Stain Removal From Washable Fabrics - Page 3

Greasy, non-food stains

  • Adhesive tape1
  • Asphalt1
  • Auto wax
  • Calamine lotion
  • Castor oil
  • Chewing gum1
  • Cod liver oil
  • Correction fluid (typewriter)2
  • Cosmetics (face powder, eyeliner, shadow, etc.)
  • Crayon3
  • Epoxy glue4
  • Felt tip marker5
  • Floor wax
  • Furniture polish, wax
  • Glue (airplane, contact, mucilage, plastic)
  • Grease
  • Hair spray
  • Hand lotion
  • Lard
  • Make-up (oil based)
  • Nose drops
  • Ointment, salve
  • Paint, solvent or water based
  • Peanut oil
  • Pine resin
  • Polish, shoe, furniture
  • Putty
  • Rubber cement1
  • Shoe polish and dye5
  • Smoke6
  • Soot7
  • Tar1
  • Tree sap1
  • Typewriter ribbon
  • Wax (floor, car, furniture)

To remove greasy, non-food stains

  • Saturate area with pretreatment laundry stain removed (aerosol-types work better on greasy stains). Wait one minute for product to penetrate the stain. For stubborn stains, rub with heavy duty liquid detergent. Launder immediately.
  • If color stain remains, launder in chlorine bleach if safe for fabric, or in oxygen bleach.
  • For extra heavy stains, apply dry cleaning fluid to back of stain over absorbent paper towels. Let dry, rinse. Proceed as below.
  1. Rub area with ice and scrape with side of dull knife. Proceed as below.
  2. Typewriter correction fluid: Let satin dry thoroughly. Brush to remove excess material. Sponge back with thinner designated on bottle. Repeat until stain disappears. Launder or send to professional dry cleaner. For Liquid Paper® stain do not use Liquid Paper Thinner. Blot excess fluid to remove. Allow to dry completely. Brush. Use a pre-wash and stain remover or alcohol. Rinse. Rub concentrated liquid detergent into the stain, soak, and rub until removed. Repeat as necessary.
  3. For a washer- or dryer-load of crayon-stained clothes, see Section 5 — Special problem stains.
  4. Epoxy glue may be impossible to remove. Dry cleaning solvent may cause it to swell so that it can be removed by scraping.
  5. See also, Section 5 — Special problem stains, dye stains.
  6. Severely smoke-stained articles should be professionally dry cleaned. For smaller stains, flush with dry cleaning solvent, allow to dry and launder. See MU publication GH145, After the Fire is Out: Cleaning Household Textiles and Clothing, for detailed information on removing smoke odor.
  7. Soot and smoke odor resulting from a fire is best dealt with by a professional restorer. Do not touch or attempt to clean any household textiles unless you know the proper procedures. Improper cleaning actions will only smear soot into the fabric making the job more difficult. Some soot can be removed by holding a vacuum cleaner nozzle slightly off the surface of the item to be cleaned. Smoke odor is best removed with a process called ozone treatment. See MU publication GH145, After the Fire is Out: Cleaning Household Textiles and Clothing, for detailed information on removing soot.


  • Iowa State University Cooperative Extension Service. Quick 'n Easy Stain Removal. Ames, Iowa, 1986.
  • Johnson Wax. Form ED2-11. Laundry Products. Shout. 1989.
  • Maytag. Stain Removal Guide Form number 19 YG1087
  • North Central Regional Cooperative Extension. Stain Removal for Washable Fabrics. Publication 64. Extension Services of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, 1979.
  • Proctor and Gamble Educational Services. The How to Clean Handbook, 1986.
  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension. FACTS: A General Guide to Stain Removal. West Lafayette, Indiana, 1979.
  • Soap and Detergent Association. Laundering Problems — Causes, Solutions, Preventive Measures, n.d.
  • Soap and Detergent Association. Removing Stains from Washable Items, n.d.
  • United States Department of Agriculture. Removing Stains from Fabrics. Home and Garden Bulletin number 62. Washington, D.C., 1976.
  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Recommended Procedure for Removing Liquid Paper Correction Fluid From Clothing, n.d.