Ask the expert: Fighting common laundry stains around the world

A man folds laundry in a bedroom. A wire laundry basket sits on the bed holding clothing and a bottle of Amway laundry detergent.

When it comes to laundry stains, it doesn’t matter where you live, the struggle is universal.

Take it from someone who has studied stain removal for a living. Jim Pell is the resident stain expert at Amway, where he has been researching laundry formulations and product performance for more than 20 years. When it comes to stains, he is your guy.

We tapped his expertise to provide us with some useful tips on fighting the most common stains around the world. In all of these steps, remember to always follow instructions on your fabric’s care label.

Warmer the better

When it comes to tough stains, Jim always recommends washing at the warmest possible setting recommended by the fabric label – with one exception.

“In most cases, the warmer your wash water, the better your detergent will perform,” he said. “In most cases, cooler water will work just fine. But if you have a difficult stain or a particularly dirty load, washing in the warmest water recommended is your best bet.”

The one notable exception? Blood stains. Those should washed or rinsed in warm or cool water – not hot.

Speed matters, but be gentle

“The earlier you attack a stain, the easier it will be to remove,” Jim said. Letting a stain sit untreated allows it to set into the fabric. Even after washing, don’t let the item dry until you’re sure the stain is removed.

And finally, be gentle when cleaning the stain.

“Dab, don’t harshly rub a spot,” Jim said. “This can cause a stain to spread and actually damage the fabric.”

A bottle of Amway Home Prewash Spray stands next to boxes of Amway Home SA8 Laundry Detergent, Amway Home SA8 Supreme Laundry Detergent and Amway Home All Fabric Bleach

Getting out sweat stains

Sweat stains are a double whammy, Jim said, because sweat is combined with skin oil. Because of that, treating with a prewash spray or a detergent before putting it in the washing machine is key, he said.

Amway Home™ Prewash Spray is great for oily stains, including sweat, lipstick, ink and motor oil. And Amway Home™ SA8™ Supreme Powder Laundry Detergent includes the power of Tri-Zyme™ Detergent Booster, which uses a special combination of enzymes to break up stains, including protein stains like blood, egg or baby formula, and starch-based stains like rice, pasta, or pudding.

Enzymes are natural, biodegradable molecules that work to break up specific stain groups. Once the stains have been broken up, they can easily be washed away.

Getting out milk stains

New parents, toddlers and even rambunctious teenagers or careless adults have all had an occasion to cry over spilled milk. No crying necessary, thanks to Jim.

“Rinse the stain in water then pretreat it with Prewash Spray and launder it with Amway Home™ SA8™ Supreme Powder Laundry Detergent in the warmest water recommended,” he said.

If the stain is still there, repeat steps.

A plate of spaghetti squash covered in meaty spaghetti sauce.

Getting out spaghetti sauce stains

“Spaghetti sauce has two components,” Jim said. “It has a fatty component in the olive oil and the meat, and it has a bleachable component in the tomatoes that make up the sauce. So we’re going to need a two-pronged approach.

First, pretreat it with Prewash Spray as soon as possible. Second, if the shirt is bleachable, soak it in Amway Home™ All Fabric Bleach for 30 minutes in the warmest water recommended on the care label. Wash as directed.

“If the shirt is not bleachable, skip the soak step, and launder it in the warmest water recommended on the label,” he said. “As always, for persistent stains, please repeat steps all the way through.”

Three ladies drink wine in the kitchen while preparing a meal.

Getting out wine stains

Spilling red wine on your outfit or table cloth is a great way to put a damper on your festivities. Jim once again cautions to always check the care label to ensure the item is not dry clean only or delicate.

“If it’s washable, soak the item for at least 30 minutes in a solution containing 1 teaspoon Amway Home All Fabric Bleach and 64 ounces of the warmest water recommended on item’s care tag,” he said. “Then launder with Amway Home SA8 Supreme Powder Laundry Detergent and 1 scoop of Amway Home All Fabric Bleach again using the warmest water recommended on label.”

Repeat before drying until the stain is gone.

Getting out grass and dirt stains

It’s no fun playing outside if you have to worry about getting dirty. But what do you do about the grass and dirt that comes in on kids’ clothes?

“Once again, the key is to pre-treat the stain with a spray,” Jim said. “Launder clothes using the highest agitation setting on your washer, to help shake any dirt loose.”

A man opens up his water bottle after a workout at the gym. His clothing will need extra attention to get out the odor.

Getting out odors

If you have an athlete in the family, someone who works outdoors, or kids who tend to hoard wet towels in their rooms, you know the challenge of removing odors and smells.

The answer is an all-fabric bleach, Jim said, such as Amway Home All Fabric Bleach.

“That same combination of oxygen, bleach and minerals that powers out stains, is very effective at eliminating odors,” he said. “And because it contains no chlorine, our all-fabric bleach won’t fade bright or dark colors.

“It can be used on almost any items that can be safely laundered in non-delicate laundry detergent.”

Get the products

Check out all the Amway Home laundry products at Amway.com. Want to see the products in action? Watch them tackle a grape juice stain and a pudding stain on the website, too!

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