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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

Steps to Clean

Chemical solvents and supplies

  • Enzyme product
  • Bleach
  1. Soak in a solution of cool water and a product containing enzymes for at least 30 minutes or overnight, (several hours for aged stains.) Do not use hot water as it will coagulate protein in formula and make stain more difficult to remove.
  2. Launder.
  3. If stains remain, soak an additional 30 minutes, rewash using bleach safe for fabric, and then re-wash. Follow product‚s use instructions. Some laundry detergents contain enzymes.
  4. After soaking, launder in warm water as usual. Avoid using heat and/or alkali products such as ammonia and some degreaser products. They can set the tannin and vegetable dye in grass stains.
  5. Chlorine bleach is not recommended for fabrics made of silk, wool or Spandex because it will yellow and weaken the fibers. Chlorine bleach will also bleach out or fade colored fabrics. Use oxygen bleach safe for colored fabrics.


Chemical solvents and supplies

  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Acetone
  • Detergent
  • Ammonia
  1. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with acetone.
  2. Sponge the stain with a dry cleaning solvent.
  3. Blot until the solvent is absorbed.
  4. If the stain remains, mix one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with two cups of warm water.
  5. Sponge the stain with the detergent solution.
  6. Blot until the liquid is absorbed.
  7. Mix one tablespoon of ammonia with two cups of warm water.
  8. Sponge the stain with the ammonia solution.
  9. Blot until the liquid is absorbed.
  10. Sponge with cold water and blot dry.

Steps to Clean


What you will need

  • White vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol

Steps to Clean

  1. Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar with 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol.
  2. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with the vinegar/alcohol solution.
  3. Blot until the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until the stain disappears.