Classification of Stain and Removal Techniques from Clothes

Last Updated on 13/01/2021

Classification of Stain and Removal Techniques from Clothes

R.S. Balakumar
Associate Professor
Dept of Fashion Design & Arts
Hindustan University, Chennai, India


Stain on cloth:
Stain is an area of discoloration that penetrates the cloth surface, caused by a local deposit of soil or discoloration on a substrate cloth that exhibits some degree of resistance to removal, as by laundering or dry cleaning. In this article I will discuss different types of stain and its removal techniques from clothes.

Stain removal techniques from clothes
Fig: Stain removal techniques from clothes

Classification of Stain and Removal Techniques from Clothes:
Stains are broadly classified under six headings. Namely,

  1. Protein stain
  2. Tannin stains
  3. Oil – based stains
  4. Dye stains
  5. Combination Stains
  6. Stains require special treatment methods

1. Protein Stains:
Baby food, Milk, Blood, Cream, Cheese sauce, Pudding, Egg, Gelatine, White glue, Ice cream

Removal Techniques:
Soak and agitate the fabric having fresh protein stains in cold water and rut it against itself to dislodge stains (use of hot water at first time is useful to remove the stain) If the built up stains of old, scrape or brush off crusted matter, then soak in cold water using a detergent or an enzyme pre-soak product.

2. Tannin Stains:
Types of Tannin stains are as follows:- Alcoholic beverages, Beer, Berries, Coffee, Tea, Juice, Cologne, Washable ink, Soft drinks.

Removal of Tannin Stains:
These are usually removed by laundering the cloth using detergent in hot water without any treatment. Natural soap should never be used due to tannin stain will be stayed permanent and more different to remove it.

3. Oil – based stains:
The following are known as oil- based stains: Automobile oil, Hair oil, Lotion, Butter, Grease, Cooking oil, Creams Collar, Cuff greasing rings.

Removal of oil- based stains:
These stains are “built up stains” and can be used only by the use of hard removal substance like an aerosol petroleum based solvent pre-treatment spray, or a pump type detergent based spray is used on an oil stain surface. Even heavy duty liquid detergents are more useful to remove oil stains.

4. Dye Stains:
Types or dye stains are as follows:- Cherry, blue berry, colour bleeding in wash (dye transfer) Grass, Indian IWL, Paint, Felt tip pen ink and mustard.

Removal of dye Stains:
Using of heavy duty liquid detergent, then rinse thoroughly. Soak the stained cloth / garment in a dilute solution of all fabric powdered bleach.

A few highlighter (maker) stains also be removed by applying and rubbing gently with isopropyl alcohol and flushing with hot water is the quick & easy remedial measure.

5. Combination Stains:
Combination of these type of stains are grouped under A and B tittles.

The following are the mentioned here under

Group A
Ball point link, Candle wax, Carbon paper, Crayon, Eye make-up pencils, Floor wax, resin, shoe polish, Tar.

Group B  
Calamine lotion ketsup / tomato sauce, Cocoa or Chocolate, Face make up (power, rouge, foundation) Gravy or Hair spray

Removal of group A mentioned stains.
Spray or sponge with dry cleaning solvent like perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, after that gently rub with heavy – duty liquid detergent before washing. It fabrics are colorfast to bleach, use liquid chlorine bleaches for tough dye stains for the group B tyre or stains before washing.

6. Stains require special treatment methods:
Chewing gum, Deodorants, Nail polish, Lead Pencil varnish, pesticide, Rust, smoke, water spots.

Removal techniques:
Removal techniques of light stains can be pre-treated with liquid laundry detergent and then launder.

For heavy stains: Pre – treat with pre wash stain remover for 5 to 15 minutes. After that laundering is to be done using an oxygen bleach.

Nail Polish can be removed with acetone and spot treatment method.

Lead pencil, Spray with pre-treatment aerosol product, rub in heavy duty liquid detergent, rinse in worm water and then launder.

Mildew is removed with heavy duty liquid detergent and then launder in hot water. Bleach as safe for cloth.

Paint / Varnish: using of thinner turpentine spot washing and then heavy duty detergent work is recommended perspiration, stub born stains may be responded to washing in an enzyme. Containing product or oxygen bleach in hottest water as safe for cloth.

Rust : Hydrofluoric acid, oxalic acid

Smoke : Heavy – duty phosphate based detergent or liquid.

Applying stain removers are four methods namely, Dip method, Steam method, Drop method, Sponge method.

Stain removal products are Five types namely, Absorbent materials, Detergents, Bleach, Pre-treatment products, Odour reducing agents pre-treatment products are, Aerosol sprays, Gel tyres, Pump spray, squeeze bottle, stain stick.

Stain removal chemical are Alcohol, Ammonia, colour remover, colour whitener, Dry cleaning fluid, glycerine white vinegars.

Precaution Tips:
The precautions are necessary to observe in spotting are as follows.

Consider the kind and characteristics of material, colour of the material, Nature of the stain, using of the simplest reagents first, using of medicine dropper, providing plenty of padding, and change frequently, place a stain downwards and work from the wrong side, Always doing the stain removal from clothes much faster and quicker is yield the best result.


  1. Stain Removal Techniques,
  2. NITRA – publications.
  3. Usha Tailoring guide,

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