How to Remove Stains on Denim

by Amy Dombrower ; Updated September 28, 2017

Remove stains from denim, using various home remedies, such as vinegar and rubbing alcohol

denim background image by Adam Borkowski from

At some point or another, it’s probably inevitable that you’ll get some type of stain on your denim jeans, whether it’s an ink stain, grass stain or food stain. Fortunately, denim handles stains fairly well. You just need to blot the stain with the proper substance before washing, and they’ll be good as new. The substance you use to treat the stain will vary according to the type of stain it is.

Vinegar Method

Remove water-based stains, such as juices, coffee, tea, beer and vomit, by applying white vinegar to the stain. Dampen a clean cloth with vinegar and blot the stained area of your denim. If it’s a tougher stain, such as dye, wine or cola, make sure you treat the stain as soon as possible and immediately wash the garment.

Try soaking the denim garment in a vinegar solution if it’s a larger stain. Mix three parts vinegar and one part cold water. Leave the garment in the solution overnight, then wash in the washing machine.

Add a cup or two of vinegar in the wash as well to take out serious stains.

Remove grass stains by soaking the garment in vinegar for an hour. Then wash and dry the garment as usual.

Rubbing Alcohol Method

Remove ink, grass and other tough stains by laying your stained garment with the stain face down onto a towel.

Dip a clean cloth in rubbing alcohol to dampen it.

Gently blot the stained area (other side of the fabric) with the dampened cloth.

Wash and dry the garment as usual.

Dishwashing Soap Method

Apply some liquid dishwashing detergent to a clean cloth.

Rub the stained area with the cloth.

Rinse the garment thoroughly, then wash and dry.

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About the Author

Amy Dombrower is a journalist and freelance writer living in Chicago. She worked in the newspaper industry for three years and enjoys writing about technology, health, paper crafts and life improvement. Some of her passions are graphic design, movies, music and fitness. Dombrower earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.