Skip to content
A tea or coffee stain on a white shirt

How to remove common stains

A handy stain removal chart

Download and print the full stain removal cheat sheet here (pdf - 1.4MB)!

We all know how chaotic family life can be – from breakfast to bedtime, kids seem to have a real knack for creating mess wherever they go. But aside from being poised with a damp cloth every moment of the day, the trick is to know how to remove stains from clothes: fast! Fortunately, our laundry stain cheat sheet is designed to help you tackle stains on the spot.

Whether it’s a messy teatime or the remains of a muddy day out, we’ve compiled a guide on the most common household stains and how to get rid of them – so, you can at least keep on top of that never-ending pile of laundry. Got a stain? Simply refer to this guide or use our handy printable stain removal chart (pdf - 1.4MB)!  


How to Remove Stains: From Ink to Tea & Coffee

Remember to read all clothing wash care labels thoroughly before washing and to test any stain-removing solutions on a hidden area of the garment first. It will also come in really useful if you have a bottle of Persil small & mighty on hand – the Stain Eraser Ball it comes with is great for applying Persil as a pre-treatment to a variety of stains. Check out our guide to using the Stain Eraser Ball here.  



Have the kids come home from school with pen on their uniform? Grab a can of hairspray! It might sound odd, but the alcohol in the spray will help to lift the ink from the fabric – apply directly onto the stain, leave for around 30 seconds, and wipe away with a damp cloth.  



Muddy clothes are likely to be a regular occurrence, especially if you have adventurous little ones – but a quality pre-treatment should solve this problem. Persil small & mighty Bio is great for helping to remove all sorts of stain. Apply using the Stain Eraser Ball to loosen ground-in mud. Read our guide on removing mud and grass stains for more advice!  



Is there an enthusiastic artist in the family? Luckily most kids’ activity paint is water-based – this can be removed by rinsing the back of the stain with warm water, before washing in the machine with your regular laundry detergent. Persil small & mighty provides great stain removal for yellow water based paint and blue poster paint. 

To deal with oil-based paints, dab the stain with a small amount of turpentine or white spirit – don’t forget to test on an inconspicuous area first and to wear rubber gloves. Remember to always check garment care labels and do not attempt this method if your clothing is made from rayon, acetate or triacetate. Instead, take it to the dry cleaners.  



Whether it’s due to a burger or a bike ride, grease can easily ruin clothes – but only if you leave the stain to linger. To quickly tackle the stain, try sprinkling on some baking soda ­– it’s super absorbent so it’ll help draw out the grease.  



Don’t panic about chocolate stains! Remember the ‘chill out’ trick – avoid hot water, and simply place the item of clothing in a plastic bag and leave inside the fridge to cool for a while. Once the chocolate has hardened, it’ll be easier to scrape off with a blunt knife or spoon.  



As well as a few tears, cuts and scrapes can result in tough stains. The trick here is to use cold water to rinse the affected garment through ­– hot water will merely set the stain further. If you don’t have time to put it in the wash yet, try rubbing with a little bit of toothpaste – the compounds will help break it down.  


Tomato-based Sauce

Did you know that lemon can help get rid of many sauce stains? The natural acidity works to cut through the oil – simply rub half a lemon over the stain before flushing with water. Now you can enjoy your spag bol without worrying about ruining your shirt. For more information on dinnertime stains, read our article on how to remove stains from a tablecloth.  


Red Wine

A red wine spill doesn’t have to mean an item of clothing is ruined. Firstly, blot the stain with white wine to neutralise it – then, sprinkle on some table salt to soak up the moisture. Finally, wash with Persil small & mighty Bio to help tackle any remaining residues.  


Tea & Coffee

There’s no use crying over a spilt cuppa ­– simply mix together one-part white vinegar to three-parts water and apply to the fabric with a sponge ­– then go and make yourself another cup!

No matter what the stain is, don’t forget to follow up stain removal with a wash with Persil small & mighty to help shift any remaining traces. Just remember to use the recommended dosage and wash at the temperature recommended on the garment’s care label. And, if you’re dealing with a particularly delicate fabric, wash with Persil Non-Bio Liquid on a gentle cycle.  

Why not print off our laundry stain cheat sheet (pdf - 1.4MB) and keep it beside the washing machine? With stain removal tricks for all situations, it’s sure to become your saviour, (just in time for the next stain emergency!).   Don't forget, it's not just Persil small & mighty that can help you tackle stains – Persil Dual Action Capsules are also great at removing a variety of stains. Find out how to use laundry capsules to remove stains here.

Chat live with our Persil Careline team 8am-6pm Monday-Friday