How to Get Laundry Detergent Stains Out of Clothes?

Laundry detergents are meant to clean your clothes, but sometimes they stain your clothes also. Usually, a laundry detergent does not stain clothes, but improper usage and mishandling can cause your clothes to get stained by a laundry detergent. This is frustrating for sure but, it is not much tricky to remove them from your clothes. By following a few easy home remedies and steps, you can remove laundry detergent stains from clothes. Before this, you need to understand why your clothes get stains from laundry detergents.

detergent stains

Reasons to get detergent stains on clothes after washing

Getting detergent stains on clothes after washing is undoubtedly an unpleasant experience. There could be many reasons why your clothes get detergent stains. A few of the most common ones are:

Improper agitation: Agitation in the laundry is responsible for the degeneration of detergents into the water for proper functioning. It dissolves laundry detergent into the water and helps in proper rinsing off. But improper agitation or wrong cycle may lead towards slow detergent releasing. So, the detergent does not dissolve or rinse out properly, which will ultimately cause staining on clothes. Coldwater in winter also causes slow detergent release.

Using a large quantity of detergent: Using a massive amount of detergent is another factor that causes detergent stains. When you are washing a half-load amount of clothes but using a detergent for the total load quantity in laundry, it will stain your clothes. Moreover, the residues can also stick or pile up in your cloth’s fabric and even in your washing machines.

Using powdered detergent with hard water:  If you are using hard water with powdered detergent, it can stain your clothes, but it is not your fault. Hard water causes hindrance in laundry detergent dissolving; thus, the detergent in the form of clogs stain your clothes.

Overloading of washing machine: If you stuff too many clothes at once in a washing machine for cleaning, it will cause cloth staining indeed. Because your clothes are packed closely, it will become difficult for the detergent to disperse equally in your washing machine. Ultimately the chances of staining get increased.

Methods to remove detergent stains from clothes

Laundry detergents are amazing cleaners even for carpet cleaning also. Through mishandling, it can cause stains on  clothes. You can remove laundry detergent stains from your clothes by following simple tips and home remedies. The following methods are pretty helpful in removing laundry detergent stains from clothes after washing.

1. Use Vinegar as detergent stain removal.

Vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent that can remove detergent stains from clothes. Follow the given steps to remove a stain out of clothes.

  • Fill a bucketful of warm water or tub. If your fabric is sensitive to warm water, use cold water instead of warm.
  • Add one cup of White Vinegar to the water.
  • Soak your cloth for almost one hour into this water.
  • Check your fabric at different intervals and rub the stain with your fingers to break the detergent down.
  • Thoroughly rinse with clean water.

2. Wash detergent stains with rubbing alcohol.

Laundry detergent staining seems irritating once you have done washing. But if you find detergent stains on clothes, do not worry as they can easily remove with alcohol.

  • Take a bucket filled with warm water. But you can also use cold water if your fabric is sensitive.
  • Rub the stain with your hand. If it persists, then wring out your cloth.
  • Spread a generous amount of rubbing alcohol to the stain. But before applying rubbing alcohol, it’s better to spot-check it at any hidden area of the cloth.
  • Wait for 10-15 minutes for rubbing alcohol to settle down.
  • Rinse your fabric with water and ensure no residue is left behind.
  • If the stain persists, then repeat the procedure.

Stain removal

3. Use bar soaps as detergent stain removals.

Bar soaps with Vinegar prove effective against detergent stains. Follow the given process to remove laundry detergent stains from your cloth.

  • Take a bucket of cold water and soak your stained cloth into it.
  • Rub the stain with any good bar soap.
  • Rinse as many times as possible and check if the stain persists or not.
  • If the stain persists, drain the water and again fill the bucket with cold water.
  • Add ¼ cup of Vinegar into the water and soak the fabric for at least 15 minutes.
  • Wring out your cloth and launder them without using detergent.

4. Use dish soap to remove detergent stains.

Using dish soap for detergent stain removal may look unusual, but it works. If you have already tried many procedures for stain removal, then why not dish soap?

  • Soak the fabric into the water and add one drop of dish soap onto the stain.
  • Scrub it with your fingers to remove the stain.
  • Then let the fabric soak in soapy water for a few minutes.
  • Rinse with thorough water and repeat the process if needed.
  • Do not launder with soapy water. Use clean water for proper rinsing.

5. Remove detergent stains with baking soda.

Baking soda has some miraculous cleaning properties, especially when it comes to detergent stain removal. You need to follow the same procedure for stain removal that you follow for washing.

  • Put the cloth in your laundry or washer.
  • Set the machine the same way as you set it for regular washing.
  • Instead of adding any detergent, add ½ cup of baking soda.
  • Wash your stained cloth in the washer as usual.
  • You can also add half a cup of Vinegar before the final rinse for better results.

stain removal

How to prevent detergent stains on clothes?

Now you are familiar with laundry detergent stains reasons and their removal methods. It’s high time to know how you can prevent detergent stains on clothes. Follow the given tips for the prevention of getting detergent stains on clothes.

  • Before adding clothes into the laundry, agitate the water and detergent together in the washing machine.
  • Mix or dissolve the detergent into the water before adding it into the laundry.
  • Do not add too much detergent.
  • Avoid adding too many clothes to the washing machine more than its load.
  • With hard water, always use liquid detergents.
  • Expired laundry detergent can also cause staining on the clothes. Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why are clothes coming out of the washer with detergent stains?

Sometimes the fabric softener or detergent residues remain stuck to your fabrics after washing, and your clothes come out of the washer with stains. This happens so because of mishandling your fabrics during washing. Too much detergent and improper agitation are a few of the main reasons for getting laundry stains on clothes.

2. What do laundry detergent stains look like?

Instead of cleaning your clothes, in some cases, a detergent can stain your clothes also. Laundry detergent stains appear in white or blue color. These stains may have a rough or waxy finish with a stiff texture.

3. How to wash out detergent stains?

Detergent stains can be removed or washed out by using the following ways.

  • With Vinegar
  • Using alcohol
  • By dish soap
  • With bar soap
  • Using baking soda


  • Stephen Powers

    Appliance repair guy from Washington. I am majorly experienced in dishwashers, water filters and refrigerators, AMA on my twitter account.

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