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Stain removal tips to refresh your clothes

Clothes last longer when they are properly cared for, but lets face it, everyone has a clumsy moment that stains a favourite article of clothing. If you have stained your favourite t-shirt or you’re selling clothing on your local site, learn how to freshen it up. There is no need to spend a fortune at the laundromat or dry cleaners, instead use household products you already have to get the job done. Here are our tips for removing tough stains, be it oil, yellow underarms, wax, grease, or bleach.

Watch Christa, our Ottawa Community Coordinator, give a quick run down of these laundry secrets on CTV Ottawa Morning Live.




Whether you spilled dressing on your favourite t-shirt, or you got carried away at brunch with the bacon, oil stains easily. First things first, do not put your oil stained clothing in the dryer, this will cook it into your clothing and the stain will stay with you for good. To remove oil, shred a bar of Ivory hand soap and make a thick paste. Work it into the stain with a soft brush and keep the article damp in a sealed bag until you’re able to do laundry. Wash as normal. You may need to repeat if necessary, but remember to not dry your clothing in the interim.

Hint: this tip also works great if you’re away from home and won’t be able to launder the stain right away.


Yellow underarms

The removal of yellow underarm stains works best on recently stained shirts, old stains are likely there to stay. For a white t-shirt mix three tablets of whitening Polident in a tub of water to soak overnight. Wash the following day as normal, or add lemon to the wash. If you can dry your shirts outside this hint of lemon will speed up the sun-bleaching process.

Hint: Lay the t-shirt flat on the grass for easy sun-bleaching.



Candles are lovely, but wax does no good on clothing. To remove wax use a hot iron, paper towels, and an old towel. Begin by placing your wax-stained article on an old towel on your ironing board, to ensure that wax doesn’t transfer onto any unwanted surfaces (like your ironing board). Next, place a clean and dry paper towel over the stained area and re-heat the wax for a few seconds with a hot iron. During this process the wax will melt and absorb into the paper towel. Carefully remove the paper towel and start with a fresh piece on the remaining stain, to ensure you are not transferring the wax back onto your article. Continue until the wax is completely absorbed.


StainRemoval_Bikegrease_BlogIf you know any avid cyclists, you are surely familiar with grease stains and what a pain they are. But fret not, they can be removed with lighter fluid and an old rag. Set the stained article on an absorbent surface, such as an old towel or rag and blot lighter fluid into the effected area. Be cautious because it is a highly flammable liquid. Wash as normal and you are ready to go!


What is one to do when you get a drop of bleach on your favourite purple t-shirt? Sadly with bleach there is no way to reverse this mark, but that’s not going to say that you can’t fix it. As the old saying goes “if you can’t beat them, join them,” and this is exactly what we recommend. Get creative and tie-dye your shirt; wrap elastics around the shirt and dip it in a mild bleach solution. If you are looking to fix your shirt, colour match it with dye. Make sure the dye is dark enough to hide the stain, and keep in mind that cotton fibres hold colours better then synthetic fibres. Either route you choose, your shirt is good as new!

Useful links

Second hand clothing on your local site

Homemade laundry detergent

How to green your kitchen

Greening your bathroom 101

Soap stars: castile

Cleaning essentials: essential oils that are mean on dirt and grime







Chatter from the UsedHQ. We're the number one Canadian online classifieds, passionate about keeping items out of landfills, preserving unique curiosities, crafting, upcycling, anything vintage and SAVING MONEY!

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