6 Simple Ways To Get Detergent Stains Out of Clothes

Has this ever happened to you? You take your clean laundry out of the machine only for it to come out marked up by laundry detergent.

This is a very frustrating scenario that I can empathize with, but luckily, there are many ways to get rid of these stains quickly. So, how can you get detergent stains out of clothes?

The six ways I suggest for removing detergent stains are rinsing in warm water, using baking soda, rubbing with bar soap, soaking in white vinegar, using coffee grounds, or spraying with a lemon juice cleaner.

These marks can add an extra step to your laundry process, but thank goodness, they aren’t permanent, and you should be able to get them out relatively quickly.

This article is going to explain why this staining happens and give you six different ways to get rid of laundry detergent stains easily without having to buy any additional cleaning products.

Gomestic Tip: If you want to make your laundry process a little kinder to the environment, why not swap over to an eco-friendly detergent that uses natural ingredients rather than synthetic chemicals?

Why Does Detergent Stain Your Clothes?

Most commonly, the cause of detergent stains is the detergent not being adequately dissolved in the water.

Several things can cause this:

  • Detergent compartment is overfilled
  • Water is too cold
  • Build up of detergent in the dispenser

Sometimes it will just happen without much explanation.

If the detergent doesn’t dissolve correctly, the soap will remain floating within the wash and deposit itself on your clothes. If it doesn’t rinse out in the rinse cycle, it may leave behind streaky stains.

Luckily, these stains are not permanent so let’s get into how to get rid of them.

6 Simple Ways To Get Detergent Stains Out of Clothes

Detergent stains can be very frustrating, but in most cases, you can get rid of them simply using products you already have at home.

After using one of these techniques, I would recommend putting your clothes through a wash again or hand wash to get rid of any residue.

Here are the six ways to get rid of detergent stains:

Rinse in Warm Water

For relatively light staining, a quick rinse in warm water is all your may need to get them out. The warm water will dissolve the soap and leave your clothes stain-free.

Baking Soda

As with so many household situations, baking soda is here to save the day.

Baking soda has the ability to neutralize and lift detergent from fabrics, so it is an instrumental technique to know.

Mix four tablespoons into a glass of water and apply it to the stains. Leave it for a minimum of 1 hour, but I like leaving it to dry completely.

Rinse out with water and repeat if needed.

To find out the other ways that baking soda can be helpful in laundry, check out our article here.

Brush with Bar Soap and Water

If the stains are more stubborn, try rubbing them with bar soap and water.

You can use the bar itself or a gentle scrubbing brush to shift the stain. To finish it off, put the items through a regular wash on their own or hand rinse with clean water.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is yet another one of those household items that have so many cleaning uses.

To mix this homemade cleaner, mix 1 cup of vinegar with 4 cups of water and apply it to the stains. Allow it to soak in the solution for at least an hour.

Be very careful not to use too much vinegar, as this can fade some fabrics.

Coffee Grounds

This may sound strange, but used coffee grounds can have the same effects as baking soda if applied to a detergent stain.

Mix a few tablespoons of coffee grounds with warm water and apply it to the stains. Leave it to soak for a minimum of 1 hour but leave it for longer if the stains have not lifted yet.

Put the stained items through a regular wash on their own to wash the coffee out.

If the coffee used in this method makes a stain of its own, check out a neat way of dealing with coffee stains here!

Lemon Juice

A lemon juice-based cleaner is another natural way to eliminate detergent stains.

This mixture is a cleaner that you can use for all kinds of home cleaning, but it works great for detergent stains.

To make this cleaner, mix 1 cup of lemon juice with three cups of water. Apply this to the stain and leave it to soak for thirty minutes. Rinse out with water.

The beauty of this mixture is that you can put the remaining cleaner in a spray bottle and use it throughout your home.

Gomestic Tip: To prevent getting detergent stains, be sure to use the right amount of detergent, keep your detergent hopper clean, and use slightly warm water.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can fabric conditioner cause staining?

Unlike detergent, it is not very likely that fabric conditioner will cause staining. However, it can happen occasionally.

To avoid this, I recommend always adding the fabric conditioner to the hopper so you can avoid direct contact with the undiluted liquid.

What do my clothes have blue stains after washing?

While most detergent stains are white, this may vary from brand to brand and sometimes cause blue staining. It could also be your fabric softener.

Be sure to use the correct amount of each product and wash on the correct setting.


While detergent stains may be a significant inconvenience, as you can see, there are many solutions to this soapy problem.

The six easy ways  I recommend for getting rid of detergent stains on clothes are rinsing in warm water, using baking soda, rubbing with bar soap, soaking in white vinegar, using coffee grounds, or praying with a lemon juice cleaner.

All of these solutions are relatively affordable and natural ways to get rid of stains quickly without having to buy any additional products. I hope this comes in handy the next time you have a laundry mishap.

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