How to remove tough stains the right way at home

Concoct your own stain-removing solutions from common household items in your kitchen and bathroom.

How to remove tough stains the right way at home

Concoct your own stain-removing solutions from common household items in your kitchen and bathroom. (Photo: Getty Images)

Do you know, your clothes carry vibrations? If you want to give people positive vibes, wear clear and spotless clothes. Clothes are the first thing that people observe about you, when you meet them. The cleaner your clothes, cleaner will be your personality. Though everybody stains their clothing from time to time, the key is to learn how to tackle the stains as soon as possible and in the correct way.

Clean and clear clothes without any stain reflect your attitude towards life and speak a lot about your ambiance and class. If you want to stand tall in society, your clothes should be flawlessly clean. Look for stains before loading the washer. Inspect each item of clothing and treat the stains first in the right way.

 A few proven home tricks that can treat and remove common stains:


Ink stains: Before removing ink stains, it is always better to blot as much of the ink as possible with a paper towel. Just blot, do not rub.

  • A concoction of whole milk and corn starch can save you from crying if ink of a pen went wild on your clothes. Mix both ingredients to make a moderately thick paste. Apply this paste to the ink stain and allow the concoction to dry for two-three hours, then brush off the dried residue and wash the clothes as usual.
  • You may also apply non-gel toothpaste on the stain and rub the fabric gently together. Rinse with water. Repeat the process until the stain vanishes. The success of this trick depends on the type of fabric and ink.
  • You may also try dipping the ink spot in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes to remove the ink spot, then wash it as normal.
  • Mix two parts of white distilled vinegar with one part of whole milk. Dip the stained cloth in this solution overnight. Rub gently the next morning and wash as usual.
  • Spray a hair-spray directly on the ink stain. Let it sit for an hour. Wipe the stain with warm soapy water and sponge.
  • You may also apply sanitizer on ink spot. Leave for half an hour, then wash in hot soapy water.
  • If you want to remove ink stain from jeans, mix together one tablespoon vinegar with one teaspoon corn starch. Apply this paste on the stain and brush with old soft toothbrush till the stain is almost gone or removed.


Curry stains containing turmeric: Hearty Indian meals comprise of rich gravies and turmeric is a must-ingredient in almost all curry-dishes. So what if you ended up with a bright yellow stain on your favourite garment.

  • When these stains ruin your white clothes, the easiest solution is to pre-soak them in a solution of bleach and water. Pour half cup of bleach in half cup of water. Stir well in a bowl. Soak the stained area in this solution for 30 minutes. Give it a light rub. Remove the cloth from the solution. Rinse in water. If the stain is still visible, soak it overnight in a baking soda and water solution, then rub gently and wash as normal. Dry in sun.
  • Rub the stained area in running water. Pour baking soda over the stain and scrub it with a soft toothbrush. Wait for 10 minutes and then scrub again. Do not rub vigorously, as it can damage the cloth. Rinse in cold water and wash as regular. Dry in sun.
  • Mix half cup of white distilled vinegar in one cup of water, add one tablespoon liquid dish soap. Mix all ingredients well. Soak the stained area in this solution for 15-20 minutes. Rub the stain gently and wash as normal. Dry in sun.
  • Squeeze the juice of four to five lemons. Soak the stained area in lemon juice and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Rub gently, wash as usual. Dry in sun.
  • You can also apply generous amount of glycerine to coat the stain. Let it sit for an hour. Scrape off the excess glycerine along with the loosened stain with a spoon. Bloat the area with a paper towel to remove the remaining stain. Wash as regular.


Oil stains: Oil stains make a cloth messy. They need to be treated earliest for effective and efficient removal.

  • Dip the stain in a solution of hot water and colourless dish washing soap for 30 minutes, then rub the stain with an old soft toothbrush in circular motion. Afterwards, rinse in hot water. If the stain persists, repeat the process again. When the stain gets visibly removed, wash as normal.
  • You may also cover the stain fully with talcum powder, baby powder or corn starch. Let the garment stay like that overnight in a warm place (but not under direct heat). The warm temperature will make the powder to absorb the oil from the fabric. Brush away the powder. If the greasy stain still persists, repeat the process and wash as usual.


Perfume stains: Perfumes may leave stains because they often contain alcohol, oils and sometimes dyes.

  • Hold the stained area in your hand with the stain facing downward. Blot soda water onto the area from backside of the stain. The stain may disappear.
  • You may dip the perfume stain in a solution of one litre of water mixed with two tablespoon of white vinegar and few drops of dish liquid. Soak the stain in the solution for almost 30 minutes and rinse in water. Stain will go away.
  • You may also moisten a cotton ball with alcohol and blot the backside of the stain with it. Rinse well after the stain is removed.
  • You may apply dish washing liquid on the backside of the stain. Let it sit for few minutes. Rub gently and rinse in cold water to flush the stain out of the fabric.

Nail polish stain: Nail paint never looks great on your clothes like it does on your nails. If you have spilled it on your garment, quickly remove the excess nail polish with a clean cloth without rubbing it. Just dab the cloth and let it soak. If the fabric contains acetate, triacetate or mod acrylic, do not use nail polish remover as it contains acetone that is a flammable liquid solvent. It can melt your fabric while trying to clean the spot. Even the non-acetone nail polish removers contain highly flammable solvent, so always be careful.

  • Place the stained area on a clean towel. Apply nail polish remover (with acetone) on a small hidden area of the garment to test. If it goes safe, then apply it on the stain with a clean cloth dabbing carefully in a bloating motion. Move continuously the stained area to a clear area of the towel underneath as the towel will soak up the stain simultaneously. Repeat till the stain vanishes. Wash as regular.
  • You can also rub alcohol on nail polish stain and then gently blot away the stain with a cotton ball using a clean towel underneath to help soak up the stain.


Lipstick stain: Lipstick stain can bring a lot of hassle. This stain should be treated as soon as possible to avoid further sinking into the clothing.

  • First scrape off the excess lipstick with a blunt knife gently taking care of your cloth and hand as well. Dampen a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol. Blot the stain with alcohol. Do not rub it. Once the stain is blotted away, rinse the cloth in cool water. Wash the fabric as usual.
  • You can also spray a hair-spray onto the lipstick stain. Let it sit for few minutes. Dip a clean cloth in warm water, wipe the hair-spray off the stain with it. Wash the fabric as normal.


Coffee stain: It is not easy to remove that brown spot from your clothes. Prepare yourself for a lot of soaking even if the stain is fresh.

  • Run cold water through the backside of the stain for 15-20 minutes or until the water running out is completely clear. Rub a liquid laundry detergent on the stain and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Now soak the stain in water. Rub the stain with your thumb and finger every five minutes. After soaking for 30 minutes, check the spot. If it is still there, mix some powdered laundry detergent with equal parts of white vinegar and water. Rub this paste with a soft toothbrush on the stain, then rinse.


Tea stain: Tea stains are very common on clothes as we all are fond of tea. However do not ignore these marks. It becomes difficult to remove them over a period of time. Always wash the stain immediately with cold water to remove the initial mark.

  • Pour warm water directly on the spot. Mix one teaspoon of white vinegar in one cup of water. Spray this liquid directly over the tea stain. Now gently blot the cloth and the stain will get cleared.
  • You may also pour a teaspoon of baking soda on the stain and rub it gently. Allow the baking soda to sit on the fabric for four to five hours. Then rinse properly.
  • You may also dab a little non-gel toothpaste on the tea stain. Rub gently. Wash with clean water after few minutes.

Use these simple, trusted, at-home tips to deal with stain removal. Clothes having stains make us look dirty and no one likes it. They may keep you unhealthy also as stains attract germs. A spill or stain can ruin a garment. Always read the directions on stain removal products if you are using them and even if you have used them before. They may not be safe for every kind of fabric or recommended for every kind of stain. It is very important to treat any stain immediately with water to prevent it from setting.

Now, no need to throw away the stained clothing or buy an exclusive, specialised stain remover.


Word of caution: Remove the stains as soon as possible as any stain is easier to remove when it is fresh. Always do a spot test before applying any stain-removing solution to any type of stain with an inconspicuous part of the fabric. If it goes well, only then follow the proceeding. You can attempt these tricks at home only if the fabric is home-washable. Always remember to try a test patch first, if in doubt, give the item to a professional dry cleaner immediately. Also, the clothes having ‘dry clean only’ care labels should not be treated at home.