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TODAY's 2021 A to Z stain removal guide

From avocado to ziti with red sauce, here’s how to remove every stain from your clothing, furniture and carpets.
Some things (especially wool, silk and cashmere) require professional cleaning, but most stains can be treated at home with simple methods.
Some things (especially wool, silk and cashmere) require professional cleaning, but most stains can be treated at home with simple methods.Tyler Essary / TODAY Illustration / Getty Images

Whether it’s the salad dressing splattering your shirt or someone else’s glass of red wine hitting your beige couch, stains are inevitable. Before you say goodbye to your favorite piece of clothing or rearrange your living room to hide an ugly spill on the carpet, give our tips on removing stains a go!

We’ve created the ultimate stain removal guide with tips and tricks to help you slay any spot or smear. Sweaty pit stains, lipstick stains, ketchup stains? No problem. While some things (especially wool, silk and cashmere) require professional cleaning, most stains can be treated at home with simple methods that involve soaps, lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda and other stain removers.

Click on the stain to find out how to remove the most common stains from carpets, upholstery and clothes.

Avocado and guacamole stains | Baby formula stains | BBQ sauce stains | Beet stains | Berry stains | Bicycle chain stains | Blood stains | Blush and bronzer | Candle wax | Carrot stains | Cherry juice | Chocolate stains | Coca-Cola | Coffee stains | Color stains on white clothes | Crayon on walls | Crayon stains on clothes | Eyeliner | Glitter | Grape juice stains | Grass stains | Ink stains | Iron scorch marks | Ketchup stains | Leather shoe scuffs | Lipstick | Mascara stains | Mayo stains | Milk stains | Mud stains | Nail polish stains | Newsprint stains | Oil and grease stains | Paint stains | Pee (urine) stains | Perfume stains | Poop stains | Red wine stains | Slime stains | Soy sauce stains | Spinach stains | Suede shoe stains | Sweat stains | Tarnish stains | Tea stains | Tomato sauce stains | Toothpaste stains | Tree sap stains | Vomit stains | Water spots | White clothes stains | White shoes | Ziti and red sauce stains

A note of caution: Before you DIY it, be sure to check the care label on the fabric to make sure the item is washable and to determine how much hot water it can tolerate (if any). And remember, your best bet is to treat stains as quickly as possible. It’s also important to make sure the stain has disappeared entirely before you add any heat to it (like washing it in hot water or machine-drying it), since heat can set a stain and make it harder to get out. You may also have to repeat the stain-removal process once or twice before you’re fully in the clear.

Avocado and guacamole stains

Don’t rinse a guacamole stain with water. Go straight to a stain remover. Ricardo Roa / EyeEm / Getty Images stock
  1. Use a spoon to scrape off any excess avocado (or guacamole).
  2. Apply a small amount of liquid stain remover to the avocado or guacamole stains.
  3. Rub it in and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Check the care label and wash the clothing in the hottest water recommended.
  5. Air dry.
  6. Repeat if necessary.

Read more about how to remove avocado and guacamole stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Baby formula stains

No need to fret when baby spits up on a new outfit. Flushing baby formula stains with cold water can help get them out.Kanawa Studio / Getty Images stock
  1. Flush cold water through the back of the baby formula stains.
  2. Put a tablespoon of dish soap, laundry detergent or ammonia onto a wet white cloth.
  3. Gently rub the cleaner into the clothing stains.
  4. Wait five minutes, then flush the back of the stains again with cold water.

Read more about how to remove baby formula stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

BBQ sauce stains

It's best to act fast with this stubborn stain. Saturate the BBQ sauce stain with lemon juice or vinegar ASAP.ideabug / Getty Images stock
  1. Pre-treat the BBQ sauce stains with lemon juice or vinegar.
  2. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Tamp the stains with a small brush or toothbrush.
  4. Rinse the stained clothing with water.
  5. Rub the stained area with laundry detergent.

Read more about how to remove BBQ stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Beet stains

Start by pre-treating with lemon juice or vinegar, which can help break down those brightly colored beet stains.FSTOPLIGHT / Getty Images stock
  1. Pre-treat the beet stains with lemon juice or vinegar.
  2. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Tamp the stains with a small brush or toothbrush.
  4. Rinse the stains with water.
  5. Mix together 1 tablespoon of laundry detergent and 3 cups of warm water.
  6. Flush the underside of the clothing stain with the mixture.

Read more about how to remove beet stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Berry stains

It can be berry hard to remove stains caused by nature's edible jewels, but pre-treating berry stains with lemon juice or vinegar is a good way to start.Stuart Pitkin / Getty Images stock
  1. Pre-treat the berry stains with lemon juice or vinegar.
  2. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Tamp the stains with a small brush or toothbrush.
  4. Rinse the stains with water.
  5. Rub the stained area of the clothing with laundry detergent.

Read more about how to remove berry stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Bicycle chain stains

Saturate grease from a bicycle chain stain with dish soap.Portra / Getty Images stock
  1. Saturate the bicycle chain stains with dish detergent, massaging it into the stain.
  2. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Rinse with warm water.
  4. Check the care label and wash the clothing in the hottest water the fabric will tolerate with detergent and a stain remover product.
  5. Air dry the clothing.

Read more about how to remove bicycle chain stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Blood stains

Cold water and hydrogen peroxide is the blood-stain-removing combination that ER nurses swear by. Arman Zhenikeyev / Getty Images stock
  1. Dab cold water on the blood stains with a wet cloth.
  2. Blot with a dry cloth.
  3. Keep repeating until as much blood as possible is gone from the clothing.
  4. Apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to the clothing stains.
  5. Rinse with cold water.

Read more about how to remove blood stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Blush and bronzer stains

Makeup is supposed to stay on your face, but sometimes it ends up elsewhere. With blush or bronzer, pre-treating the stain is key.shyrokova / Getty Images stock
  1. Pre-treat the blush and bronzer stain with either a pre-wash stain remover, liquid laundry detergent, a paste of powder detergent or laundry additive and water or rub the stain with bar soap.
  2. Launder the clothing as usual.

Read more about how to remove blush and bronzer stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Candle wax stains

To remove candle wax, start by melting it to absorb the wax.Alicia Llop / Getty Images stock
  1. Scrape away as much of the candle wax as possible.
  2. Sandwich the fabric between two thin towels (one above, one below).
  3. Heat the remaining candle wax with a hair dryer (or an iron), so the towels will absorb the wax.
  4. Remove the towels.
  5. Dissolve the remaining oil-based stain with a solvent like an acetone nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. (Check the care label to make sure it won’t dissolve the clothing.)
  6. Place the fabric with the candle wax stain side down on a folded towel.
  7. Use a cotton swab to dab solvent on the back of the stain.
  8. Blot residue.

Read more about how to remove candle wax from fabric and carpets.

Carrot stains

Spill your carrot juice? Lemon juice or vinegar can help break down those bright orange stains.Cavan Images / Getty Images stock
  1. Pre-treat the carrot stains with lemon juice or vinegar.
  2. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Tamp the stains with a small brush or toothbrush.
  4. Rinse the stains with water.
  5. Make a solution of 1 tablespoon of laundry detergent and 3 cups of warm water.
  6. Flush the underside of the clothing stains with the solution.

Read more about how to remove carrot stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Cherry juice stains

You can use acids like lemon juice or vinegar to break down cherry stains.Floriana / Getty Images stock
  1. Pre-treat the cherry juice stains with lemon juice or vinegar.
  2. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Tamp the stains with a small brush or toothbrush.
  4. Rinse the stains with water.
  5. Rub the stained area of the clothing with laundry detergent.

Read more about how to remove cherry stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Chocolate stains

Tamping chocolate stains with a small brush or toothbrush can help work them out of the fabric.Cavan Images / Getty Images stock
  1. Pre-treat the chocolate stains with lemon juice or vinegar.
  2. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Tamp the stains with a small brush or toothbrush.
  4. Rinse the stains with water.
  5. Make a solution of 1 tablespoon of grease-dissolving laundry detergent and 3 cups of warm water.
  6. Flush the underside of the clothing stain with the solution.

Read more about how to remove chocolate stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Coca-Cola stains

Start loosening Coca-Cola stains with an acid like lemon juice or vinegar. Capelle.r / Getty Images stock
  1. Pre-treat the Coca-Cola stain with lemon juice or vinegar.
  2. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Tamp the stain with a small brush or toothbrush.
  4. Rinse the stain with water.
  5. Rub the stained area of the clothing with laundry detergent.

Read more about how to remove Coca-Cola stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Coffee stains

Club soda or white vinegar should be your first defense against the all-too-common coffee stain. FSTOPLIGHT / Getty Images stock
  1. Blot coffee stains to remove any excess.
  2. Soak the clothing stains with club soda or white vinegar.
  3. Tamp the stains with a small brush or toothbrush.
  4. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Rinse the stains with water.
  6. Repeat as needed until the stain dissipates.

Read more about how to remove coffee stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Color stains on white clothes

Oxygen bleach can help you get color stains out of white clothes. Alyssa Stasiukonis / EyeEm / Getty Images stock
  1. Dissolve oxygen bleach in hot water.
  2. Once dissolved, add cold water until the solution is cool.
  3. Soak the white clothes with color stains for 15 to 30 minutes, then rinse.

Read more about how to remove color stains from white clothes.

Crayon stains on walls

Non-gel toothpaste is your secret weapon against crayon stains on the wall.Pridannikov / Getty Images stock
  1. Squeeze non-gel toothpaste onto a toothbrush.
  2. Gently scrub the crayon on the walls with the toothbrush.
  3. Once the crayon marks are gone, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the toothpaste away.

Read more about how to remove crayon from walls.

Crayon stains on clothes

Tackle crayon stains on clothing with a little liquid dish soap. Akilina Winner / Getty Images stock
  1. Use a spoon to scrape off as much of the crayon as possible.
  2. Apply liquid dish soap to the crayon stains on the clothes.
  3. Let sit for a few minutes.
  4. Run the fabric under warm water.
  5. Check the care label and machine wash using the heavy soil setting and the warmest water appropriate for the fabric.
  6. Air dry.
  7. Repeat if necessary.

Read more about how to remove crayon stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Eyeliner stains

Blotting an eyeliner stain with a small amount of liquid laundry soap and a clean cloth can help get it out. Claire Lucia / Getty Images stock
  1. Apply stain remover to the eyeliner stain.
  2. Let sit for at least one minute.
  3. Blot the stain with a clean cloth and a small amount of liquid laundry detergent.
  4. When stain is gone, machine wash the clothing according to the care label.
  5. Air-dry.

Read more about how to remove eyeliner stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Glitter stains

Wet paper towels, static cling on a balloon or a vacuum can help you capture all that pesky glitter. vernonwiley / Getty Images stock
  1. Use a wet paper towel to collect the glitter.
  2. Vacuum up the glitter.
  3. For leftover glitter specks, use a lint roller or blow up a balloon and rub it on the carpet and collect specks using the static.

Read more about how to remove glitter.

Grape juice stains

The first step with a grape juice stain is to rinse it with cool water.Stefania Pelfini / Getty Images stock
  1. Rinse the grape juice stains with cool water.
  2. Pre-treat the stains.
    • If the clothing is white: Pre-treat with a bleach pen. Check the care label and wash immediately in the hottest water recommended using detergent and a half cup of chlorine bleach.
    • If the clothing is colored: Pre-treat with a stain remover. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Check the care label and wash in the warmest water recommended using detergent and more stain remover.
  3. Air-dry.
  4. Repeat if necessary.

Read more about how to remove grape juice stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Grass stains

Avoid rubbing grass stains to try and get them out. This action can have the opposite effect, causing them to spread.Artistic Captures / Getty Images stock
  1. Don’t rub grass stains on clothing. It can cause the stain to spread.
  2. Wash or pre-treat (and then wash) the grass stains.
    • If the clothing is white, wash with chlorine bleach and laundry detergent.
    • If the clothing is colored, soak in a solution of water, oxygen bleach and laundry detergent, then gently dab (don’t rub) the stained area. Wash the clothing with laundry detergent and oxygen bleach.
  3. Air dry.

Read more about how to remove grass stains.

Ink stains

Try blotting ink with stain remover as soon as possible — don’t rub, which can cause the stain to spread.Aphiwat Chuangchoem / EyeEm / Getty Images stock
  1. Treat the ink stains as soon as possible.
  2. Get the right stain removing product for the right type of ink, whether it’s washable marker, ball point pen or permanent ink.
  3. Blot with stain remover (don’t rub; it can cause the ink stains to spread).

Read more about how to remove ink stains from clothing, upholstery, carpets and hard surfaces.

Iron scorch marks

A dark mark or melted fabric may not be possible to fix, but lighter iron scorch marks can often be removed with peroxide or vinegar.Kseni Boo / Getty Images stock
  1. Check the iron scorch marks. A dark mark or melted fabric may not be possible to fix, but lighter scorch marks can often be removed.
  2. Dab the scorch mark.
    • If it’s on white cotton: Dab with hydrogen peroxide. Let sit for a minute, then rinse.
    • If it’s on colored fabric: Apply a little distilled white vinegar to a white cloth. Dab the clothing stain with the vinegar-soaked part of the white cloth. Rinse the scorched fabric.
  3. Repeat as necessary.

Read more about how to remove scorch marks from clothing and carpets.

Ketchup stains

Flushing cold water through the back of a ketchup stain is a key step to getting it out. Thomas Northcut / Getty Images stock
  1. Remove as much ketchup from the garment as you can.
  2. Flush cold water through the back of the ketchup stains.
  3. Rub liquid laundry detergent into the stained area.
  4. Let sit for a few minutes.
  5. Soak the stained area of the clothing in warm water for half an hour.
  6. Rinse.

Read more about how to remove ketchup stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Leather shoe scuffs

We know it’s bananas, but the peel of this tropical fruit can clean scuffs off leather shoes and polish them. Henry Horenstein / Getty Images stock
  1. Peel a ripe banana (no, we’re not kidding).
  2. Wipe the inside of the banana peel on the leather shoe scuffs.
  3. Buff with a cloth.

Read more about how to clean and polish leather shoes.

Lipstick stains

Lipstick is one of the toughest stains to remove, but dish soap can often do the trick. Aphiwat Chuangchoem / EyeEm / Getty Images stock
  1. Scrape off excess lipstick.
  2. Place the soiled area stain-side down on paper towels.
  3. Apply dish soap to the back of the stain.
  4. Work the dish soap into the stain from the back.
  5. Turn the garment over.
  6. Use a wet toothbrush to gently create a lather.
  7. Rub the stain from the outside toward the center.
  8. Wash on the delicate cycle, according to instructions on the care label.

Read more about how to remove lipstick stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Mascara stains

Pre-treat the black marks from mascara stains with laundry detergent.Stella / Getty Images stock
  1. Pre-treat the mascara stains with laundry detergent.
  2. Check the care label and wash the clothing in the hottest water allowed with laundry detergent and an oxygen bleach product.

Read more about how to remove mascara stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Mayonnaise stains

Maybe you should’ve asked to hold the mayo? Too late now. Grab some dish soap to pre-treat this oily stain.Oleksandr Todorov / Getty Images stock
  1. Apply dish detergent to the mayo stains.
  2. Tamp the stains with a small brush or toothbrush.
  3. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse the stained clothing.
  5. Repeat as needed.

Read more about how to remove mayo stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Milk stains

Don’t cry over spilt milk! Milk stains are easy to remove. Martins Rudzitis / Getty Images stock
  1. Blot up excess milk with a white cotton towel.
  2. Mix together 2 cups of cold water, 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
  3. Rub the milk stains with the mixture.
  4. Rinse the stained clothing with cold water.
  5. Repeat as needed.

Read more about how to remove milk stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Mud stains

Letting it air dry and then using dish soap on it is the best way to tackle a mud stain.Cavan Images / Getty Images stock
  1. Scrape off dried mud.
  2. Rub liquid laundry detergent into the mud stains.
  3. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Scrub the detergent into the stains (both sides) with a wet toothbrush.
  5. Machine wash the clothing.
  6. Air dry.
  7. Repeat, if necessary.

Read more about how to remove mud stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Nail polish stains

Before treating a nail polish stain, check the fabric. If it contains acetate, triacetate or modacrylic, don’t use an acetone nail polish remover.Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images stock
  1. Dab away excess nail polish.
  2. Check if the fabric contains acetate, triacetate or modacrylic. If it does, apply a small amount of non-acetone nail polish remover to the stain with a clean sponge or a white cloth. If it does not, you can use an acetone nail polish remover.
  3. Blot the nail polish stains, working from the outside of the stains toward the center.
  4. Keep blotting until the nail polish has been transferred to the sponge or towel.
  5. Rinse the clothing in cool water.

Read more about how to remove nail polish stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Newsprint stains

The good news is that dish soap can help you wipe out inky newsprint stains.Steve Cole Images / Getty Images stock
  1. Turn the clothing inside out.
  2. Apply liquid dish soap to the back of the newsprint stains.
  3. Rub it in.
  4. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Scrub with a toothbrush.
  6. Check the care label and launder in the warmest water the fabric allows.

Read more about how to remove newsprint stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Oil and grease stains

When trying to get rid of grease and oil stains, rubbing alcohol should be your go-to stain remover.FSTOPLIGHT / Getty Images stock
  1. If the oil and grease stains were caused by food, scrape off any excess.
  2. Dab rubbing alcohol on the clothing stains until the area is wet.
  3. Let sit for a few minutes.
  4. Rub the area with a simple bar soap, working it into the stains.
  5. Rinse.
  6. Air dry.
  7. Repeat, if necessary.

Read more about how to remove oil and grease stains from clothing and carpets.

Paint stains

How you handle a paint stain will depend on whether it’s water- or oil-based.JGI / Getty Images stock

For water-based paint stains (indoor/outdoor paint, finger paint, acrylic or poster paint):

  1. While the clothing is wet, flush warm water through the back of the paint stain.
  2. Spot-treat the stain with soap, dish soap or laundry detergent.
  3. Rinse.
  4. Repeat, if necessary.

For oil-based paint stains:

  1. Scrape off excess paint.
  2. Moisten a clean cloth with paint thinner.
  3. Dab the stain until it fully lifts from the garment.

Read more about how to remove paint stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Pee (urine) stains

White vinegar can break down uric acid and make pee stains easier to clean.jes2ufoto / Getty Images stock
  1. Machine wash urine-soaked clothing with cold water and one cup of distilled white vinegar (no detergent).
  2. Machine wash again with detergent at the hottest water temperature recommended for the fabric.

Read more about how to remove pee (urine) stains from clothing, bedding, upholstery and carpets.

Perfume stains

Dab rubbing alcohol on perfume stains to help break down the oil that causes them.Kristina Strasunske / Getty Images stock
  1. Blot up any excess perfume.
  2. Use a white cotton cloth or cotton ball to dab rubbing alcohol on the perfume stains.
  3. Blot the stains with a clean white cloth until they disappear.
  4. Rub a white bar soap onto the stains.
  5. Rinse.
  6. Air dry the clothing.
  7. Repeat, if necessary.

Read more about how to remove perfume stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Poop stains

Well, it happens. Grab some protective gloves and start flushing cold water through the underside of the poop stain.Mary Gascho / Getty Images stock
  1. Put on protective gloves.
  2. Flush cold water through the underside of the poop stains.
  3. Pre-soak the clothing with an enzyme-based stain remover for several hours to overnight.
  4. Check the care label and wash the clothing with detergent in the hottest water recommended.

Read more about how to remove poop stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Red wine stains

Many commercial stain removers will work on red wine stains, but blotting the stain first can make it easier to remove.Tetra Images / Getty Images stock
  1. Treat red wine stains on clothing as quickly as possible.
  2. Use a clean white cloth to blot up as much wine as you can, moving from the outside toward the center of the stain.
  3. Apply a commercial wine stain remover product to the stain.

Read more about how to remove red wine stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Slime stains

Freezing slime stains with ice cubes is a key step in removing these neon-colored stains.Mami Gibbs / Getty Images stock
  1. Scrape as much slime off the fabric as possible.
  2. Use ice cubes to freeze any remaining slime.
  3. Scrape frozen slime away.
  4. Pre-treat the slime stains with liquid detergent, massaging a small amount into the stain.
  5. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  6. Place the treated clothing in a plastic dishpan.
  7. Add 2 gallons of hot tap water to the dishpan and rinse the slime stains.
  8. Let soak for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the clothing from the soaking solution.
  10. Machine wash according to care label.
  11. Air dry.

Read more about how to remove slime stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Soy sauce stains

Sprinkling cornstarch on a soy sauce stain will help absorb the liquid and make the stain easier to treat.moxumbic / Getty Images stock
  1. Sprinkle cornstarch on the soy sauce stains.
  2. Brush off excess cornstarch.
  3. Blot the soy sauce stains with a damp cloth until the stains stop coming up on the cloth.
  4. Pre-treat the soy sauce stains.
    • If the fabric is color safe, pre-treat by blotting the stains with 3% hydrogen peroxide.
    • If the clothing is not color-safe, pre-soak it in the washer for 30 minutes with warm water, laundry detergent and borax, as directed on the package.
  5. Launder the clothing using detergent and borax.

Read more about how to remove soy sauce stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Spinach stains

Spinach stains are tough, but an enzyme detergent can take them out.Westend61 / Getty Images stock
  1. Scrape off any spinach.
  2. Apply an enzyme detergent to the spinach stains.
  3. Let sit for 15 minutes (or as package directs).
  4. Rub the detergent into the stains with a small brush or toothbrush.
  5. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  6. Machine wash the clothing.

Read more about how to remove spinach stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Suede shoe stains

Believe it or not, stale bread can help keep suede shoes clean.Magnetic-Mcc / Getty Images stock
  1. Get a piece of stale bread (yes, really).
  2. Gently rub the stale bread on the stains in a circular motion.
  3. Keep rubbing until the dirt lifts from the suede shoe stains.

Read more about how to clean suede shoes.

Sweat stains

Protect white shirts from yellow sweat stains by sprinkling regular baby powder inside the underarms and collar, then ironing before wearing them.bee32 / Getty Images stock
  1. Protect light or white garments from sweat stains before wearing them by sprinkling regular baby powder inside the underarms, then ironing.
  2. Clean clothing as soon as possible after wearing them before sweat stains set.

Read more about how to clean sweat stains.

Tarnish stains

Tarnish is a chemical reaction that forms on metals like silver, copper and brass. It can rub off on fabrics, leaving dark gray, green or black marks.Jessica Shaver Photography / Getty Images stock
  1. Sprinkle salt on the tarnish stains.
  2. Use a clean, white cloth to dab lemon juice on the tarnish stains until they disappear.
  3. Rinse the clothing.
  4. Wash as usual.
  5. Air dry.

Read more about how to remove tarnish stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Tea stains

Start flushing the tea out of the stained area as soon as possible.Silke Weinsheimer / Getty Images stock
  1. Check the care label on the clothing.
  2. Flush out the tea stains.
    • If the clothing with the tea stains can withstand hot water, flush out the stains by tightly securing the fabric over a bowl or mug with a rubber band and carefully pouring boiling water through the stained area. Then, machine wash the clothing with detergent on hot.
    • If the clothing can’t withstand heat, soak the tea stains in a solution of oxidizing stain remover and cold water, according to product directions. Then, wash as usual.

Read more about how to remove tea stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Tomato sauce stains

Use liquid laundry detergent or dish soap to make those tomato sauce stains disappear.Light Field Studios / Getty Images stock
  1. Scrape off any excess tomato sauce.
  2. Blot the tomato sauce stains with a clean white, lint-free cloth.
  3. Soak the stained area in cold water for 5 minutes.
  4. Apply liquid laundry detergent or dish detergent to the tomato sauce stains.
  5. Rub the detergent into the stains with a small brush or toothbrush, moving from the outer edges of the stains to the center.
  6. Wash with detergent and oxygen bleach in the hottest water the clothing care label allows.
  7. Air dry.

Read more about how to remove tomato sauce stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Toothpaste stains

Toothpaste keeps your teeth clean, but it can do a number on your clothes.Sally Anscombe / Getty Images stock
  1. Use a spoon to scrape off any excess toothpaste.
  2. Blot the toothpaste stains with a moistened cloth.
  3. Mix a few drops of laundry detergent or stain remover in a cup of water.
  4. Dip the stained area of the clothing in the mixture and blot it.
  5. Then blot the stains with water to rinse.
  6. Air dry.

Read more about how to remove toothpaste stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Tree sap stains

Dry cleaning fluid is your ace in the hole when trying to get the resin from tree sap out of your clothes.Zen Rial / Getty Images stock
  1. Get some dry cleaning fluid.
  2. Perform stain removal in a well-ventilated area away from any flames (dry cleaning fluid is extremely flammable).
  3. Sponge the dry cleaning fluid on the tree sap stains and let it dry.
  4. Soak the stains in a mixture of laundry detergent and a few drops of ammonia.
  5. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  6. Launder the clothing with liquid detergent.

Read more about how to remove tree sap stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Vomit stains

No need for chemicals, baking soda and vinegar (or lemon juice) can take out a vomit stain.Jodi Jacobson / Getty Images stock
  1. Scrape away all the vomit you can.
  2. Dampen the vomit stains with warm water and apply a 1/4-inch-thick layer of baking soda.
  3. Pour lemon juice or vinegar over the stain.
  4. Rub the stain with your fingers or a toothbrush until it disappears.
  5. Rinse with warm water.
  6. Machine wash the clothing as usual.
  7. Air dry.

Read more about how to remove vomit stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

Water spots

Water can help remove stains, but it can cause them too. Aphiwat Chuangchoem / EyeEm / Getty Images stock
  1. Lay a clean white towel on an ironing board.
  2. Place the clothing with the water spots face down on the towel.
  3. Use a clean, wet microfiber cloth to moisten the stains.
  4. Set the iron to the appropriate setting for the fabric.
  5. Dry the dampened area with the iron.
  6. When completely dry, move the stained part of the clothing to a dry part of the towel, and repeat the process until the water spot stains disappear.

Read more about how to remove water spots from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

White clothes stains

It’s a good idea to carry a stain remover pen with you whenever you’re wearing white.Gravity Images / Getty Images stock
  1. Carry an on-the-go stain removing product like a wipe or a pen.
  2. If dealing with a spill, soak up as much liquid as possible.
  3. Treat white clothes stains immediately with the stain remover (alternatively, dab continuously with an ice cube, rub with a baking soda paste or an oxygen bleach).
  4. Wash as usual.
  5. Air dry.

Read more about how to tackle white clothes stains.

White shoe stains

There are multiple ways to clean and whiten white shoes.seb_ra / Getty Images stock
  1. Mix together 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of hot water and 2 tablespoons of liquid hydrogen peroxide.
  2. Use a toothbrush to apply two layers of the mixture evenly to the stained area of the white shoes.
  3. Let air dry in sun for 3 hours.
  4. Remove baking soda residue by slapping the shoes together.
  5. Rinse and repeat, if necessary.

Read more about how to clean white shoes.

Ziti with red sauce stains

Red sauce stains are hard to avoid, but they're easy to treat if you know what to do. Secret Agent Mike / Getty Images stock
  1. Scrape off any excess ziti and red sauce.
  2. Blot the tomato sauce stains with a clean white, lint-free cloth.
  3. Soak the stained area in cold water for 5 minutes.
  4. Apply liquid laundry detergent or dish detergent to the tomato sauce stains.
  5. Rub the detergent into the stains with a small brush or toothbrush, moving from the outer edges of the stains to the center.
  6. Wash with detergent and oxygen bleach in the hottest water the clothing care label allows.
  7. Air dry.

Read more about how to remove tomato sauce stains from clothing, upholstery and carpets.

If you need more laundry-cleaning pointers, check out our tips for cleaning the washer, cleaning the dryer, ensuring you have a clean iron — and steering clear of bad advice that has sprung from old laundry myths.