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Old, Set-In & Mystery Stains

A person wearing white and beige clothing holds a bottle of The Laundress Stain Solution above a green fabric.

The Solution

Mystery spills and spots and old, set-in messes can be a drag! If you're trying to determine how to treat a stubborn smudge, never fear. Follow our tried and true regime for targeting tough stains - old and new - to reveal beautifully clean results! If you're wondering how to wash your item too, check out our Care Tag Guide to de-code tricky garment tags.

What to use to fight old, set-in, and mystery stains:

How To Pretreat

Step One

Start by gently scraping away any physical excess stain residue (like mystery stickiness or gunk) with your fingers or a dull knife. Then, apply our enzymatic Stain Solution formula, ideal for tough stains, old and new. Work it into the fabric using a damp Stain Brush. Gently scrub, using circular motions.

Step Two

Most older, tougher stains, as well as mystery stains, can benefit from a soak as part of your pretreat. Fill a sink or wash basin with the warmest water the fabric can tolerate (typically hot water for everyday fabrics), then let it soak for 30 minutes before washing.

Step Three

For added cleaning power, after your soak pour hot water from a height onto the affected area, using a kettle or your faucet. Take care to pour from a safe distance so the water won't splash on you. The force of the pouring water will help to work the stain.

Afterwards, apply more Stain Solution, and toss in the wash. After pretreating and soaking, rinse hands well with water.

woman filling sink for a laundry soak with the laundress stain solution in background

Deep Clean

  • Always launder according to your garment's instructions. We recommend using a deep cleaning detergent made to target tough stains, like Signature Detergent.
  • For white or light-colored items, opt for Whites Detergent instead for added brightening benefits. Dark colors or patterns can also be washed with Darks Detergent for added vibrancy.
  • Select the hottest, longest cycle the fabric can tolerate (typically hot water for cottons and other everyday fabrics).
  • Remove promptly from the machine to check stains. If residue remains, repeat the pretreatment process before rewashing.

Dry & Finish

Even if your tough stains seem to have dissipated after washing, it's best to let previously stained items air dry. This helps avoid setting in unseen residue with the heat of the dryer.

Take Note: Our recommended stain treatment methods are based on textile science, and solely intended for use with The Laundress products. We cannot guarantee the success of products from other brands. Always test delicates and items tagged "dry clean" for color bleeding and water reactions before laundering. Kindly note that not all garments may perform and react as science would predict.

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