With laundry detergent being your go-to product to get stains out of clothes, it can be really frustrating when you use it only to have it be a culprit of stains itself.
Don’t panic though! In this post, we’ll discuss how to get rid of any detergent stains using items you’ll already have at home.
How Do I Know My Clothes Are Stained By Detergent?
Detergent stains appear as a sort of residue on clothes. They are normally blue or white in color, though this may depend on the color of the detergent you use.
They will have a strange waxy and rough texture to them, so you’ll know how to identify them immediately.
This can vary a little depending on the type of detergent you use, as will the most effective method for removing them.
The stains themselves are most likely a result of the detergent now dissolving properly in your washing machine, and sticking to your clothes.
How To Get Rid Of Detergent Stains
Getting rid of the stains on your clothes will depend on what kind of detergent caused them. There are ways to get rid of pretty much all of them though, so don’t worry too much just yet.
Liquid Detergent Stains
These are caused when the liquid detergent isn’t rinsed away or dissolved by the water, normally because the cycle was too short or not hot enough.
To remove it, you’ll just need some vinegar to soak the stained fabric in.
- Add 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water in a tub large enough to hold and submerge the fabric that’s stained, making sure it’s stirred.
- Place the fabric into the solution and submerge it for around 10 minutes. Rub the stained part of the fabric against your hand or itself to loosen the dried detergent.
- Leave it to wash for another half-hour or so.
- Wash the fabric in the washing machine again, on a normal wash. Make sure that the washing machine isn’t overstuffed and is on an appropriate cycle, and your clothes should come out clean and stain-free!
Powdered Detergent Stains
These can sometimes be a little more tricky to get rid of, because they dry a lot quicker and can sort of ‘seep’ into the fabric, making it difficult to wash out.
The method used to wash out liquid detergent could still work well here, but if the stain refuses to come out try this other method.
- Wash the stained fabric in hot water and wring it out until it’s only damp.
- Lay the stained piece of clothing on a clean surface somewhere in your house (that you won’t mind getting a bit messy) and make sure it’s laid out flat. Get some rubbing alcohol, and cover the entire spot that’s stained.
- Leave the alcohol to soak into the stain for about half an hour.
- Rinse the clothes in hot water again. If this doesn’t get rid of the stain, keep repeating the process until it’s completely gone.
Fabric Softener Stains
Fabric softener stains look identical to detergent stains on your clothes, and could also be the culprit if you are finding stains on your clothes after a wash.
It has a waxy feel to it and will cause worse stains the longer it is left. If the above methods haven’t worked, try this one to get rid of fabric softener stains.
- Apply a generous amount of soap to the stained area, then take a brush with soft bristles and scrub it thoroughly. This should help dislodge and loosen some of the ‘wax’ while also helping make the fabric more flexible for the next step.
- Put the stained fabric back into the wash on a standard cycle. Remember to not overload and check things like temperature and cycle time.
- Take out your clean clothes! If the stains are still persisting, repeat this process until you get results.
How To Prevent Detergent Stains
Don’t Use Too Much Detergent
Never use more detergent than is recommended for your wash by the manufacturer. If you overload the washing machine with detergent, it will mix with the water to form a thick solution that doesn’t wash away easily.
This solution can sink into your clothes, causing stains.
Don’t Overload Your Washing Machine
Another likely reason you’re getting detergent stains on your clothes is that you are regularly overloading your washing machine.
If your washing machine is too full, the detergent can get stuck between clothes, which prevents it from dissolving properly in the wash.
When the wash finishes and the detergent dries, it can leave stains on your clothes.
If you’re not sure whether you’re overloading your washing machine or not, check whether you can fit your hand above your clothes without pushing away clothes.
If you can’t because clothes fill the washing machine all the way up, then it’s likely overloaded.
Use Liquid Detergent
Liquid detergent is much less prone to staining your clothes than the powdered form since it dissolves in water much faster and never leaves behind any residue.
If you are consistently finding issues with powdered detergent leaving stains on your clothes, always try switching to a liquid variant to see if that solves the issue.
Put Your Machine On The Correct Temperature
Detergents should give a recommended temperature on their packaging somewhere that you should put your washing machine on to ensure that the detergent dissolves properly.
Always make sure to follow this to avoid stains. If you’re not sure what temperature to put your machine on, always err on the side of caution and put your washing machine on a relatively high temperature.
Hopefully, these tips and tricks will help you get rid of those annoying stains on your clothes and help you avoid any further stain troubles in your future washes.
Remember the steps above and you should never have to worry about permanent stains from detergent on your favorite clothes ever again!