Most Common Types of Stains and How to Remove Them

Stains are a part of life. But knowing how to remove them can make your life a lot easier.

Stain removal is a science and an art. Many things can cause stains, but most can be removed with some knowledge and the right tools.

Here are the types of stains, along with some tips on how to remove each one:

Blood Stains

Blood stains can be very difficult to get rid of because human blood is a protein, which means it contains many amino acids. These amino acids react with the chemicals in laundry detergent, making the stain even more stubborn.

If blood gets on your clothes or sheets, immediately soak the fabric in cold water until the blood has been removed as much as possible. Then launder according to tag instructions. 

Grass Stains

Grass stains can be tough to remove from white fabrics because they have a tendency to bleed through multiple washings and may cause permanent staining if not treated quickly enough.

First, try rubbing the area with a bar of soap or laundry detergents that contain enzymes specifically designed for removing grass stains (look for products containing “grass stain remover” or “smelly.

Coffee Stains

Coffee is one of the most difficult stains to remove because it contains high levels of acid, which can break down dyes and fabrics. 

To remove coffee stains from clothing, first, soak the garment in cold water for two hours. 

Then apply a laundry pretreatment product and wash as usual. For carpeting, blot up excess liquid with a clean white cloth, then brush lightly with an upholstery brush or damp sponge. Repeat until the stain is gone; blot dry with paper towels.

Grease Stains

Grease is made up of fat and oil, so it’s no wonder grease stains are so common on clothing, curtains, and upholstery. To remove grease stains from clothing:

Grease stains are one of the hardest types of stains to remove. You’ll need to rub some liquid hand dishwashing soap into the grease stain with a little bit of water to help loosen it up before washing in cold water using detergent and bleach if necessary. 

Mud Stains

Mud is a common stain in our daily lives. Whether it is from the garden, or a child’s play area, mud can be a big problem. It’s not only difficult to remove but also very smelly too. The solution to this problem is simple: use water. 

Simply wash with water and a sponge and then dry off with a soft cloth. If you have used an enzyme presoak on your carpet, then use a dry cleaning machine to dry off your carpet as it will not be able to absorb any more moisture.

Oil Stains

Oily stains are often left by cooking oils or grease from motor oil or other lubricants. They can be removed by using a product called Simple Green Cleaner (available at most stores) or any other cleaner that contains degreasers. 

Apply this directly onto the stain and let sit for 10 minutes before blotting it up with paper towels until it is gone. 

If you don’t have either of these products on hand, you can make your homemade degreaser by combining 1 tbsp dish soap with 1 cup of rubbing alcohol in 1-gallon hot water.

Rust Stains

Rust stains are usually caused by iron or steel. It can also be caused by copper, which is rarely used in clothing but is common in jewelry. Rust is not something that you want on your clothes because it will leave a brown stain that can be difficult to remove.

Rust is a stain that can be difficult to remove from clothing. If you have rust stains on your clothing, try using a mixture of water and vinegar. Vinegar will help dissolve the rust and make it easier to remove from your clothing.

Food Stains

Food stains include anything that has been spilled on your clothes while they were being eaten. This includes any type of condiment like ketchup, mustard, or BBQ sauce as well as sauces like spaghetti sauce and gravy. These types of stains are often difficult to remove because of the color and texture of the food. 

The best way to remove them is to soak the stain in cold water, then apply a small amount of dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent directly to the stain and rub it with your fingers until it disappears (don’t use hot water because it may set the stain). Rinse with cold water and wash your garment.

Fruit Juice

Fruit juice stains are often found on white fabrics like cotton or linen, but they can also be found on other types of fabrics if they have been exposed to fruit juice at some point in time. Fruit juice stains will usually occur when you spill your drink while eating an apple or orange.

Fruit juice can be removed from clothing by simply soaking the stain in cold water for 30 minutes and then washing as usual. If this doesn’t work, try rubbing a little vinegar directly onto the stain before soaking it overnight.

Detergent Stains

Detergent is used to clean clothes and other items during laundering. It’s an effective cleaning agent that lifts dirt from fabric surfaces and breaks down oily substances such as oil-based food stains or greasy soils like motor oil or grease from auto parts.

However, detergent itself can be hard to remove from fabrics if used improperly or overused in the washing machine cycle.

Ink Stains

Ink stains are usually caused by writing on paper with a pen or marker. The ink can leak from the paper and onto your clothing as you handle it, resulting in an unwanted stain that’s difficult to remove.

Sweat Stains

Sweat stains are caused by the body’s natural perspiration. When sweat gets on clothes, it can cause discoloration. The main reason that sweat stains occur is because of the salt content in sweat. 

When perspiration comes into contact with clothing and stays there for some time, the salt begins to break down the fibers in the fabric. This causes a permanent discoloration in the fabric that cannot be removed by washing alone.

Red Wine

Red wine is one of the most stubborn stains, and it can be hard to get out. The red pigment in the wine can permanently stain your white clothes, so you’ll want to act fast.

If possible, soak the stained area in cold water as soon as you can. This will help prevent any of the red colors from setting into the fabric. 


Paint can cause major damage to your clothing if not removed quickly. For latex paint, try using warm water and dish soap to remove it from clothing. 

Acrylic paint is more difficult to remove because it’s water resistant, but you can use WD40 spray to dissolve it away. If all else fails, use laundry detergent and baking soda on canvas items like bags or hats that have been affected by paint.


If you wear makeup, you have probably had an unfortunate experience with stains from mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick. These are often difficult to remove because they are oily stains that set into fabric fibers. 

These stains can be removed using either dishwashing liquid or warm water with soap flakes added to them. Rub gently until all traces of the stain are gone and then rinse thoroughly before washing your garment as usual in hot water with laundry detergent added to it.

Mold Stains

Mold stains are usually black or greenish-black in color and are caused by mold growing on clothes. 

Mold can grow in your washing machine or dryer if they aren’t properly cleaned and dried after use. It can also occur if you leave damp clothing in a storage area.

To remove mold stains from fabric, soak the item overnight in an enzyme-based laundry detergent solution and then wash it as usual.

Urine Stains

Stains from urine are often yellowish or brownish. Urine can cause serious damage to fabrics because it contains ammonia, which can break down fibers over time.

To remove urine stains from clothing, soak the affected area in cool water for several minutes before laundering as normal. If the stain persists after laundering, launder again using an enzymatic product designed specifically for urine removal (such as Urine Gone).

Pet Stains

Pet stains are usually made up of oils, food, and dirt from your pet’s skin and fur that get onto your clothes when they rub against them or roll around on them during playtime or nap time.

The best way to treat these stains is by using an enzyme-based cleaner that breaks down the oils so they can be washed away during regular laundry cycles.

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