laundry stain removal
May 20, 2012 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Laundry stain removal. Can't get a stain out. What works?

Spilled some "Frank's Red Hot Sauce" on a striped 100% cotton shirt. Tried the following stain removers but the stain remains:
1. Zout
2. Fels Naptha
3. Shout Advanced
4. Unbelievable Pro
5. Spray N Wash Stick
6. De-Solve-It

I even tried a carpet stain remover! Yes, I know I spent more on stain removers than the shirt is worth--I could have just bought a new shirt and moved on with my life. But I'm stubborn and want this stain out just so I can say I conquered!
I have not dried the shirt between washings so the stain shouldn't be set in but it just won't come out. I can't use a chlorox stain pen because the shirt isn't all white.
This isn't life or death but just wondering if you all know of something that might work or have an unusual solution you found to work on stains. (For example, I found that Easy Off oven cleaner Fume Free (with the blue cap) will work better on shower/tub grime and buildup than anything made or marketed for shower buildup.) In that same vein, I was wondering if there might be some unusual method for getting stains out of cotton. What are your secrets/advice/success stories?
posted by luvmywife to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I think Frank's Red Hot Sauce is vinegar based. This could cause a chemical reaction between the pigment in the sauce (found in red peppers?) and the fabric. If your shirt is cotton, and you have been agitating it at all in a wet environment - think of your shirt as "naturally dyed" perhaps, not "stained." As in, "my shirt is dyed red and there's no going back."

Probably the shirt is ruined. I myself would try the stain pen - the industrial chemicals used to dye the stripes in the shirt are probably way more resistant to it than the hot sauce would be. You could find that the hot sauce comes out and the shirt just fades a little bit. Or you could have bleached out spots. But, given that you have tried so many chemicals, it seems like you've probably agitated it enough that you don't have many chances to save the shirt.

I'm not a chemist, I just play with fabric dyes at home.
posted by newg at 9:31 AM on May 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

Put it in a bucket with some cool water and a scoop of oxyclean. Let the whole thing sit for 24 hours, but swish it around with your hand every 6 hours or so. Then wash.
posted by joan_holloway at 9:32 AM on May 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Here's what I would try next (not all at once, try them one at a time):

1. Dawn dish washing detergent
2. Flush with vinegar then cold water
3. OxiClean laundry spray

I would test these on a hidden spot first to make sure they don't hurt the color/fabric. I would also wet the stain first with cold water before application.
posted by Majorita at 9:32 AM on May 20, 2012

Soak in borax and water.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 9:45 AM on May 20, 2012

Have you tried any of the Stain Devils? One of the Stain Devils is specifically formulated to remove sauces like ketchup and mustard, and in my experience, the entire product line is very good for getting out some pretty stubborn stains. You can usually find Stain Devils at your local hardware store or at a crafts shop. Some supermarkets carry them too.
posted by whimwit at 9:57 AM on May 20, 2012

I would try an overnight soak in OxyClean first. If that didn't work, I have also had luck getting stains out of white striped items using diluted bleach applied carefully with a Q-tip. If the stripes are too narrow that may not be an option.
posted by ambrosia at 10:41 AM on May 20, 2012

If it's fresh, Windex works surprisingly well on blood stains and tomato sauce. This looks a little beyond its magical powers, though.
posted by skyl1n3 at 10:54 AM on May 20, 2012

Different stains need different treatment. This is why the Internet was invented:
posted by theora55 at 12:52 PM on May 20, 2012

Keep in mind, also, that you can keep doing whatever method you want to try. I got rid of shoe polish on a dress once simply by tossing the dress into the laundry every time I did a load, and while I could still see the stain, I just applied more stain stick and let it air dry til the next time I ran another load. Worst case, you take up a tiny bit more room in your washer for a while (seriously, I did this for like a month? I really liked the dang dress), and best case, you eventually get your shirt back. Of course, I tried this recently on a shirt and used different stain removing products (zout, shout spray on, shout stain removing gel, dawn dish detergent) and eventually gave up because there was just no progress at all. But it's worth keeping at it.
posted by lemniskate at 8:52 PM on May 20, 2012

hydrogen peroxide?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 9:41 PM on May 20, 2012

Hang it in a sunny window for a few days (or a bit longer).
posted by kmennie at 4:13 AM on May 21, 2012

Just discovered this miracle stain remover and it worked getting an unknown dark greasy substance off of mr jane's white dress shirts.

Fill washer with hot water, add 1/2 cup each: Oxyclean, Clorox 2 and powdered dishwasher soap. Let washer swish to mix powders. Add shirt, agitate some more. Leave soaking overnight. Continue wash cycle. Presto! Stain's gone.
posted by sarajane at 3:31 PM on May 21, 2012

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