Although it seems surprising that a product formulated to clean clothes could leave stains, this does happen. Thankfully, removing them is not complicated, and here is more on how to remove laundry detergent stains from clothes in a few simple steps.
Why does laundry detergent stain my clothes?
Before we get into how to remove detergent stains from clothing, we should address the ‘why’ behind this matter. Laundry detergents are made to remove stains from clothes and clean them, so it does feel contradictory that such a product could actually stain them.
Even if a laundry detergent should technically not stain clothes, such mishaps occur when the product is misused. When the laundry detergent is not adequately dispensed, too much of it is added to the washing machine, or the machine is overloaded, the cleaning product won’t dissolve, and it can thus leave residues and stains on your clothes.
Following the instructions on the laundry detergent label and using the right detergent type for the clothes you want to wash are the first steps to take in order to avoid stains on clothes after washing. If you do end up with detergent stains on clothes, the instructions below should help you remove them and get the spotless garments you want.
Steps to remove liquid laundry detergent stains
Laundry detergents are liquid or powdered, and removing the stains they leave differs depending on which type of them causes this problem. Liquid laundry detergent can leave stains if it is not rinsed away properly. If that’s your case, you can easily remove them using products you likely have around the house.
Fill a laundry tub or sink with a quart of water, add a cup of vinegar, and mix it. How much water and vinegar you use depends on how many stained clothes you need to wash using this method.
Immerse the stained garment into this water-and-vinegar mix, and once it is wet, rub the soiled area of the item against itself. This should help loosen the laundry detergent causing the stain. Leave the clothes in this water for up to an hour.
Once this time has passed, run the garment in the washing machine. It is best to run it separately or just with a few similar clothes because the item needs room to tumble. The more it does so, the easier it will be for the detergent to come out of the fabric.
After the washing cycle has ended, take the garment out of the machine and check it to see if the stain is gone or still there. If the stain hasn’t been removed, repeat the steps we’ve mentioned above until you get the desired results. Ensure that you don’t dry the item until the stain is gone because heat can actually make things worse and help the stain set.
Steps to prevent and remove powdered laundry detergent stains
If a powdered laundry detergent works best for you, yet you find your clothes stained after washing, there are a few simple steps to prevent this from happening in the future or remove the stains if it’s too late for prevention and your clothes are stained with laundry detergent.
Powdered laundry detergent stains are more likely to occur if the water in your area is hard because the detergent does not always dissolve in this type of water. It is best to dissolve the detergent in a bit of water before adding it to the machine or add it while the machine is filling.
Plus, consider the water temperature of the washing cycle you’ve chosen. Powdered detergents might not always dissolve completely in cold water, and that’s why it is recommended to dissolve the detergent in warm water before adding it to the washing machine. The market now offers liquid detergents that ensure effective cleaning in hard water and are less likely to stain your clothes.
The above-mentioned prevention methods should help you keep detergent stains at bay, but if you haven’t taken these steps and your clothes get stained with the detergent you use, removing them is not different from the soaking method employed for getting liquid laundry detergent stains out of clothes. Take the same steps to make the stain vanish.
Some guides on how to get detergent stains out also recommend using liquid dish detergent to remove pesky laundry detergent stains. Ensure that the liquid dishwasher you use does not contain ingredients that are not appropriate for the type of garment fabric that needs to be washed.
Wet the stained portion of the garment, then add just a small drop of a dishwasher, and rub the soiled area until the stain goes away. It might take a few tries before you get the results you want. Once the stain has gone, rinse the garment under cold water.
What about fabric softener stains?
You might use the right laundry detergent, do so properly, and still end up with stained clothes. You might take the steps mentioned above to prevent detergent stains, but your clothes might still get stained if you use a fabric softener. That’s because the fabric softener can leave a waxy residue or stain on your garments if it comes in direct contact with the clothes.
If that’s your case, you can remove the stain by first scrubbing the stained portion with a bar of laundry soap and a soft-bristle brush. This should help loosen the waxy stain caused by the fabric softener. After you’ve taken this step and removed the stain as much as possible, wash the garment with your next laundry load. If it doesn’t work on your first try, repeat this method until the stain is removed completely.
How to prevent laundry detergent stains and residues on clothes
Even if it is relatively easy to remove detergent stains from clothes, it is preferable not to reach that point and avoid them altogether. The prevention steps required to keep such issues at bay are simple. Before learning how to get detergent stains out of clothes, it is helpful to know more about how to prevent them.
Before purchasing any laundry detergent, consider the type of water in your area. Hard water will make it difficult for certain detergents to dissolve properly, which can lead to stains on your garments. Choose a detergent that will match the type of water in your area, the fabrics used for your clothes, as well as your cleaning habits.
Using the right type of detergent and doing so as instructed on the product’s label will save you a lot of trouble. As we’ve said above, it is best to dissolve the powdered detergent in warm water prior to adding it to the washing machine if this is the type of detergent you use and you find stains on your garments.
This step gains even greater importance if you use a cold water washing cycle or if many of your clothes are delicate and require such a cycle. Adding the powdered detergent while the machine is filling is also recommended. To avoid detergent stains, you might also want to consider switching to a liquid detergent.
The market offers various such products formulated to cover all laundry-related needs, and liquid detergents come with various benefits, including lower chances of stains ending up on your garments.
Some of the latest products in this category come with a pour cap that is designed to dispense the amount of detergent required for a regular size load in a single squeeze. This will not only help you clean the clothes effectively but will also help reduce build-up, residue, and waste.
More often than not, many of us tend to add more detergent than required thinking that the more, the better, but that rule does not apply here. Adding as much laundry detergent as instructed is the way to go.
Besides using the right type of detergent and amount, it is also important to add it correctly; therefore, avoid pouring it directly on dry clothes as it is likely for it to stain the garment. When it is dissolved in water, the detergent will do its job without leaving unwanted stains.
Plus, whether you use powdered or liquid detergent, make sure you don’t throw it on top of the laundry load. Regardless of the type of detergent you use, make sure to add it to the washer drum if you don’t want to add it to the dispenser, as it will thus disperse in the water evenly.
When it comes to fabric softeners, the same rules apply. Use as much as instructed and add it to the dispenser in order to avoid stains. When using a cold-water washing cycle, it is best to dissolve it in warm or hot water before adding it to the dispenser. Use enough water in order for the detergent or fabric softener to dissolve properly; otherwise, the chances of laundry detergent/fabric softener patches forming are higher.