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Stain Removal-Any hope?

SAAM | Posted in General Discussion on

My daughter was ironing a shirt that was fresh from the wash when she noticed a stain that had not come out. She’s afraid she ironed over it and set it in. Has anyone had any luck removing stains from clothing that has both gone through the dryer and been ironed? Any help would be much appreciated as this is a new shirt that she’s only worn a few times. The stain looks like a grease stain.



  1. Josefly | | #1

    What kind of fabric is it? Polyester doesn't like to give up greasy stains. Still, there's hope.Grease stains sometimes don't come out without very hot water, and sometimes you can't see the stains until the fabric is dry again, but I've had luck getting butter or oil stains out of dryer-dried and ironed cloth napkins by using liquid laundry detergent directly on the stain, rubbing it in well, then laundering as usual in the warmest water the fabric can tolerate. I've had good luck also using Dawn dishwashing liquid directly on the stain, then soaking in a bucket or basin or water for 15 minutes or so before laundering again. Dishwashing detergents are pretty good at breaking up grease. Biz, in addition to detergent, also removes grease fairly well.Long ago I stopped using fabric softener dryer sheets for several reasons, but one reason was that they sometimes left greasy-looking spots on certain fabrics. Good luck.

    1. Pattiann42 | | #4

      Dawn, yes.  Dish washing detergent, be careful as some contain a bleaching agent.


      1. Josefly | | #5

        Yes, you're right, dishwashER detergents do often contain bleach. I should've specified dishwashING liquid - without lemon! Thanks for the correction.

    2. SAAM | | #6

      The shirt is cotton and spandex and the washing instructions specify cold water, which is not great for getting grease stains out. Sherry

  2. woodruff | | #2

    I have had very, very good luck, even with wine stains (!) and old stains that have been dried, just by using a shot of Oxi-Magic made by Clorox, and following their instructions for how long to leave it on. For me, it has worked on colored things without bleaching them, although it does come with a warning that you should try it on hidden areas first.Of course, I am talking about colored stains here. If you're dealing with a grease stain, you would want to try a solvent like Energine. I have had that work too on old stains.Many people swear by Oxy-Clean, which you mix up as a solution and soak stuff in. I'd do that for a whole garment that needed to be shaped up, but for small spots, I find the above products do very well.

    1. SAAM | | #7

      Where do you get Energine? I don't think I've ever seen this product.Sherry

      1. woodruff | | #10

        "Where do you get Energine? I don't think I've ever seen this product."Ahhh, Energine--a great old spot remover! It used to be carbon tetrachloride, which worked amazingly well (and you could use it to kill insects for your insect collection, too), but then it was decided that it was too dangerous for the average citizen to mess with, so the Energine folks substituted another grease cutter that worked not quite so well, but still pretty good. Both products came in a little metal can and you used a cotton ball or Q tip to dab/swipe the grease spot, and it would lift off before your very eyes (often leaving a ring you'd have to hit with ordinary washing).Alas, in searching the internet, I notice that Energine has been discontinued by its manufacturer. Probably even the substitute was deemed poisonous. You can bet I will treasure my antique Energine!Anyhow, the mfr suggests Afta products as another substitute. Here's a link:

    2. Sancin | | #11

      I am one of those who swear by oxyclean. I have rarely come across a stain that won't come out, even old stains and those which have gone through dryer or been ironed. I use it in the wash for general cleaning. For spot cleaning I mix approx 1 1/2 tsp into 1/2 liter of warm to hot water (great for grease). I stretch the stain over a cup or basin and pour the mix over the spot. I keep doing this until the stain is gone. I use a nozzled container like a mustard or diswhwaster bottle. Prior to finding oxyclean I found 'Shout' gel onto a spot usually took out grease. I squished it into the spot and rubbed before putting into the machine. I sometimes stop the wash to see if the stain is still noticeable and put more on if I notice it but that is a little difficult with wet fabric. Someone years ago told me that Shout is the same thing as Fantastic (both cleaning agents available in Canada) and she used Fantastic in her wash. Fantastic is good for greasy spots on walls, stoves, etc. The 'oxy' products are all pretty much the same and if you look carefully tend to 'bubble' stains out.

  3. meg | | #3

    I've used 'antique quilt soak' with great results. You can get it in quilt shops; follow the directions. I used it on a favorite table runner I'd made for a dear friend. Long story short: she had to move out of her home temporarily so the homeowner could come enjoy the summer in the property. When she returned, she found that something (probably red wine) had been spilled all over the table runner. She washed and washed, used spot cleaner, yet the stain remained. I got some antique quilt soak and voilà, the stain was gone.

    1. SAAM | | #8

      Wow, what a story. I'm so glad you were able to save your gift for your friend. She must have been so happy to have her table runner returned to its pristine state. I will look for the antique quilt soak. It sounds like a great product to have on hand for all sorts of stains.Sherry

      1. SAAM | | #9

        Thank you all for your suggestions. I think we will start with the Dawn detergent and see how that goes, then if it doesn't work we'll work our way through the other products suggested. I'll let you know what leads to success.Sherry

  4. Crazy K | | #12

    You've had lots of good responses but there is another thing I haven't seen mentioned.........Spray and Wash Stain Stick........not all stores carry it but I get it at the local CUB stores........Target carries it as well.  It's a stick that you rub on the spot and you can let it sit for up to 5 days prior to washing.  I have a 'shelf' aka boobs and I'm always dribbling something or getting grease when cooking/grilling, etc. and the Stain Stick works great.  I've had to use a second treatment on some tough ones but it will take grease out.  With some tough stains, I make sure to use the stick and then let it sit for at least half an hour before washing......gives it a chance to work better.

    Good luck!


    1. sewfar | | #13

      I have had success with the GOOP that auto mechanics use on their hands but I have not tried it on delicate fabric yet. Also foolish as it sounds working another grease such as a shortening like Crisco separates the grease molecules which have bonded together and then the stain can be washed out with regular soap or dish soap.

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