How do you deal with spills, smears and everyday stains? These laundry pre-treatments are tried and true, passed down through three generations of our family. We put together a list of supplies and tips that will help keep your clothes and household linens looking good as new. So, before you toss out that cute top or your favorite pants, check out these helpful stain removal tips.

You can also download these tips HERE.

Supplies to Keep on Hand

(All items can be found in local stores and online.)

  • Fels-Naptha Soap: Greasy oil stains; perspiration; ring-around-collar; chocolate; baby formula; make-up.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Use this is a gentle bleaching agent.
  • Ronsonol: Removes labels, grease, tar and oil.
  • OUT White Brite Fabric Bleach: This is great for laundering white items.
  • Stewart’s Blueing: Non-Toxic Bleach Alternative for bleaching white clothes safely.
  • Oxi-Clean Stain Remover Powder: Works well on many stains. Use half a scoop per quart of water.
  • Clorox Oxi-Magic + Spray-n-Wash: Spray BOTH together on stains like ring-around-collar or dirt.
  • Lemi Shine Dishwasher Detergent Booster: Removes tough spots and film, even in hard water.
  • Glycerine: Among other uses, glycerin is a natural solvent for cleaning and stain removal.

How to Remove Common Stains

Blood: Soak in cold water. If stain remains, pour hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain; let it bubble and continue soaking the item a little longer. Rinse and launder as usual.

Candle Wax: Scrape off excess wax. Lay the item between paper towels and press with a warm iron. Pour a little Ronsonol onto a towel and sponge the spot until clean.

Ketchup: Rub with Fels-Naptha Soap and soak in cool water for 30 minutes. Launder as usual.

Chewing Gum: Place garment in a bag and put it in the freezer. Scrape off hardened gum and sponge the spot with Ronsonol. Launder as usual.

Chocolate: Soak in cold water; then wash in hot sudsy water. Bleach with hydrogen peroxide if necessary or rub with Fels-Naptha Soap. Launder as usual.

Fruit Stains: Rinse under cold running water and wash in hot water.

Coffee/Tea: Carefully pour boiling water through the stain and wash as usual. If stain remains, use hydrogen peroxide and launder again.

Old Tea Stains: I try this on the most stubborn stains. Wear rubber gloves for this! Combine 3/4 gallon of warm water, 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1/8 cup laundry soap, 1/16 cup dishwasher detergent. Soak for six hours or more. Rinse with cold water. Launder as usual.

Egg or Meat Stains: Soak in COLD (not warm) water. If stain remains, use hydrogen peroxide.

Grease: Dab the stain with Ronsonol and rub briskly in a circular motion until it evaporates. If necessary, pour more Ronsonol or Fels-Naptha Soap on the spot and rub the fabric together.

Milk/Cream/Ice Cream: Rinse under cold running water and wash in HOT water.

Mustard: Rub glycerine into the spot and wash in hot water. Or rub with Fels-Naptha Soap and soak in hot water. Launder as usual.

Soft Drinks: Sponge with equal parts of rubbing alcohol and glycerine (or lukewarm water). Launder as usual.

Crayon: Launder in very HOT water (whites) or WARM water (colors).

Fingernail Polish: Sponge gently with a small amount of nail polish remover and launder right away.

Ink: Spray hairspray on the spot and rub briskly. Repeat until spot is gone. Launder as usual.

Mildew: Wash in hot water. If stain remains, moisten with lemon juice; sprinkle salt on the spot and set it in the sun for 30 minutes or more. Launder as usual.

Rust: Apply lemon juice and salt; set it in the sun for a few hours. Launder as usual.

Lipstick: Rub with shortening; blot with a clean rag until color transfers to the rag. Wash in HOT water.

Oil Paint: Scrape off fresh paint. Gently sponge with paint thinner. Wash in HOT water.

Scorch Spot: If you accidentally scorch an item while ironing, apply hydrogen peroxide to the spot and wash in HOT water.