Out Darn Spot - Stain Fighting Solution

by Projectyourbest
2 Materials
4 Hours

Don't let spots and stains stand between you and your favorite pieces!

As a mom of three and avid thrift shopper, I come across my fair share of mystery marks. Often, a simple stain remover stick or spray is enough to bring a garment back to like-new condition. Sometimes, however, a stain is a bit more stubborn or a garment has overall dingyness that needs addressed.

My stain fighting solution is inspired by the more intense "laundry stripping" recipe you may have heard about for household textiles like sheets and towels. I reduced and removed some ingredients from that solution to make it just a bit more gentle for regular garments. As you'll see, it's not 100% effective for all stains, but it has saved many items from the donation or recycle pile for me!*

Here are the stains I've tackled with this solution:

Random yellow spots on a girls' Janie and Jack striped dress

Black mark and overall dirt on seat of The Jetset Diaries romper

Faint yellow watermark (?) on Vineyard Vines tennis skort

Spot on chest pocket of beachlunchlounge chambray dress

What you'll need:

  • your favorite spot treatment
  • a bathtub or bin large enough to submerge garments
  • 15 gallons very hot water
  • 1/4 c Borax detergent booster
  • 1/2 c Tide original powder detergent

How to:

  1. Spot treat stains with your favorite spray, gel or stick according to product directions
  2. Fill bathtub or bin with very hot water
  3. Add Borax and Tide powders during filling and mix until dissolved
  4. Add garments to solution and submerge
  5. Allow garments to soak at least 4 hours
  6. Drain water from tub and rinse garments with fresh water
  7. Squeeze excess water from garments and wash according to care tag instructions

Here are my results:

Yellow spots gone!

Black mark and dirt erased - nice and white again. (This was a Hand Wash item, I washed on "Hand Wash" cycle and hung to dry.)

Restored to crisp tennis white!

Spot slightly faded but still visible. (Perfect candidate for some hand embroidery!)

If you have a pile of stained or spotted items you weren't able to treat with regular methods, I hope you'll give this solution a try to see if they can be saved!

*Always follow care instructions for your garments and use this solution at your own risk! 

Suggested materials:
  • Borax detergent booster
  • Tide original powder detergent

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Join the conversation
4 of 8 comments
  • Tish Tish on Mar 01, 2021

    Any ideas for black coffee stains?

    • Projectyourbest Projectyourbest on Mar 02, 2021

      If it was black with no creamer, I'd say a regular stain treater should do well on this. Treat, wash and inspect before putting the item in the dryer. If a spot remains, give this soaking solution a try! Good luck!

  • Doreen Kennedy Doreen Kennedy on Apr 01, 2021

    Great stain fighter tips. I also use arm and hammer laundry booster mixed with borax and liquid dish detergent.

    • Projectyourbest Projectyourbest on Apr 02, 2021

      Thanks for sharing another effective mix, Doreen! Always great for folks to have multiple options so they can use what they have on hand or easily find the products in their local stores!