How to get Laundry Detergent Stains out of Clothes – An easy-to-follow Guide

Affiliate links
This post might contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through this link I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. But I will only recommend products and services I believe are of value for you. Thank you so much for your support.

Somehow it seems ironic that our detergent can leave blue or white stains on our laundry when we wash it. After all, we wash our clothes to get rid of stains, don’t we? Such stains are caused by detergent residues. But how to get detergent stains out of clothes?

Removing detergent stains does not have to be difficult at all. Often, simple home remedies that you already have at hand are all you need. Below, you’ll learn the most efficient ways to remove those annoying white stains from your clothes.

After that, I’ll give you a few practical tips for avoiding detergent stains on clothes, in general, the next time you do the laundry.

Why are there detergent spots in my laundry?

Before we look at how to remove detergent stains from clothes, we need to ask ourselves how such stains occur in the first place. Most often, textile detergent stains occur when the detergent does not entirely dissolve during the washing process.

As a result, residues remain on the clothing. Even when rinsed out, these residues are often not completely washed out. However, the detergent can also stay in the washing machine drum. This can also cause stains during other washing cycles.

If you discover white stains on dark clothing after the wash cycle, you should also ensure that they are detergent residues and not lime stains. In that case, you should first decalcify your washing machine.

How to get Detergent Stains out of clothes – A comprehensive step-by-step Guide

Remove detergent stains from clothes, white shirt and blue detergent

In the following, as previously mentioned, you will find the best ways to remove detergent stains from your clothes. First of all, we distinguish what kind of detergent the stains consist of – Liquid detergent, washing powder, or fabric softener.

How to get rid of detergent stains of Liquid laundry detergent

In this paragraph, we’ll look at the best ways to get the liquid detergent residue out of your laundry – this can be a regular liquid laundry detergent or tide pods stains in your clothes. The good news first of all, generally, the stains from the liquid detergent are easier to remove than washing powder stains.


An excellent way to remove annoying detergent stains without vinegar is to use a good old bar of (gall) soap. Just follow the instructions below and remove the stain in no time.

  1. Wet the piece of clothing a little on the part where the stain is located.
  2. Now rub the bar of soap briefly over the stain.
  3. Massage the soap into the stain with your fingers.
  4. Leave the soap for about 10 minutes.
  5. Now wash the clothes in the appropriate wash cycle for the item of clothing without (!) adding detergent.

vinegar solution

Vinegar is not only particularly suitable for removing water stains. It is a true all-rounder and can, therefore, also be used excellently for removing detergent stains.

  1. Fill a container with lukewarm water.
  2. Now add a few spoons of vinegar to the water and mix the two liquids.
  3. Dip the stain-covered area into the vinegar solution and let it soak for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Now wash the clothes in the appropriate wash cycle for the article of clothing without (!) additional detergent.

How to get laundry detergent powder stains out of clothes

Soak laundry, blue bowl with hands and laundry

The stains caused by detergent powder can sometimes be quite stubborn. In the following lines, you will find three practical ways to get rid of the detergent powder stains on your laundry.

Stain Remover

In most cases, you don’t even have to look for a complicated solution. Often, a conventional stain remover will do the trick. Maybe you even already have one of these at home.

  1. Read the instructions on the package and apply the stain remover in the way described there (usually, you put a little of it on the stain and let it work there).
  2. Now wash the clothes in the appropriate wash cycle for the item of clothing without (!) adding detergent.

Rubbing alcohol

A great solution for many to remove stains from clothes is rubbing alcohol. Surprisingly, the strong liquid can also remove various types of stains from clothing.

  1. Mix 3 parts water with one part rubbing alcohol.
  2. Dip a clean, soft cloth into the solution and apply it to the stain (do not rub it in).
  3. Let the solution soak for a few minutes.
  4. Then put the clothing item in the washing machine to wash it out on a light cycle (without adding detergent).

Dishwashing liquid Solution

Dishwashing liquid is not only great for removing stains from your dishes, but it can also help get rid of pesky stains from your clothes.

  1. Put a drop of dishwashing liquid on the stain and massage it in.
  2. Leave it on for about 10 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, you can mix a container with water and an extra shot of detergent.
  4. Then let the affected garment soak in the dishwashing-water solution for another 10 minutes.
  5. Now wash the garment in the appropriate wash cycle for the item without (!) adding detergent.

How to remove fabric softener stains

Not only your detergent but also your fabric softener can leave stains on your textiles. Read on to find out how to remove fabric softener stains from your laundry.

Stain Remover

To remove annoying fabric softener stains from your laundry, a regular stain remover is best. Use the one you already have at home, or get a new one (like this one from Amazon).

  1. Soak the stained laundry in lukewarm water. Depending on the degree of soiling, soak for about 10-60 minutes.
  2. Read the instructions on the package and apply the stain remover in the way described there (usually, you put a little bit of it onto the stain and let it work there).
  3. Now wash the clothes in the appropriate wash cycle for the item of clothing, without (!) the addition of detergent.

How to avoid detergent stains in your clothes

Remove detergent powder stains, woman despairing of big laundry mountain with many detergent bottles, yellow background
With these tips, this washing despair could be a thing of the past

Having already explored how to get (white) detergent stains out of clothes in the last part, in the rest of the article, we’ll talk about how you can avoid such stains once and for all during the wash cycle.


Detergent residues getting caught in clothes are usually caused by the fact that the detergent does not dissolve sufficiently in the water during the washing process. To avoid this, you should always use only the amount of detergent indicated on the package. This applies to liquid detergent and detergent powder at the same time.

More helps more is not the case here. On the contrary, if you put less laundry in the machine, you should also reduce the amount of detergent to avoid detergent residue. Particularly modern washing machines adjust the amount of water used to the volume of clothes in the machine.


If you use detergent powder and don’t want to do without it, it can help to dissolve the powder before the wash cycle. For this purpose, put the amount of detergent powder you want to use in a small cup or container. Then, add a bit of clear water and stir it well.

Stir or shake your washing solution until there are no more clumps in the mixture, and pour it into the detergent chamber of your machine. Now you can start the washing process as usual.


Just as too much detergent can lead to stains, too much laundry at once can also lead to stains on your clothes. This is because the water used for rinsing cannot reach all the spots equally well. So the more laundry there is in the machine, the harder it is to rinse your laundry.

Accordingly, it would help if you did not stuff your machine too full. As soon as you have problems getting the laundry into the machine or even closing the door, it is better to divide the laundry to be washed into two wash cycles, if possible.


You have adjusted your laundry and detergent quantity, and still, you find detergent stains on your laundry? Perhaps the detergent comes from previous wash cycles, lime, or other sediments in your machine.

Keeping your washing machine clean is therefore essential. To do this, you should first clean the washing machine thoroughly. Starting with the detergent chamber, but also the washing drum and especially the washing machine rubber should always be sufficiently cleaned.

heat things up a little

Thorough cleaning of the machine also includes parts not accessible by hand. We are talking about water pipes and the like. Detergent residues, lime, and other dirt can get caught here and cause stains.

To give your washing machine a good rinse and remove all residues, you should (regularly) use your washing machine at hot temperatures.

The easiest way is to run a hot washing cycle. Set your machine to at least 60°C/130°F, but putting it to the boil wash cycle is even better. Run the machine without laundry and detergent. Adding lime remover or a few sips of vinegar in the detergent chamber will do the job even more efficiently.


If your washing machine has already been thoroughly cleaned and you are using adjusted amounts of laundry and detergent and still finding stains, it may be that your detergent is the problem. If you use powder detergent, it could be helpful to switch to liquid detergent.

In most cases, it is already enough to dissolve the powder in water before the wash cycle, as explained earlier. To save yourself this step, you can likewise switch to liquid detergent. Since it is already a liquid, it is usually easier to wash out of the laundry without leaving annoying stains.


If the stains on your laundry are caused by fabric softener, it might be a good time to eliminate fabric softener completely from your laundry routine. Instead, you could use a fabric softener alternative to make your laundry smell nice.

If you don’t want to give up the great-smelling fabric softener altogether, you can just as easily reduce the amount of fabric softener you use instead. Sometimes, you can notice a big difference even by simply using smaller amounts of it.


A final step to avoid the white or blue stains on your clothes after washing is to make sure that your laundry is rinsed well. If you regularly use only the short wash cycle, for example, your laundry may not be rinsed well enough.

The longer the wash cycle, the more time the machine has to rinse the detergent out of the laundry. The number of revolutions can also play a role here. Many modern machines offer the possibility to adjust and personalize the wash cycle length.

It may be worth trying a longer wash cycle (if the washing instructions of your textiles allow it) to remove the entire detergent from the clothes.

How to get detergent stains out of clothes pin
5/5 - (1 vote)

Related Posts

Leave a Comment