It might seem strange that products that are designed to clean your clothes can leave stains, but it’s true. Stains from laundry detergents often look like a greasy spot.
If you find a greasy spot on your clothes that you know wasn’t there before you put it in the washing machine, the likelihood is that it has come from the laundry detergent used. Read on to find out how you can get rid of these stains.
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Ways in which detergents can cause stains
Ways that laundry detergent stains can be caused is by overloading your washing machine. If the washing machine has been filled, stains can be caused as the detergent can’t move as freely around the machine, and may rest in one place and that can cause the stain.
Also, when the washing machine is very fully loaded, clothing can’t be rinsed as well so this can also cause stains as the detergent gets left behind on clothes.
Another reason why staining may occur is that too much detergent has been used. The amount of laundry detergent used should be proportionate to the load in the washing machine.
If you have only half loaded the washing machine, but use a full load of washing worth of detergent, this too can cause staining. If this is done regularly, this can lead to a build up of detergent either on your clothes or in your washing machine.
The build up of detergent is more likely to leave a stain.
Another way that staining can be caused is improper agitation. Agitation in a washing machine makes two functions.
The first function is to dissolve or disperse detergent in to the water, and the second is to rinse the detergent after the washing cycle. If the wrong cycle is selected on the washing machine, and the detergent hasn’t been agitated enough, this also can lead to clothes being stained.
If the detergent hasn’t dissolved enough, this will cause staining.
If you also have hard water and used powdered detergent products, this can cause staining as well. Having hard water can interfere with the dissolving process if the detergent.
It may be an idea to switch to another type of detergent if you are using powder with hard water and are finding your clothes are becoming stained.
How to clean the detergent stain
Detergent stains are generally pretty easy to remove. But if you have noticed a stain, don’t put the garment in the dryer as heat can set stains and will make in near on impossible to remove.
If you notice a stain, you will want to re wash your clothes immediately but you will need to treat the stain first.
Rubbing alcohol is one of the most popular stain removers as it can remove both powdered and liquid detergents. It also won’t make further stains on your clothes.
- Fill a sink with warm water and wash the garment
- Rub the spot with your finger or a tea towel to see if you can get the stain out with just the water first before using the alcohol.
- If the stain is visible, gently squeeze any excess water out of the garment.
- Dip a cotton bud in the alcohol, you can always do a patch test on the inside of the item to ensure it doesn’t damage the garment and wait a few minutes before proceeding.
- If no damage has occurred, use a tea towel and dip in to the rubbing alcohol and apply to the clothes. Don’t pour the alcohol from the bottle directly on to the stain.
- Leave to sit for around 15 minutes.
- Rinse the alcohol from the garment with water.
- If the stain hasn’t totally broken down, you can wash the item in the washing machine without detergent. This should clear up the rest of the stain that is left.
Vinegar is really effective at removing stains and the best thing is that it is a common household product. It can remove stains, odours and brighten up clothes.
Vinegar works because of its acidity. It also doesn’t cause damage to your clothes.
- Fill a sink with warm water and soak the garment.
- Add one cup of white vinegar and move it around the sink with your hand so it get distributed evenly.
- Check in the garment every 10-15 minutes and use your finger to see if it is removing the stain.
- After an hour, squeeze the water out of the clothing. Your garment will probably have a vinegar smell to it but this will come out in the washing machine.
- Wash the garment in the washing machine as you usually would but without the use of detergent.
- Check your item after the wash and make sure the stain has been removed. If it hasn’t been totally removed, you can repeat the process.
- Dry the garment.
Baking Soda is another common household product that doesn’t cost the earth. Baking soda helps to remove stains and also deodorise your clothes.
It can also help to remove a detergent build up in your washing machine.
- If you’ve noticed a stain on your clothes on bringing them out of the washing machine, put the stained garment back in the washing machine.
- Instead of adding laundry detergent, add half a cup of baking soda directly to the washing machine.
- Use the same settings on the washing machine that you usually would for that particular item of clothing.
- Start the washing machine and let it run through the entire process. For extra stain removal, you could add vinegar on the rinse cycle, or add it in to the fabric softener dispenser.
- Once the washing machine has finished, check the clothing and repeat the process of necessary.
If you feel like you can trust alcohol or vinegar not to make more damage to your clothes you can use laundry bar soap. Castile soap works best but you can also use plain or unscented bar soap.
It is also a common ingredient in homemade laundry soaps.
- Fill the sink with cold water, or run cold water over the clothes.
- Rub the soap in to the stained area of clothing.
- Work the soap into the stain by rubbing your fingers agains the clothing, or rubbing the fabric together.
- Rinse the clothing under cold water to get the residue of the soap off the clothes.
- Drain the water and replace with clean water.
- Add half a cup of vinegar and use your hands to mix the vinegar in to the water.
- Leave for 10-15 minutes.
- Gently squeeze the water out of the clothing and then put in the washing machine.
- Do not add detergent to the washing machine.
- You can repeat this process if the stain hasn’t been removed on the first time.
Dish soap is designed to remove greasy stains and prevent soap residue build up. It is good for removing detergent stains as it removes greasy stains.
- You can either wet the entire garment with cool or warm water, or if the stain is small, you can just soak that particular area.
- Add a couple of drops of dish soap on the stain, with dish soap, a little goes a long way. Don’t add to much.
- Work the dish soap in to the fabric with your fingers.
- Fill the sink with water and add just a couple more drops of dish soap in to the water. This will provide lots of soapy water. Let the garment soak in the water for about 10 minutes.
- If the stain is still noticeable, add some more dish soap in to the stain or the water.
- Rinse the soap out and then put in the washing machine. Wash the garment as you usually would do but without detergent.
- If the method has worked, you can let the garment dry. If not, you can repeat the steps until the stain is removed.
To prevent further staining to your clothes or staining again, make sure you use the right amount of detergent in the washing machine. Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
You can also avoid over stuffing your washing machine so the detergent is able to move more freely and doesn’t get stuck on one particular area of clothing. Most washing machines have settings that will indicate which setting is best to use for the size of the load.
If you aren’t sure, you can refer to the manual of your washing machine if you have it.
If you have hard water supply to your washing machine, it may be best to switch to liquid deodorant as powdered laundry detergent and hard water mixed can cause stains.
As a busy mom, Raz knows firsthand the challenges of balancing parenting and household management. Raz is constantly searching for ways to simplify her life and loves sharing her experiences and tips with others. Whether it's finding creative meal solutions for picky eaters or discovering the latest time-saving home organization hack, she is always on the lookout for ways to make life easier for her family and herself.
Last update on 2023-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API