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University of Illinois Extension


Treat stains as soon as possible after staining. The older the stain, the more difficult it will be to remove.

All stain removal methods should be applied prior to laundering washable garments. Stains that have been laundered and dried are almost impossible to remove.

Washable Fabrics

What you will need

  • Liquid hand dishwashing detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Enzyme presoak product
  • Chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach
Caution: Never mix chlorine bleach with ammonia - fumes are hazardous.

Steps to Clean

  1. Soak for 15 minutes in mixture of one quart lukewarm water, one-half teaspoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon white vinegar. Rinse.
  2. Sponge with rubbing alcohol, using light motions from center to edge of stain.
  3. Soak for 30 minutes in one quart warm water with one tablespoon enzyme presoak products.
  4. If color stain remains, launder in chlorine bleach if safe for the fabric, or in oxygen bleach.


Chemical solvents and supplies

  • Detergent
  • White vinegar
  1. Mix one teaspoon of a mild detergent containing no alkali or bleaches with one cup of lukewarm water.  Blot the stained area.
  2. Mix one-third cup of white vinegar with two-thirds cup of water. Blot.
  3. Repeat step one.
  4. Sponge the stained area with clean water. Blot.


Chemical Solvents and Supplies

  • Spot Removal Solution
  1. Pretest any spot removal solution (for color transfer to the cloth or damage to the carpet) in an inconspicuous area. If a change occurs, select a different solution.
  2. Apply a small amount of the solution with a white cloth, and work in gently – do not rub – working from the edges of the spill to the center to prevent spreading. Allowing remaining on the spill a few minutes. Be patient. Blot.
  3. Continue to use the first agent as long as there is a transfer of the spill to the cloth. Be patient. Complete removal may require repeating the same step several times. Or, you may need to move to the next solution.
  4. When the spill is completely removed, rinse the area with cold water; blot with a dry cloth until all moisture is removed.
  5. A dry, absorbent, cleaning compound may be used as a substitute to minimize drying time.

Steps to Clean


What you will need

  • Detergent

Steps to Clean

  1. Mix one (1) tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with two (2) cups of cool water.
  2. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with the detergent solution.
  3. Blot until the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until the stain disappears.
  5. Sponge with cold water and blot dry to remove the detergent solution.


What you will need

  • Dry cleaning solvent

Steps to Clean

  1. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with the dry cleaning solvent.
  2. Blot until the solvent is absorbed.
  3. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until the stain disappears.