling water. (I shave the bar of soap with a potato peeler.)
  • Stir until dissolved.
  • Add the Borax and Washing Soda, stir until dissolved.
  • Put 8 cups (2 quarts) HOT water into a 5-gallon container.
  • Add soap mixture and stir well
  • Add 2 gallons ( 8 quarts) water, stir well.
  • Let mixture sit for 24 hours and it will kind of jell, like Jello.
  • Use a whisk or mixer (or paint blender) to make it smooth. This step is not absolutely necessary, but makes for a smoother soap.
  • Add 1 cup per regular washer load of clothes.

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Ink Stain Removal

Ink is one of the hardest things to get out of clothing. Inks are made in many different ways, so it is hard for me to tell you what will work best for removing your ink stain since I don’t know what kind of ink it is. The strategy for ink stain removal is to use a solvent to remove the stain from the fabric. Not all ink can be removed but you will not know about your stain until you try. In the worst case the following solvents will at least lighten the stain.

When working with all of these solutions soak a clean terry cloth rag with the solvent and blot at the stain. Never rub an ink stain because you will only work it further into the fabric. If you get an ink stain, treat it immediately if possible to make ink stain removal easier once you get home. You can treat with waterless hand sanitizer or just plain water if that is all that is available.

Hairspray is the most common ink solvent, and it works fairly well. Be patient and keep spraying and blotting. It will take some time for the stain to come up. Sometimes I will let the hairspray soak for a few moments before I blot. Rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover (acetone), Lestoil, and turpentine all work well on removing ink stains. Some ink formulas may need the use of one or more of these solvents to remove the ink.

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Laundry Odor Removal

Teri V. sent in the following tip:

I have a teenage son with raging hormones and body odor! To help fight the odors in the laundry I use the bleach cup in my washing machine and fill it with isopropyl alcohol. The rubbing alcohol not only boosts the power of the detergents, it also removes all of the odors, even the tough ones.

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Laundry Soap Residue Removal

If you start to notice that your laundry is coming out of your washer with soap residue or your clothes seem to be getting stiffer the more you wash them, then you have a detergent build-up in your washer. Adding one cup of white vinegar to your laundry will help to break up that residue. I recommend adding vinegar about once a month to keep your washer clean. Just make sure to never add vinegar to any load of laundry that you are adding bleach to.

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Red Wine Stain Removal

We have all been there before. You are having a wonderful time at a party and turn around to talk to a friend when you accidentally bump into a glass full of red wine. You new dress is ruined. To get the red wine stain out mix 1 tsp of dish detergent and 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide into a bowl. Use a clean towel or sponge to dab the area. Start from the outside and dab your way around the stain slowly working toward the center of the stain as it is removed. Hydrogen peroxide can bleach your clothing so test before you begin.

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Tough Laundry Stain Removal

If a stain has been completely set-in and even if it has already gone through the dryer, Lestoil can still save the day. Work the Lestoil into the stain and launder as usual. Make sure that you never use Lestoil on any garments that are dry-clean only. Also, test in an area that will not be noticed to make sure that it does not fade or damage your clothing.

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Share Your Tips

Do you have a great laundry stain removal tip? Please add it to the comments or email it to us so that we can share it.  Together we can knock out even the toughest stains.

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