Not much beats vinegar when it comes to removing stains in a pinch. In fact, why would you want to spend hard-earned dollars on manufactured detergents at all when the answer is probably already in your pantry? Vinegar is a natural, green solution as well. Learn how to treat 13 of your toughest laundry stains with distilled white vinegar and just a bit of elbow grease.
1. Remove Tomato Stains
Saturate the stain with the vinegar and allow it to soak in, then launder.
2. Remove Mildew Stains
Mix equal parts vinegar and water with some salt. Soak the garment. This should lift mildew stains on most fabrics, but you can skip the water and use pure vinegar with the salt for tougher stains.
3. Remove Coffee/Tea Stains
Soak the stained fabric in 1/3 cup vinegar mixed with 2/3 cup water. Hang it outside in the sun to dry, then launder as usual.
4. Remove Mustard Stains
Apply vinegar to the stain and allow it to soak in. You may need a little help from laundry detergent with this type of stain. Spot-treat it with the detergent after the vinegar has soaked in, then launder it.
5. Remove Sweat Stains
Pour vinegar over the sweat stain and rub coarse salt into it. Table salt will work if it’s all you have. Place the garment out in the sun to dry, then wash it.
6. Remove Grass Stains
Soak the garment in undiluted vinegar for 30 minutes, then launder it. If you can still see signs of the stain after washing, try making a paste of vinegar and baking soda. Use an old toothbrush to coat the stain, then launder again.
7. Remove Ink Stains
Spray the stain with hair spray, then dab vinegar on the spray to remove it and the ink.
8. Remove Blood Stains
Fast action is the cure for bloodstains. Pour vinegar over the stain and allow it to soak for 15 minutes, then rinse with cool water and repeat if necessary. Wash immediately.
9. Remove Set-In Stains
Saturate the stain in vinegar, then rub it with a paste made from equal parts vinegar and baking soda. You can add a couple tablespoons each of vinegar and laundry detergent to a bucket of water and soak the garment overnight if the stain persists. Then rinse and wash.
10. Remove Crayon
Rub vinegar into the crayon stain with a brush — an old toothbrush works great. Then toss the garment in the wash.
11. Remove Vomit Stains
Rinse the garment in cool water to remove as much of the vomit as possible, then soak the stain in vinegar and wash the garment. Repeat the process if necessary.
12. Remove Rust
Soak a cotton ball in vinegar and use it to blot the stain. Cover the stain with a thin layer of salt and rub it into the vinegar and the fabric. Lay the garment outside in direct sunlight until the stain has faded, then wash as usual.
13. Remove Iron Scorch Marks
Soak a cotton ball or rag in vinegar and use it to dab at the scorched area. Blot the stain with a clean rag and this should lift the stain. It may take more than one application to fully remove the scorch mark.
14. An Ounce of Prevention
Don’t wait for a stubborn stain to set in fabric before you run for the vinegar and other ingredients. Make a pre-treating solution to zap a potential stain the moment it happens.
Combine 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup baking soda, a few drops of liquid soap and two quarts of water in one large or several small spray bottles. Shake well to mix. Spray on the stain and launder immediately. If the stain still shows after the laundry cycle, you can take tougher steps like those mentioned above.