Close up of soapy water in a blue container.

Our 5 Best Stain Removal Tips for the Washing Machine

Washing machines do such a good job of cleaning clothes, it’s hard to imagine there’d be anything extra that matic moms could do to help them get rid of tough stains. But with our top five stain removal tips for washing machines, you’ll get better results, and never need to ask yourself how to remove stains from clothes again!

1. Pre-treat stains before you wash them.

Yes, washing machines are almost magical in their powers to clean, but just putting a stained garment inside and starting a regular wash cycle might not remove all the marks the first time! Depending on the type of stain, it’s best to spot-clean the area first or soak the garment in a detergent and water solution to loosen up the stain before putting it in the wash. Here are the main rules of pre-treatment:

  • Do not allow the stain to dry – this will set it and make it harder to come out.
  • Spot-clean or soak the garment, according to the type of fabric (too much agitation can damage fabrics like wool and silk).
  • Blot a stained area instead of rubbing it – this way the fibres won’t get damaged.
  • Give stain removers some time to sink in and work before putting your garment in the wash.

2. Choose the right temperature for removing stains

Although your immediate reaction might be to use hot water to remove stains, in fact many marks are better removed by cooler water – for example, blood. Check the care label for guidelines as to the highest temperature you can use on your garment (natural fibres, for example, need cooler water to prevent shrinkage), and then treat the stain accordingly. Check our stain removal guide here for specific guidelines as to what temperature water is best for your stain.  

3. Use the right detergent in the right dose

Modern detergents are designed to be effective. In fact, you shouldn’t just add extra detergent because you think this will clean an especially dirty garment – this might actually have the opposite effect! Always use detergent in the dose recommended on the side of the packet, according to the type of water you have (hard or soft). Check out our dosing guidelines for more information.  

4. Use your washing machine to do most of the work

When it comes to pre-treating stains, remember most modern machines are designed to help you with this. This Godrej semi automatic machine has a soak program setting, and this IFB front-loader has a pre-wash mode too – you can either add a specialist stain remover or more detergent to a first soak, before the main wash. Your machine can even help you with manual stain-remover: this Samsung top-loader has a dedicated soaking area inside the machine so that you don’t have to haul wet clothes from the sink to the tub.  

5. Prevent stains from happening in your wash

Follow these few basic guidelines to keep your washing machine from marking clothes:

  • Avoid colour-bleed by separating white, dark, and coloured garments and wash these separately.
  • Check all pockets for items that could colour or damage clothes in the wash.
  • Use detergent according to the instructions on the packaging. Too much or too little detergent can leave white marks on your clothes.

Stain Removal Tips from Our Matic Moms

We have a panel of Matic Moms who love sharing their advice with us. Here are some of their top tips for removing stains:

“Always test the stain remover on inconspicuous area of your garment like the hem or inside seam. Also, if you are using any alkaline/acidic medium for stain removal, do not forget to neutralize it before washing the garment to avoid damage to the fibres”

“By adding salt with washing powder, you can remove stains in a better way.”

“Even sunshine has a bleaching effect to white clothes.”

“When using gravy dishes, make sure you’re wearing old dresses and not new clothes.”

“You can use lemon water and vinegar for strong stains before washing it. It will help to remove the stains.”

“Whether it is an oil or liquid stain, always use a tissue or a cloth on the stain and then treat it in the washing machine.”

“Stains like turmeric are very difficult to remove so the best way out of it is to keep it in sunlight for some time.”

“Use any powder to remove oil from cloths, rather than rubbing it with another clothes. Powder will absorb the oil.”

“Use lime juice to remove tough stains, then they can be washed normally in washing machine.”

Do you have favourite stain removing tips for the washing machine? Please share them with other Matic Mums below.