Skip to main content

mud stainsGetty Images

Now that we've tackled
how to remove oil-based stains, it's time for part two in our stain removal series: Protein-based stains!

The most common protein stains include:

- Blood and other bodily fluids
- Dairy products (milk, cream, ice cream)
- Eggs
- Baby formula / baby food
- Mud
- Deodorant
- White glue

protein stains, glue, ice cream(Left) Corbis; (Right) Getty Images

The short trick to laundering protein-based stains is to avoid heat; hot water, ironing and/or dryers will cook the stain, setting it in place. Also, it's easier to remove protein stains when they're fresh (wet), rather than waiting until they dry.

For Lightly Soiled Protein-Based Stains:

Launder the garment and/or material as usual in an enzyme-based liquid laundry detergent*, such as Wisk or Tide (but avoid using enzyme-based detergents and stain removers on wool and silk fabrics). Be sure to check that the stain has been fully removed prior to drying, and if necessary, repeat the process several times.

For Heavily Soiled Protein-Based Stains:

Let material soak in cold water for 4-6 hours prior to treating the stain. After soaking, opt for a pretreatment detergent such as OxiClean or Spray 'N Wash and follow instructions accordingly. Next, launder as usual, paying special attention to stain removal prior to drying.

Eco-Friendly Method:

After blotting the excess stain and soaking in cold water for 4-6 hours, pre-treat the stain with hydrogen peroxide and hand-wash with cold water. Repeat as necessary before placing garment or material in dryer.

Got a better tip for removing protein-based stains? Tell us!

  • bryan

    Try using a bar of dove soap on blood stains. Rub in the soap and scrape with your nails or a soft brush. Let sit for a while and then rinse . Repeat as needed. Never use hot water.. Works well.

  • Carol

    For Blood stains, use hydrogen peroxide directly on the blood, and it's gone like magic. Then wash as usual. The sooner you use the peroxide, the quicker the blood comes out. It won't work on an old blood stain that's been washed and dried. Try it.

  • Becky

    Used to own a drapery workroom and learned from some elderly seamstresses that you can remove your own blood with your own saliva but cannot remove anyone else's blood with your saliva. Very helpful knowledge when you get a prickle of blood on something.

  • Simzee

    Four to six hours to remove stain? The SUN will do just as good if not better than any chemical. The sun is a natural bleach.

  • Christine

    I liked the article on how to get stains out of clothes, do you have any tip how to get the fireplace soot and smell out of fabrics and carpets?

  • Lu

    Hi, to remove odors, set small containers (plastic bowls) full of amonia around the house. Set them out of sight...let em evaporate, and refill as needed. Hope it helps you with sootie fireplace odors!

  • lori

    There is a product called "Odor Ban" it is fabulous! I know they have it at Wal Mart and Sams club for sure.

  • Bob Kraft

    Removing stains is all well and good. There is however, a hidden side effect: planned obsolescence. Detergents systematically wear down fabrics. The clothing industry supports the detergent industry because the more clothing is washed and dryed - in a drier - the quicker it wears out. The "lint" from your dryer is nothing other than fabrick that has been chemically shredded from the clothing as it was washed. Back to detergents, TIDE is the harshest. TIDE will remove virtually any stain from concrete. It cleans your garage floor or driveway better than any product offered by the auto parts stores. Never use it on your clothing! Rather, use the ecology friendly detergents from SEARS ROEBUCK and dry your wash on a clothes line. Your washed items will last twice as long.

  • Carol Wohlner

    You mentioned you had already given instructions on how to remove oil based stains but, unfortunately, I never saw that article. Any chance of repeating it? Thanks. CW

  • Kirsten Provost

    K2r spray works very well on oil stains. I've been using it for years to remove oily food stains. It's a real lifesaver when you're traveling or in a hurry and suddenly discover stains on a garmet.


    Carol, you can access the link to the previous article simply by clicking on the link in blue lettering above, where that article is mentioned in this article (just below the picture of the dirty clothing). JGRANT

  • Ernie Posner

    After getting no product recommendations from hardware stores on how to clean dark gray soot on painted white fireplace brick facing I tried oxyclean (35%), and now people think that I repainted the white fireplace.

  • tom

    Try using a Professional Dry Cleaner, thats what they do for a living.

  • Connie

    The best stuff in the world to clean is called Fels is a .99 cent bar of gets anything out with a little rubbing...even if the garmet has been dried no problem it comes out the next time.... I buy it for my husbands whole baseball team every year...our pants are white the whole year...

  • Karen

    Where can you get this bar soap?

  • ByFly

    Fels Naptha Soap seems to be litle known nowadays. My parents and thier parents used this product. Fels Naptha didn't go away, it seems to be little known because of little advertising of its benefit. It has been around since at least the eighteen hundreds and likely earlier. I still have it ready to use at the utility room wash basin. Dad used it every day to clean up oil and grease on his hands and arrms when he came home from work at the machine shop. Mom got all those grass stains and etc. out of our family clothing and other materials. It's an amazing product!

  • Chris

    oh I forgot about that soap , and I think I can get it at the grocery store , thank you I will try that

  • gabriella

    where do you find this product? Fels Naptha what brand is it? who makes it? hope you response to my questions this is very interesting.

  • joann

    about half the time i dont use detergents at all.....i prerinse in cold water and then wash in hot or warm water.....i pretreat stains with spray and wash......if i want a sweet odor, i add a little washing soda or works for me.......and my septic tank is not assaulted with detergents.....

  • toadsu2

    Dawn dish soap works on most food stains. Put directly on stain and rub then wash as usual in cold water.Reoeat until stain is gone. I have gotten old oil stains out this way also.


Follow Us

  • No features currently available.

  • More Hot Topics The Daily Fix  •  DIY Warrior  •  Home Ec  •  Handmade
    DIY Disaster Doctor  •  In the Workshop  •  Product Picks

    Home Improvement Videos