Successfully removing a stain from white clothing depends on what you do and what you don't do. Before trying to clean the garment, always check the garment's care label.

It's important to act fast before the stain can set. Here are some ways to remove stains from white clothing:

  • Use a knife to scrape or scoop up any excess food.
  • Blot up liquids with a clean white cloth, starting from the outer edge of the stain and working inward.
  • Dab a cloth soaked in cool water, with or without a nontoxic dishwashing liquid, on the stain. Be careful not to spread or smear the stain.
  • Sprinkle cornstarch on oily stains, wait 10 to 15 minutes and then scrape it up. Repeat if necessary. Finish by dabbing the area with a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice or white vinegar (it's best to test it on a hidden area of the garment), and then rinse the spot.
  • Presoak the garment in nontoxic detergent or oxygen bleach before laundering [source: Martha Stewart].

Note: The above suggestions are only for washable clothing. Garments that require dry cleaning should be cleaned professionally [source: Martha Stewart].

Here are some things that you shouldn't do when trying to remove a stain from white clothing:

  • Don't use a dark colored cloth or a linty terry towel to rub the stain.
  • Don't rub bar soap on a fresh stain, since soap may actually set the stain.
  • Don't use hot water if you're not sure what kind of stain you're dealing with. Hot water can set protein-based stains, such as blood, egg and milk.
  • Don't rub delicate fabrics excessively.
  • Don't iron, press or machine-dry a stained garment, since heat can set stains [source: OSU Extension]. //]]]]> ]]>