The Ultimate Stain Removal Guide

Stains got you down? Try these clever tips from Domestic CEO to get your clothes sparkling clean and smelling great.

Amanda Thomas
6-minute read
Episode #130

Easy DIY Stain Removal


  • Ink stains: A leaky pen in a pocket or a pen that snuck its way into the washing machine can wreak havoc on your wardrobe. My friend just recently shared that her husband managed to get a pen in the dryer and the entire inside of the dryer drum was coated in ink. Rest assured, even nasty ink stains can be removed with a bit of work. Rubbing alcohol, hairspray, and even hand sanitizer can help lift an ink stain. After applying any one of these solutions, rub the ink spot with a white paper towel or a white cloth. Repeat this process as often as needed until the stain fades. Then, pre-treat with liquid laundry detergent dabbed onto the spot and wash as usual. Do not put the garment in the dryer. Let it air dry to make sure the stain is completely gone.

  • Food grease or oil stains: As annoying as it is to find a grease spot on your clothing, it’s much easier than you think to treat it. Dawn dishwashing liquid to the rescue! Squirt some of the liquid directly on the grease or oil stain, scrub gently into the fabric, and rinse. If the stain persists, repeat the same process. Is it really that easy? If Dawn can remove spilled oil from a duck’s entire body, don’t you think it can clean your little grease spot? Wash the garment as normal once you’ve removed the stain. You can also treat an oily stain with Fels Naptha soap. This is what your great-grandma used before Dawn was invented. You can find it in the laundry section at the supermarket. Simply get the bar of soap damp and scrub directly on to the guilty stain. Then, wash as normal.

  • Red wine stains: There are a number of ways to handle a red wine stain. Here are two of my favorites: Pour white wine on the stain and wash immediately. This is a great tip if you’ve got white wine available, but quite often that’s not the case. The second alternative is to pour club soda or milk on the stain and gently blot with a white cloth or paper towel. Repeat this as often as needed and then wash as usual.

  • Poop stains: That’s right, I said poop. If you’ve got a baby then you definitely deal with this stain quite regularly. The easiest way to handle this stinky situation is by simply keeping a container filled with a mixture of Borax and water (keep tightly lidded and out of reach of children). Add the stained clothes and/or sheets to the mixture. When you are ready to wash a load, add the clothes and a little more Borax to the washer and soak for an additional 30 minutes. Then wash as normal.

  • I know there are plenty more stains that you may face and maybe you’ve got some great tips that I haven’t included. I’d love to hear from you! Also, be sure to check out these additional tips on How to Remove Almost Every Stain. 

    Please share your laundry secrets with me in a Comment or on the Domestic CEO Facebook page. Also, if you've got an athlete in the family, check out my article How to Clean a Sports Uniform for additional laundry tips on how to deal with dirt stains, grass stains, and the stinky smell of sports uniforms.

    Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home!

    Tomato sauce stain and other images courtesy of Shutterstock..


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