The Ultimate Guide to Stain Removal: Banishing Common Clothing Stains

There’s a certain heart-stopping moment when a fresh spill hits your favourite piece of clothing – an unfortunate rite of passage we all experience from time to time. Whether it’s a drop of coffee, a smear of sauce, a splash of wine, or worse, fear not. This stain is not necessarily a death sentence for your beloved garment. With the right techniques and solutions, you can rescue your clothes and banish those stubborn stains for good. 

We have compiled an ultimate guide to cleaning tips and stain removal that breaks down how to tackle six common types of stains – coffee, blood, oil, sauce, wine, and food. And the key takeaway is: the faster you deal with a stain, the higher your chances are of completely eliminating it.

How to Remove 6 Common Clothing Stains

Person's hand holding a naartjie peel beside other peels and naartjie pieces on a stained shirt

1. Coffee Stains

Everyone’s favourite drink to start the day with often has a way of escaping the cup and reaching your clothing. Luckily, the 5 steps below will help you eradicate those coffee stains:

  • Rinse the fabric with cold water immediately.
  • Apply a stain removal solution, or mix liquid dish soap and vinegar as an alternative.
  • Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • If the stain persists, repeat or soak the garment in warm water with a scoop of oxygen bleach.

2. Blood Stains

If you have an ‘oopsie’ which causes blood to stain your clothing, use the 5 steps below to clean up the blood stain:

  • Always start by rinsing with cold water.
  • For fresh stains, this might be enough.
  • For dried stains, make a paste of cold water and salt.
  • Apply this to the stain.
  • Blot with a damp cloth until the stain lifts.

3. Oil Stains

Use the 3 steps below to say goodbye to oil stains:

  • Apply a small amount of dish soap to the stain.
  • Rub it in before rinsing with warm water.
  • If the stain persists, use a laundry pre-treatment before washing.

4. Sauce Stains

If you’ve ever worn a plain white item of clothing while eating a meal, you’ll know about the universe’s unwritten rule of a possible sauce stain. Use the 4 steps below to get rid of sauce stains from your clothes:

  • Remove excess sauce using a spoon or knife.
  • Dab the stain with a damp cloth.
  • Apply liquid dish soap.
  • Rinse with cold water before washing.

5. Wine Stains

If you’re a wine lover, this one will apply to you. Follow the 5 steps below to say goodbye to wine stains:

  • Immediately blot the stain with a clean cloth.
  • Sprinkle salt on the stain to absorb the remaining wine.
  • Rinse with cold water.
  • If the fabric allows, apply a mixture of dish soap and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Wash the garment as usual.

6. Food Stains

Depending on how many meals you eat per day, this will be the stain you’re at the highest risk of encountering. Follow the 5 steps below to enjoy clothing free of food stains:

  • Scrape off excess food.
  • Rinse the stain with cold water.
  • Apply a stain removal solution or liquid dish soap.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Rinse and repeat if necessary.


Armed with this comprehensive guide to stain removal, you now have the knowledge to save your clothes from the most common culprits of staining. However, remember that laundry and cleaning can be time-consuming and intricate tasks. 

If you would rather save time and have a professional handle your laundry and stain removal needs, consider booking a SweepSouth cleaning service. As South Africa’s #1 home services platform, the professionals you can book on the SweepSouth platform possess expert knowledge in cleaning and stain removal, ensuring your clothes maintain their pristine condition and vibrant colours. Here’s to a future of stress-free cleaning!

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