How to Remove a Stain Left by Stain Remover

by Ilana Waters ; Updated September 28, 2017

Nothing can ruin a perfect outfit like a stain.

kids clothing image by Nenad Djedovic from

There are numerous products on the market today to remove stains from clothing, but sometimes they don't work as planned. The removers themselves may leave rings or stains on the very clothing you were trying to clean, resulting in a new problem that you did not anticipate. Not only may the original stain be there still, but you must also determine the best way to lift the stain left by the remover.

Items you will need

  • Washing machine
  • Bowl full of cold water
  • Laundry detergent
Step 1

Read the directions for that particular stain remover carefully. Sometimes the manufacturer has specific instructions for what to do when a stain is left by the remover.

Step 2

Wash the garment if you have not already. If you washed it once and the remover stain remains, wash it again. Use a gentle cycle and cold water only. Air dry, or dry on a "no heat" or "fluff" cycle.

Step 3

If the stain still does not lift after being washed twice, fill a large bowl or tub with cold water and place the garment in it. Allow the garment to soak in the bowl for two hours. If stain is still there, change the water (using only cold water again) and allow it to soak for an additional two hours. Repeat until the stain is lifted.

Step 4

Put a different type of stain remover (other than the one that caused the stain) onto the fabric and wash in cold water. Ordinary laundry detergent can be used as a stain remover in this case. Pour enough detergent onto the garment to cover the stain and wash the item immediately. Do not allow the detergent to dry on the fabric before washing.

Step 5

If repeated attempts to remove the stain are unsuccessful, consider taking the garment to a dry cleaner and asking them for advice.


  • If you are still unable to remove the stain left by the remover, call the manufacturer for further instructions.

    Avoid this problem in the future by adding only as much remover as necessary to lift the stain. Do not oversaturate the fabric with remover.


  • Do not rub or scrub the stain left by the remover. Doing so may embed it even more deeply into the fabric.

    To improve your odds of removing the stain, begin working on the garment as soon as possible.

    Never wash a stained item in warm or hot water, or put the garment in the dryer directly after a stain-removal attempt.


  • Field Guide to "Stains: How to Identify and Remove Virtually Every Stain Know to Man;" Virginia Friedman, Melissa Wagner, and Nancy Armstrong; 2002

Photo Credits

  • kids clothing image by Nenad Djedovic from

About the Author

A professional writer for LexisNexis since 2008, Ilana Waters has created pages for websites such as and A writing scholarship helped her graduate summa cum laude from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Social Work. She then obtained her Master of Social Work from Monmouth University.