How to Get Laundry Detergent Stains Out of Clothes

How to get laundry detergent stains out of clothes. Laundry detergent stains are probably the easiest of all colors to treat on clothes.

Laundry detergent is not highly pigmented, so it will typically respond well to regular, hot water washing and, more importantly, time.

However, if you don’t have that kind of time or energy, some other options are available. Read on to discover how to get laundry detergent stains out of clothes.

How to Get Laundry Detergent Stains Out of Clothes

remove laundry detergent stains

These are the most common solutions and methods to avoid getting detergent stains on your clothes when in the laundry.

First, you’ll need to wash the stained clothing alone on one cycle during which you would have to apply a tablespoon of dish soap, half a cup of vinegar or lemon juice and let it soak for overnight.

Next, wash it again with only warm water adding 1 cup of baking soda and you should leave it submerged for an hour before removing. Finally, rub the stain using a bar soap until you feel it soften and then rinse.

1. Vinegar and Salt

Soak 1 part white distilled vinegar and two parts water in a bucket and add 2-3 tablespoons of table salt (not iodized). Soak an hour or so, then wash as usual with your regular detergent.

The combination of salt and acidic vinegar dissolves fibers where they join together – like dissolving stitches! This does work, but be careful with delicate fabrics such as silk because the acids may affect them!

Also, be aware that this process can cause colors to run. If unsure, run a test before trying this procedure on your entire garment.

2. Mix Dishwashing Liquid and Water

dishwasher to get laundry detergent stains out of clothes

Mix 1-2 tsp. of a mild dishwashing detergent, such as Dawn or Joy, with 2 cups warm water.

If you have a front-loading washer, let the solution sit for an hour before putting in your garment to soak.

Otherwise, you can put your clothes in a bucket and pour the mixture over it. Let it soak for 15-20 minutes, then wash as usual with your regular laundry detergent.

3. Nicotine Stains Treatment

If you have nicotine stains, wash your item(s) immediately with regular laundry detergent to prevent the setting of these terrible stains!

Nicotine is addictive and remains a solid chemical residue long after cigarettes are smoked; cigars are consumed. Nicotine can be removed with a stain remover or commercial laundry detergent.

Remove the garment(s) from the smoker’s vicinity and wash immediately with regular soap. Let it soak for 20 minutes, then launder as usual using bleach safe for that particular garment!

If you have time before laundering, pretreat the stains with a mixture of warm water and enzyme-based liquid laundry detergent.

4. Salt and Dishwasher Detergent

salt and dishwasher detergent

Mix 3 tablespoons salt, one teaspoon dishwashing liquid, and 2 cups warm water in a bucket. Put your garment in the solution, then rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Let it dry, then put it in the washer as usual. This works well on delicate fabrics (i.e., wool) because there is no agitation involved like you would get by hand washing or machine washing!

If unsure, run a test on an inconspicuous area first!

5. Make Your Own Homemade Laundry Detergent

There is no need to buy expensive, brand-name detergents when you can make your own at home infinitely better than they sell in stores.

Rather than using bleach, use oxygen-based bleach or color-safe bleach, and it won’t fade the colors.

Also, rather than using fabric softener, use white vinegar as a fabric softener and static reducer – even in your wash cycle since heat softens fabrics naturally.

6. Add 1/2 Cup Of Vinegar To The Wash Cycle

add 0.5 cup of vinegar to the wash cycle

Adding regular white vinegar to the wash cycle is a great way to remove any set-in stains. Vinegar breaks down organic compounds, which break down and dissolve stubborn soils!

You can add it to your regular detergent or use it as a stain remover for those tough stains that you can’t seem to get out otherwise! It’s also a good way of eliminating body oils from fabric fibers without using harsh chemicals.

7. Re-wash your laundry

This is self-explanatory. It’s simple, rewash the item(s) in question with regular soap to remove any additional chemicals present.

This isn’t ideal, but it does work sometimes – mainly if you use bar soap or dish detergent directly on the stains before washing the item!

8. Use Boiling Water

boiling water to get laundry detergent stains out of clothes

This method only works if the stains are fresh!

If you have time to get boiling water on the stain, do so immediately and let it soak in for several minutes before laundering as usual with bleach safe for that particular garment!

9. Sun Sunlight + Washing Machine Action = Magic

Try putting your item(s) in direct sunlight (preferably where the temperate is warm but not hot!) and let them sit there until they are dry, then follow up with a regular cold wash cycle.

This may sound a bit odd, but the sunlight and heat combined take care of most stains! You can try this several times if needed or if it worked once for you, please let me know what kind of garment(s) you used it on!

Please note that this procedure should ONLY be done on items labeled as washable! Also, if unsure, run a test on an inconspicuous area first!

Be Aware!

Please note that these procedures should ONLY be done on items labeled as washable! I would not do this procedure on silk because it affects color! Also, if unsure, run a test on an inconspicuous area first!


How to get laundry detergent stains out of clothes. It’s always best to pretreat tough stains before laundering! The methods above can be used in conjunction with regular laundry procedures.

I use the vinegar method anytime I need to remove stubborn set-in stains. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it isn’t harmful, so there is no risk involved.

Have any tips or tricks? Please share them in the comment box below! If you don’t want to try these methods at home, please take your item(s) to a professional dry cleaner.

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