A clothes stain remover is a stain treatment designed to be safe and effective for use on most articles of clothing. Most clothing stain removers sold in stores are sold in gel or spray forms, designed to be applied directly to the stain as pre-treatment before washing. Specialized stain removers are also available, designed for specific types of stains such as red wine, coffee, tomato sauce, and others. The clothes can then sit with the stain remover on the stain for a few minutes, hours, or even overnight, and can typically then be washed as usual. With any article of clothing, it is best to treat the stain as soon as possible, preferably while it is still wet.
Different brands and types of clothes stain remover can be found in the laundry aisle with the detergent in most stores. Some types of clothing stain removers are designed to be small enough to be carried in a pocket or purse, and may be sold in a "pen" or individual wipe form. These can be used on articles of clothing that become stained while out, such as at work or at a restaurant. Though they may not remove the stain entirely, they may be able to prevent the stain from setting in until the article of clothing can be washed.
In general, when using clothes stain remover, there are a few important steps to follow. First, blot up as much of the stain as possible with a damp, plain white paper towel or cloth. Do not rub the stain, as that can press it into the clothing fibers. Next, apply the clothes stain remover directly to the stain. If a specific stain remover is not available on hand, applying laundry detergent directly to the stain can have a similar effect.
Most stained pieces of clothing can now simply be run through the wash, and the stain will be removed. However, it is important to check the article of clothing when it comes out of the washing machine to be sure the stain was removed. Do not place the clothing in the drier if the stain is still visible, because that will likely cause the stain to set. Instead, the stain removal process can be repeated.
In addition to the clothes stain remover sold in stores, it may be possible to remove stains from clothing using ingredients found around the house. For white clothing without any colored embellishments, bleach is always an option. Hydrogen peroxide, Borax, or rubbing alcohol blotted on to a stain may work well, especially for organic materials such as blood and grass. Dishwashing detergent may be effective at removing grease stains. Some people even use lemon juice, applied directly to a stain, to gently lift it from clothing.