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Here's a handy stain removal guide to help you out in any situation!

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How to Remove Stains

Do you know how to remove stains from clothing? It’s a difficult question to answer, isn’t it? After all, different stains often require different stain removal methods. It’s best to tackle mud stains, for example, when they’re dry and the mud flakes off easily.

Here are a few stain removal hints and tips that can be applied to some of the most common examples:

Stains removal: The first step

Most stains benefit from a little care before you get stuck into cleaning. For water-based stains like children’s paints and colouring pens, ‘flushing’ is a great stain removal technique. To ‘flush’ the stain out of the material, simply hold the back of the stain underneath running water until the water runs clear. It’s always best to do this from the back of the stain so that you’re not forcing the stain further into the fabric or material, making it harder to remove.

Most stains prefer cold water for this process too – but you should always check the stain removal instructions for your stain first as there are some exceptions. There’s a similar technique for oily or greasy stains, too. If you’ve ever read up on how to remove stains, you may have seen baking soda mentioned.

Baking soda is a very absorbent powder which can draw a lot of the oil and grease out of a fresh stain, making it easier to wash out. If you don’t have baking soda, don’t worry. You could also use any other type of plain, colourless absorbent powder, like talcum powder or baby powder, for example.

Read more on how to remove grease and oil stains here to discover the full method.  

Using stain remover products

Although laundry detergents such as OMO are very effective and very good at what they do, sometimes they do need a little helping hand, especially when it comes to big and stubborn stains. That’s where stain remover products for clothing and fabrics come in. These products pre-treat the stain before washing. Here’s some great products that you could use:

  • Clothing stain remover which helps to ‘loosen’ the stain before washing – OMO laundry detergents are good stain removers and you can use our liquid detergent as a pre-treatment for certain stains or mix a little OMO washing powder with water to form a stain-fighting paste. Just remember to test on a small area first and use sparingly
  • Dishwashing soap can help to cut through oily or greasy areas on clothes
  • Hair shampoo is also designed to cut through grease and oils and may prove effective
  • Alcohol-based products for oily stains, like nail polish remover or hairspray

Before using a clothing stain remover or any other types of stain removal product on your clothing, always check the care labels. Some fabrics and materials like silk and wool are very delicate so these chemicals could cause damage. Treat these fabrics with a little extra care and remember to always wash them with a sensitive laundry detergent.  

Washing machine settings

Believe it or not, most types of stained clothing can be cleaned in the washing machine. There’s usually no need to hand wash clothing unless you really want to. However, it’s important to make sure the settings on the washing machine are set correctly to help with the stain removal process, and not make the situation any worse. Here’s what to look for:

  • Keep the temperature of the water a little lower than normal. Between 30-40°C is usually recommended. Hot water can ‘set’ the stain into the fabric, making it much more difficult to remove, so sticking to a lower temperature like this can improve the results. OMO works great, even at 30°C, so there’s no need to worry about the stain removal power of your favourite detergent!
  • Don’t be tempted to add more OMO to the detergent drawer for stained clothing. Some people believe that adding more detergent will help with the stain removal process, but what this does is make it more difficult for the machine to wash away the detergent. This could leave a sticky or hard residue on your clothing so always follow the instructions on the packaging. You may find that separate guidelines are given for stained or heavily soiled clothing to help you.
  • Always take care when washing delicate materials. If your washing machine has a ‘gentle’ or ‘hand wash’ setting, these could be a good choice to help protect more fragile materials. Also look into getting a laundry bag to give delicate materials a little extra protection in the machine by keeping them away from zips and buttons. If you don’t have a laundry bag, why not place delicate items in a pillow case when washing?

Of course, there’s more to how to remove stains than we’ve noted above: these are just the foundations on which you can continue to build your stain removal knowledge. Next time you find a stain on your clothes, don’t panic. These handy hints will always help you out and we have plenty of other stain advice to help you tackle more specific laundry problems.