Stain Removal From Washable Fabrics

Fruit and beverage stains

  • Beer
  • Coffee (no cream)
  • Fruit juice
  • Mixed drinks
  • Soft drinks
  • Tea
  • Whiskey
  • Wine

Fruit stains

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Jam, Jelly, Preserves

Personal care item stains

  • Home permanent
  • Makeup, water-based
  • Shaving cream
  • Suntan cream
  • Toothpaste

Other stains

  • Corn syrup
  • Cough syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Mud
  • Vinegar (with color)

To remove fruit or beverage stains

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


  • Iowa State University Cooperative Extension Service. Quick 'n Easy Stain Removal. Ames, Iowa, 1986.
  • Johnson Wax. Form ED2-11. Laundry Products. Shout. 1989.
  • Maytag. Stain Removal Guide Form number 19 YG1087
  • North Central Regional Cooperative Extension. Stain Removal for Washable Fabrics. Publication 64. Extension Services of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, 1979.
  • Proctor and Gamble Educational Services. The How to Clean Handbook, 1986.
  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension. FACTS: A General Guide to Stain Removal. West Lafayette, Indiana, 1979.
  • Soap and Detergent Association. Laundering Problems — Causes, Solutions, Preventive Measures, n.d.
  • Soap and Detergent Association. Removing Stains from Washable Items, n.d.
  • United States Department of Agriculture. Removing Stains from Fabrics. Home and Garden Bulletin number 62. Washington, D.C., 1976.
  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Recommended Procedure for Removing Liquid Paper Correction Fluid From Clothing, n.d.