How to Remove Stains from Vintage Clothing

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Vintage clothing is not only a great way to get a unique look, but it’s also a great way to save money. You can find some amazing pieces at thrift stores and vintage shops. However, if you’re buying used clothes, it’s best to know how to remove stains from vintage clothing so that you don’t damage your new treasures.

Luckily, there are several methods for removing stains from vintage clothing and other fabrics, so you don’t have to resort to replacing your favorite pieces.

How to Remove Stains from Vintage Clothing

Vintage clothing is a great way to get a unique look, but it can sometimes have some unexpected drawbacks. If you’re buying secondhand clothes, you’re likely to discover that there are stains on them that need to be removed.

Fortunately, there are many different methods of removing stains from vintage clothing. These methods work on all types of fabrics, including cotton, wool, and silk.

Before You Begin:

Before you start trying any of these methods on your vintage clothing, test them out in an inconspicuous area first. The last thing you want is to spend all this time cleaning a stain only to realize that it didn’t work and now your clothes have another stain on them.

Method 1: Treat With Cold Water

Mix one part white vinegar with two parts cold water. Soak the stained area of the garment in this solution for 15 minutes. Rinse garment well with cold water and then launder.

Method 2: Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda paste is an easy way to clean up some tough stains on vintage clothing without much effort at all. 

  1. Start by mixing one part baking soda with two parts water until it forms a paste. 
  2. Then apply the paste directly to the stain using a toothbrush or scrub brush and let sit for about 30 minutes before rinsing o.f with cool water. 
  3. Repeat if necessary until the stain is gone.

Method 3: Detergent Soak 

This is the most common method of getting rid of stains from vintage clothing because it’s simple and inexpensive. All you need is a mild detergent and water preferably cold water, as warm or hot water can set some stains. 

You should avoid using bleach or stain removers unless they were recommended by the manufacturer because these products can damage the fabric.

  1. First, soak the stained area in cool water for 30 minutes or longer if possible (up to overnight). 
  2. Next, rub the stain with a little bit of detergent using your fingers or an old toothbrush so that it gets into every part of the stain. 
  3. Rinse thoroughly with cold water until no more suds appear on the fabric and let dry completely before wearing again.

How to Remove Yellow Stains from Vintage Clothing

Yellow stains on vintage clothing are common and can be frustrating to remove. Luckily, there are several methods you can try to get the stains out of your favorite vintage item.

Mix baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and water

This is a very simple method that works well on most yellow stains. The baking soda acts as an abrasive and helps lift out some of the stains. The peroxide breaks down the stain further, making it easier to wash away. 

Soak the stained area in a bucket filled with warm water mixed with half a cup of baking soda for about 30 minutes. Then wash according to your usual method.

Apply directly to the yellow stain

  1. If you have a small spot or two that needs attention, consider using hydrogen peroxide straight from the bottle instead of mixing it with baking soda first. 
  2. Just apply it directly to the stain and let it sit for about five minutes before rinsing away with cool water.

How to Remove Brown Stains from Vintage Clothing

Brown stains on vintage garments are a problem because they can be difficult to remove. Whether it’s a grease stain or another type of food stain, brown is one of the most stubborn colors to get out of fabric. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can remove brown stains from vintage clothing and keep your wardrobe looking great.

Vinegar Method

A homemade solution of vinegar and detergent can work wonders for removing brown stains from vintage clothing. Vinegar is an acid that works well with grease and other types of food stains because it breaks down the oils in them. 

Use equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle or bowl and soak your stained garment for 10 minutes before washing it as usual in warm water.

Chlorox Bleach Method

You can also use chlorine bleach to remove brown stains from vintage clothing by mixing 1/4 cup bleach into 1 gallon of water. Soak the stained area for 10 minutes before rinsing it with cold water. 

The bleach will break down the oil in your stain so that it can be washed away easily by water alone.

How to Remove Sweat Stains from Vintage Clothing

While some vintage clothing is made to be worn, others are meant to be admired in a display case. The latter category is the one most affected by sweat stains and other marks that can’t be removed by washing.

If you have a vintage garment that needs cleaning, try these techniques before sending it out for professional dry-cleaning:

Mix baking soda with water or diluted white vinegar to make a paste. Apply the paste directly to the stain and let it sit until it dries completely.

Rub liquid laundry detergent into the stain and let stand overnight. Wash as usual in hot water with detergent and bleach if needed.

Use hydrogen peroxide on fresh blood stains or urine stains on white fabric; use vinegar on rust stains or wine stains on colored fabric.

How to Remove Rust Stains from Vintage Clothing

 You don’t need to throw out a vintage piece of clothing because of rust stains. The stain is likely not permanent and you can remove it easily with the right techniques.

Mix lemon juice and salt

Lemon juice and salt are natural bleaching agents that will help remove the rust stains from your clothes. 

  1. To use this technique, mix two tablespoons of salt with one teaspoon of lemon juice. 
  2. Next, apply the mixture to the rust stain using an old toothbrush or a damp cloth. 
  3. Let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water. 
  4. Repeat this process if necessary before washing your clothing again in cold water to remove any remaining traces of lemon juice or salt.

How Do You Get Rid of Old Stains on Clothes

 If you’re trying to get rid of old stains on clothes, you might want to try using vinegar. The acidity of the vinegar will help break down the stain, making it easier to remove later.

Saturate set-in stains with vinegar

  1. First, pour some vinegar onto your stained garment and rub it in with your fingers or a brush. 
  2. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before washing in cold water without any detergent or softener. This will help loosen the stain so that it can be washed out easily later.
  3. Then rub a mixture of equal parts vinegar and baking soda into the stain with your fingers or a brush. 
  4. Let this sit on the fabric for 15 minutes before washing as usual in cold water without any detergent or softener.

How to Get Old Stains Out of Old Clothes

Many stains can be removed with a simple vinegar soak. Saturate the area of the stain with white vinegar, and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Then wash as usual in the hottest water recommended on your label.

If you have a set-in stain that is particularly stubborn, try this trick: Mix equal parts white vinegar and baking soda into a paste, and rub it onto the stain with an old toothbrush or your fingers. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes before washing as usual.

For tough stains like blood or ink that are not set in, try using rubbing alcohol instead of vinegar to loosen them up before washing.

How to Get Stains Out of Vintage T-Shirts

 There are many ways to get stains out of vintage t-shirts. Superficial stains can be removed easily with homemade remedies, but more serious stains need professional attention.

Here are some of the most common ways to remove stains from vintage t-shirts:

White vinegar and/or lemon juice. These common household items are known for their ability to remove grease and oil. Simply rub the fabric with white vinegar or lemon juice and let it sit for 1 hour before washing in warm water. Be sure not to use too much or the smell may linger!

Baking soda. Baking soda works well for removing stains from vintage t-shirts, especially food stains. Just sprinkle it directly on the stain and let it sit until the stain fades, then wash as usual.

Salt solution. Mix equal parts of salt and water into a paste and rub onto the stain until it disappears, then wash as usual.

Ammonia solution (1 part ammonia + 3 parts water). Soak your garment overnight in this solution then wash as usual in warm water with detergent or a specialty laundry detergent designed for tough stains like these ones.

How to Restore Vintage Clothing

 Restoring vintage clothing is a rewarding and creative project. You can breathe new life into an old garment or give a new one a vintage look. Some methods are better suited for certain fabrics than others, but all of them can add character to your clothing.

Hand-washable fabrics

Hand-washable fabrics are ideal for restoration projects because you can use gentle soaps that won’t strip the fabric of its color or shrink it too much. Use a mild soap such as Woolite or Ivory Snow to remove stains or dirt from your clothing. Always wash by hand in cold water, and hang dry instead of using the dryer to avoid shrinkage.

Machine-washable fabrics

Many vintage garments are machine-washable, but they may need special care to restore properly. If the garment is labeled “dry clean only,” don’t risk washing it at home bring it to your local dry cleaner instead. 

Check labels for instructions on how to wash specific garments, but most machine-washable garments should be washed on a gentle cycle with cold water and hung dry rather than put through the dryer.

How to Remove Old Food Stains from Clothes

Stains on clothes can be a pain to remove. But if you follow the right steps, you can get rid of food stains on your clothes.


Blotting the stain with a clean paper towel or cloth will help absorb some of the liquid from the fabric.

Dab the stain with white vinegar

Dabbing white vinegar onto the stained area will help neutralize it and lift it away from the fabric. It’s best to blot up any excess liquid before applying vinegar because too much can actually set the stain deeper into your clothes.

Then hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide will also help remove the stain by breaking down protein-based stains like egg, blood, or milk. Because hydrogen peroxide is slightly acidic, it’s best to dilute it by mixing 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 5 parts water before applying it to your clothes.


Once you’ve used both of these cleaning methods, rinse them out with cool water until there are no more suds left in your sink or tub. Then launder as usual.

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