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How To Remove Mystery Stains

Raise your hand if this has happened to you--you throw on a sweater or T-shirt only to find a stain you haven’t the foggiest notion the source of. As a rule of thumb, when treating stains, it’s always important to consider these two things: Where the stain came from and the type of fabric and garment it’s on. But when the answer to that first one is a total mystery, here’s what to do.

ID Clues

The location of the stain, how the stain smells, and the color of the stain may be able to offer you some indicators as to what it's from. For instance, old oil or grease stains may smell a little rancid, but appear dry. If the color and scents correspond with a potential stain source such as wine, chocolate, or fruit, then you will have more information to go off of.


As a rule of thumb, if a stain appears brown or rich in color, it is protein-based and will require a stain treatment with enzymes to lift it. If the stain is gray, it is rich in oil or grease and will require a stain remover treated to latch onto oil molecules to dissolve it. If the spot is yellow, it is either a sweat stain or a combination stain, consisting of both protein and oil.

Treat Protein Stains

Treat the stain with a few drops of Stain Solution and work in with a Stain Brush or Lint-Free Cleaning Cloth until it begins to lift. For tough or stubborn stains, sprinkle a bit of All-Purpose Bleach Alternative on top of the stain treatment to create a paste. Wet the brush or cloth and continue massaging into fabric. Next, soak the garment in a bath of warm or hot water along with a capful of All-Purpose Bleach Alternative for 30 minutes to help further break up the spot.

Machine or hand wash with the appropriate enzyme-based detergent to help whiten and brighten the garment. We love Signature Detergent for everyday laundry.

Before drying, do a once-over to ensure the stain is completely gone. Machine drying a stained garment will make it more difficult to remove later on. If remnants of the spot remains, repeat the above process.

*For woolens, silk, or delicate synthetics, use cool water when treating, soaking, and washing, and wash with Wool & Cashmere Shampoo or Delicate Wash respectively.

Tackle Oil Stains

Lather a Wash & Stain Bar under warm water and work directly into the oil stain. You can also use a Stain Brush or Lint-Free Cleaning Cloth to better work it into the fabric. For tough or stubborn stains, sprinkle a bit of All-Purpose Bleach Alternative on top of the stain treatment to create a paste. Wet the brush or cloth and continue massaging into fabric. Place the item in a bath of warm or hot water and add a capful of All-Purpose Bleach Alternative. Lit sit for 30 minutes.


Machine or hand wash with the appropriate enzyme-based detergent to help whiten and brighten the garment. We love Signature Detergent for everyday laundry.

Before drying, do a once-over to ensure the stain is completely gone. Machine drying a stained garment will make it more difficult to remove later on. If remnants of the spot remains, repeat the above process.

*For woolens, silk, or delicate synthetics, use cool water when treating, soaking, and washing, and wash with Wool & Cashmere Shampoo or Delicate Wash respectively. Do not use All-Purpose Bleach Alternative.

Combat Combination Stains or Unidentified Stains

For yellow stains (most often pit or sweat stains), stains you are not sure the source of, or stains that will not budge, use our one-two punch strategy: Start with a small amount of Stain Solution and work into fabric with a Stain Brush or Lint-Free Cleaning Cloth. Sprinkle a pinch of All-Purpose Bleach Alternative on top and continue brushing into fabric. Soak for 30 minutes in warm or hot water, then treat with the Wash & Stain Bar. Repeat the soaking process.


Machine or hand wash with the appropriate enzyme-based detergent to help whiten and brighten the garment. We love Signature Detergent for everyday laundry.

Before drying, do a once-over to ensure the stain is completely gone. Machine drying a stained garment will make it more difficult to remove later on. If remnants of the spot remains, repeat the above process.

*For woolens, silk, or delicate synthetics, use cool water when treating, soaking, and washing, and wash with Wool & Cashmere Shampoo or Delicate Wash respectively. Do not use All-Purpose Bleach Alternative.