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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!

  • kmdogg

    Oh, I guess they call deodorant stains "protein" stains. I don't think so.

  • Joyce

    For the person inquiring about removing coffee stains from a white coffee pot, try using simple baking soda. Dampen the stained area and sprinkle with baking soda. Wet and squeeze out excess water from a paper towel or cloth and wipe/rub the stained area. This works like a charm for tea stains in pots and cups and will probably work for coffee stains as well. No harsh ammonia or chemicals needed!!



  • Zach Smith

    Protein-based stains can also be removed using your dishwashing liquid. Dissolve dishwashing liquid in warm water and soak your stained clothes in this mixture overnight. The next day, you can finish the cleaning process using your washing machine. Your clothes should be clean enough by this time.

  • Bonnie

    I beg to differ about using hot water on blood stains especially when it is fresh to fairly fresh. The hotter the better with dish or any detergent, even hand soap will work. Cold water will set it into the fabric. Think about when dying fabrics cold water helps to set the color in.

  • von

    dish washer detergent works great on protien stains.on clothes or in a hot tubs or showers make a spray for tubs and showers and for clothes use liquid and rub in ,let set a bit then wash.

  • Barbara

    I keep several rather different things in my laundry room to use on the laundry. Dawn is the best thing for oils (including motor oil). White vinegar is used for setting colors (new bright colors so everything wont be pink or blue) and for taking out odors. Cascade can be used on clothes that need lightening when bleach cannot be used. Hand Sanitizer can be used on inks, markers, and paints (indoor or outdoor house paint)...the alcohol is what works but using alone and it will evaporate too fast. Of course, peanut butter for gum...the peanut oil dissolves the gum, then use Dawn on the oil residue. 409 is good on mud and grass.

    Hydrogen Peroxide works on blood and other bodily proteins but be careful. My husband had some small stubborn blood spots on one of his favorite t-shirts that would not come out with OxyClean so I used the straight Hydrogen Peroxide on the spots. It did the job too well. There were only holes left in the shirt where the stains were. Oooops. Didnt know it would do that.

  • oliver

    What can I use to remove dog urine stain from cotton velvet sofa skirt, does anyone know?

  • 48 Comments / 3 Pages

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