From Coffee to Ink: Your Guide to Removing 7 Types of Clothing Stains
Updated: Aug 31
Stains happen anytime, anywhere, and we’ve all been there. A tumble in the garden, a spilled glass of wine at dinner, a rogue ink pen that’s been biding its time until you’ve put it in the pocket of your favorite shirt — and bam, say hello to a big, glaring stain.
How many times have you let out a sigh of frustration and thought to yourself, “Should I attempt to remove stains from clothes or leave this to the professionals?” For you, we've put together this guide to help you take on the most stubborn stains and determine when to call in the experts in dry cleaning in Dubai.
General Tips: How to Remove Stains From Clothes
Before you reach for your detergent bottle and fire up the washing machine, you should do a few things first.
Check the fabric care label
Care labels are the little squares attached to the inside of our clothes. They have a lot of helpful instructions on how to go about cleaning a specific piece of clothing. For example, if it says “dry clean only,” you can spare yourself trying to remove the stain and take it to a professional dry cleaning service instead.
Although there are different care labeling systems around the world, here’s some standard information you can expect to find on all of them:
Washing instructions (machine wash/hand wash)
Washing temperature (hot/warm/cold)
Bleaching instruction (do not bleach/non-chlorine bleach/chlorine bleach)
Washing machine program (delicate/normal cycle)
So, always check the care label on your clothing before attempting to clean any stain.
For all types of stains, pre-treating the spot as quickly as possible will give it less time to set into the fabric. It’s also best to blot the stain instead of rubbing it because blotting helps draw the stain out rather than push it in deeper. And use the recommended cleaning method for each type of stain (outlined below).
Make sure the clothing is stain-free before drying
The dryer’s heat can lock in stains and make them permanent, so remove every trace of the stain from your clothing before you toss it into the dryer.
7 Common Stains and How to Remove Them from Your Clothes
There are countless ways you can stain your clothes. But here are some of the most common culprits and how to get rid of them.
1. Blood Stain
Blood stains are one of the most stubborn stains out there, and they’re best handled right away. If you’re dealing with a delicate item, then any DIY treatment could probably do more harm than good. A better option is to take it to the dry cleaners.
But if it’s a sturdy, machine-washable item, like denim jeans, for example, then you can try the following:
For fresh blood stains, rinse the fabric under cold water until it runs clear, and you can no longer see pink coming out of the material. Next, blot the stain, apply an enzyme-based detergent and let it sit for a few minutes before washing it.
If the stain has already set in, soak it in warm water with an enzymatic remover, then wash it.
2. Coffee Stain
Soak the coffee stain in cold water to remove as much of it as possible. Then, cover it in an enzymatic laundry detergent and use a soft brush to work it into the fabric.
Let it sit for a maximum of 10 minutes, then put it as is into the washing machine. Don’t remove the detergent before washing because it will help break down the coffee stain. If it’s safe for the fabric, you can use chlorine or color-safe bleach for an extra cleaning boost.
3. Oil Stain
For grease and oil stains, liquid dish soap is your best friend. First, rinse clothes immediately under cold water, then work in dishwashing soap with a clean cloth or a toothbrush.
Next, rub an enzyme detergent into the stain, preferably one with high-grade, stain-fighting properties. Finally, wash it in the machine using the hottest setting that this type of fabric can handle.
4. Tomato Sauce Stain
Most tomato sauces are made with oil, so you’ll have to call on your trusty liquid dish soap again for help. Apply the dishwashing soap directly onto the stain and softly rub it with your fingers. Keep doing this as many times as you need until the stain is gone.
5. Sweat Stain
Do you know how to remove stains from a white shirt? It differs from how you remove stains from colored clothes. With sweat in particular, to get those pesky yellow marks out of your whites, mix equal parts of water, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda to create a paste. Then rub this paste into the stain and let it sit for at least an hour. After that, you can wash it as usual.
Alternatively, for colors, you’ll want to apply white vinegar to the stain and wash it with an enzyme detergent or color-safe bleach.
In both cases, wash using the hottest water within the fabric’s temperature range. And remember, hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, so it’s best used with white materials only.
6. Ink Stain
To remove ink stains, put a paper towel under the stained area and apply hair spray or rubbing alcohol to it. After that, let it sit for a few seconds, and then use the paper towel to blot the ink and excess liquid. Repeat this process until the stain is gone.
Finish off by applying an enzyme laundry detergent and set your washing machine to the highest temperature suitable for this fabric.
7. Red Wine Stain
The first thing to do with red wine stains is to blot it right away with a clean, dry cloth. Next, reach for some salt (yes, you read that right) and cover the stain with it. You’ll notice the salt turning pink; this means it is absorbing the red wine.
After this, rinse the fabric, soak it in cold water with an enzyme-based liquid laundry detergent overnight, then wash it as usual.
Color-Specific Tips for Stain Removal
In determining how to remove a color stain from clothes, you want to remember that fabric color can also greatly influence the outcome of your stain-removal efforts.
Removing stains from white fabrics
Whether it’s a wedding dress cleaning, or it’s your favorite shirt or a work uniform that needs attention, some tips to keep in mind when it comes to whites are:
The sooner you treat the stain, the better.
Never use a dark-colored terry cloth or a towel when dabbing whites because the color can put a dye stain on top of the original one.
If you can catch the stain in action, try putting something between the front and back of the fabric to keep it from spreading (like a paper towel).
Don’t overdo it with hydrogen peroxide and bleach since they can damage the fabric over time.
Removing stains from dark fabrics
For dark and colored fabrics:
Use bleach sparingly, but if you absolutely must, then choose one that will keep the fabric’s dye intact.
Stains might be easier to remove from colored clothes than whites. Still, you need to start as soon as possible.
Stains of any kind are a nuisance, and sometimes elbow grease and your earnest DIY efforts are just not enough. If you want to maintain a stain-free wardrobe, Diva Laundry is your number-one choice for professional dry cleaning in Dubai.
With free home pickup, 24-hour delivery and express service, your clothes will always look their best. Call us now to request a pickup and learn about our services.