What happens when the laundry product you trusted to remove stains becomes the culprit?

It’s disappointing when you grab your clothes from the dryer, only to see a large blue stain that wasn’t there when you threw it in the washer. Maybe you’re more familiar with white clumps or streaks?

No matter which you’re used to, it’s the laundry detergent and/or softener that’s behind it all. It happens because powder, liquid, or single-pack laundry products don’t fully dissolve in the wash. Without harming the fabric, here’s a list of stain removal solutions from Warner Service:

These stains could be caused by a lack of agitation, which is a green laundry technique that involves stirring the water to dissolve the detergent before the cycle begins. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Add the detergent while the machine is filling.
  2. Use your hand to mix the detergent and water.
  3. Wash your hands when you see that the detergent has properly dissolved.
  4. Add the clothes.

Agitation is especially important if you’re washing a cold cycle in a cold climate. This is because detergents don’t dissolve as easily in cool temperatures.

To keep using cold water and any type of detergent in cold climates:

  • Dissolve the product in a cup of hot water first.
  • Dilute the fabric softener before adding it to the cycles or to the dispenser.

Tip: Use enough water. If the amount of water isn't enough for the detergent to dissolve, the chances of laundry product clumps and patches become higher.

Liquid Dishwashing Detergent
The detergent you use for dishwashers can quickly solve this problem because it has a different formulation and can easily remove pesky stains.

  1. Wet the affected areas.
  2. Rub with a small drop of liquid dish detergent (preferably the type designed to remove grease) using small, vigorous strokes until the stain slowly comes out.
  3. Repeat again with more dishwashing detergent if the stain doesn't come off with the first application, adding more detergent.
  4. Wash the fabric under cold water when you don’t see a stain anymore.

Tip: Don’t ever directly pour laundry products on dry clothes or throw the single-pack detergent on top of the load. Add both to the washer drum, so the product disperses in water to evenly clean dirty laundry.

Undispersed fabric softeners can leave a waxy-like feeling on clothes:

  1. Scrub the area with a bar of soap and soft-bristle brush to loosen the jellied fabric softener.
  2. Wash the item with the next load after removing as much fabric softener as you can.
  3. Repeat as necessary.

Tip: According to eHow, fabric softeners coat linens with a waxy residue that makes towels less absorbent. Add vinegar or ½ cup of baking soda to wash water to make everything soft with a fresh, clean smell.

Vinegar works well for cleaning, deodorizing, and washing away stains. It can also dissolve soap residue, which explains why it works well as a green laundry stain removal alternative.

  1. Rub the affected area with a bar of soap.
  2. Wash again.
  3. Soak the fabric in undiluted white vinegar for at least 15 minutes (no more than 30 minutes), until the spots disappear.
  4. Rinse the fabric when the stains are gone.

Tip: If you have a washer with an automatic detergent dispenser, it can get clogged with lumps of detergent (even liquid detergent) that aren’t dissolving. Remove all dispensers and clean them with hot water and a ½ of cup distilled white vinegar.

If you need help removing other everyday stains like chocolate, pen, and coffee, download our Stain Removal Guide by clicking below:

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