Removing Stains from Jeans Without Dry Cleaning

After a hard day’s work, the most common question is: How do I get these stains off my jeans? Denim gets stained every day. Whether it’s from desk salads, red wine spilled on your lap or grass stains after a picnic. Before you run to the dry-cleaner (and pay the price), read this. There’s a simple D.I.Y. fix for every denim stain. fix. Continue reading for expert advice on how you can remove any stains from your jeans.

Tomato Based Stains

This handy tip will help you remove tomato-based stains on denim fabrics, whether spaghetti sauce has been splashed onto your jeans or a noodle that was sauced up fell into your lap.

  • Use a knife or spoon to remove any tomato sauce that may have accumulated on the surface of the jeans.
  • Use undiluted white vinegar to soak up the stain
  • Allow it to soak for five minutes.
  • Launder jeans in cold water as normal. Tomatoes are no match for the jeans.

Blood Stains

Although it can be hard to remove blood from denim, there is still hope, if you act fast.

To remove fresh stains:

  • Use a washcloth that has been soaked in cold water to wipe the area.
  • Repeat the process until the stain is removed.
  • When the cloth is clean, you’ll know that it has been lifted.
  • To remove excess moisture, press the affected area with a dry paper towel.
  • Wash jeans as normal with mild detergent in cold water. Then hang them to dry

Pour undiluted white vinegar directly on the affected area if that does not work:

  • Allow it to soak for 10 minutes and then wipe off with paper towels.
  • Repeat until the paper towel is clean
  • As usual, wash jeans in cold water with mild detergent. Then hang them to dry.

Use a sponge that has been soaked in cold, lukewarm water to completely saturate any blood stains:

  • Sprinkle regular table salt on the spot.
  • Use an old toothbrush, or a clean and dry nail brush, to scrub salt into the fabric.
  • Repeat brushing and rinsing the toothbrush with cold water.
  • Once you have felt the stain lifting, wash the jeans as normal.

For permanent stains:

  • Mix some mild liquid detergent with cold water
  • Use a damp sponge to wipe the solution onto the stain. Rinse the sponge, and repeat as necessary.
  • You can also use the same method if the stain persists. Dilute ammonia in a little cold water, and then apply it to the stain.
  • After treating jeans, rinse them and then wash as usual.


Never use warm or hot water to remove blood stains from denim. This can set the stain. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide on denim to remove stains. You could damage the fabric.

Grass Stains

Vinegar, a mild acid, is effective in removing grass stains on most denim fabrics.

To remove fresh stains:

  • To remove stains, soak a sponge in white vinegar undiluted and lightly dab on the stain.
  • Repeat the treatment if necessary. Press the area with paper towels to see if any other stains appear.
  • Use the cold water setting on the washer to wash your jeans
  • Hang the jeans to drip-dry.

For large stains:

  • Overnight soak your jeans in a solution consisting of three parts vinegar and one part water.
  • Assure that the solution will cover all of them
  • The jeans can be washed in the morning by removing excess moisture.

For set in stains:

  • Making a paste with baking soda and vinegar
  • Brush the paste onto the stain with an old toothbrush, and scrub to remove it.
  • Repeat brushing and rinsing the toothbrush with cold water.
  • Once you have removed the paste from the denim fabric, wash jeans as normal.

Try this trick if you have old jeans that have grass stains and they are not responding to the methods above, or if the pair of jeans you bought at a vintage store has some grass marks: Mix a quart warm water with 3 tablespoons white vinegar, 2 tablespoons liquid detergent, and a tablespoon of white wine. Rub the solution on the denim with a washcloth or sponge. Let the solution sit for 10 mins, then wipe dry before washing denim.

Hair Dye Stains

Do you dye your hair at your home and then dye your jeans? Hair dye can permanently stain fabric. However, if you take action within 24 hours you can save the garment.

  • Pour white vinegar undiluted (the household type) directly on the stained area.
  • Use the cold water setting to wash jeans after letting them sit for one minute.
  • You can add up to two cups of vinegar directly into the washing cycle for major stains.

Red Wine Stains

Remove your jeans as soon as you see the wine stains on them. Soak the area in very warm tapwater.

  • Let the table salt stand on the stain for 5 minutes.
  • Rinse the area with cold water and brush away the salt.
  • Press gently on the paper towel to remove any remaining wine stains.
  • Do not rinse and wash immediately.

To remove fresh stains:

  • Baking soda will absorb any staining liquid.
  • Stand for at least one minute.
  • Pour boiling water into a kettle, spread the stained fabric on a large bowl and pour the boiling water over the stain
  • After washing, rinse with cool water.

If that doesn’t help:

  • Use undiluted white vinegar to saturate the surface.
  • Rinse with ice water after letting stand for five minutes.
  • Repeat until stain appears to have been removed. You can check this by pressing lightly a paper towel on the affected area.
  • Wash jeans immediately

Avoid using powdered or bar soaps on wine stains. They can cause the stains to become permanent.

Milk Stains

This handy laundry tip will help you remove milk spilled on your jeans.

To remove fresh stains:

  • Fill a sink with cold water or a bucket and soak the stain for 10 minutes.
  • Launder the jeans as usual, removing any excess moisture.

For set in stains:

  • Scrape any crusty bits off the fabric using the edge of a wooden spoon
  • Use a mild liquid detergent to clean the stain. Rub it in with your fingertips.
  • Fill the sink or bucket up with cool water, and soak your jeans for 30 minutes.
  • Launder as normal after wringing out excess moisture


Science Photo Library/ Instagram

Spilled coffee on your favorite denim jeans? If you see a stain immediately, use lukewarm soaking water to remove it.

To remove fresh stains:

  • Use a sponge and dab full-strength soap on the stain.
  • Laundering in hot water
  • Hang on to your drips

Avoid using powdered or bar soap on stains like red wine.

Ink Stains

Rub alcohol on a white, clean washcloth to remove ink stains.

  • Use a soft cloth to wipe the stain repeatedly.
  • After the stain is lifted, dab a little mild liquid detergent on the area.
  • Launder jeans as normal, using cool water to rinse.

You can also use a sponge or washcloth dipped in milk to gently wipe away the denim stained with ink. Repeat the process until the stain disappears. Then, throw the jeans into the washing machine.

Nail Polish Stains

If you act quickly, you may be able to remove some nail enamels.

To remove fresh stains:

  • Turn your jeans inside-out and place a thick layer between your jeans and the work surface.
  • To remove the stain, use a cotton ball saturated in nail polish remover.
  • Paper towels should be replaced as necessary when stained by denim polish.
  • Repeat the process until you see the stain disappear.
  • Launder the area as usual and rinse it well with cold water

Grease Stains

Grease from your favorite French fry restaurant can ruin a brand new pair of jeans. The fix is easy. It is important to treat the stain as soon as possible before it sets into the fabric.

To remove fresh stains:

  • Use a toothbrush and some baking soda to scrub it off. You’ll see the stain begin to fade.
  • If the stain persists, apply dish detergent, scrub with a brush, and let it sit 10 minutes.
  • Normal cycle wash

Water Based Liquid Foundation Stains

When the pump breaks, liquid foundation can get messy. Don’t worry if your favorite face base accidentally splatters on your jeans.

  • Carina Chaz, founder of Dedcool, told Byrdie that for liquid foundations containing water you should isolate the stain as quickly as possible and then pour liquid laundry detergent on it. This allows the detergent to work as effectively as possible by doing this as soon as you can.
  • Chaz suggests that after you have covered the stain with water, wet the area and rub it together. If the stain is very bad, use a brush that has harder bristles.
  • You’ll need to give the detergent time to do its job. Chaz recommends that you soak the garment in lukewarm tepid water for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • After your garment has been soaked for a while, add an extra dollop to the wash.
  • Chaz suggests air drying your garments rather than placing them in the dryer.

Oil Based Foundation Stains

There are also oil-based products to consider. If you accidentally spill a bit of Jones Road What The Foundation on your jeans, follow these steps.

I must confess that it can be difficult to remove oil-based foundation from jeans. Alicia Sokolowski is the president and CEO of AspenClean which produces eco-friendly dish soap and laundry detergent. There are some tricks that you can use.

Sokolowski advises, “You need to act fast.” The faster you remove the stain, your chances for success are better. Blot excess foundation using a microfiber cloth. Do not scrub!

  • Cover the stain with cornstarch. It will absorb the oil. “Leave it on for 15-30 minutes at least to allow it to do its work.”
  • “Clean, rinse, and apply a small quantity of natural dishwashing soap to the stain.” Gently rub together the fabric.”
  • Rinse the area with cold, not hot water. “Never use hot water, as it may set the stain.”
  • Then, use your favorite laundry detergent to wash the jeans. Sokolowski prefers natural detergents such as AspenClean’s EWG Verified Laundry Cleaner. She says to always check the label of your jeans.
  • Before drying your jeans, make sure that the stain has been completely removed. The heat from the dryer will set the stain, so it is important to remove the stain completely before drying.

Sokolowski adds, “You can also use salt and lemon juice as a pre-treatment.” Pour them on the stain prior to using dish soap. Lemon’s acidity can help to break down oils. Let it sit a few moments. Rub and rinse.” Persistence is important because oil-based foundations are tough. If the stain persists, either repeat these steps or contact a dry cleaner.

Salad Dressing Stains

Nothing is sadder than an unhappy desk salad, except if it falls on your lap. You can get greasy stains on your jeans and smell like lemon vinaigrette with garlic. Here are some handy tricks and tips.

  • Sokolowski advises: “First, lightly blot any excess salad dressing using a microfiber cloth.” “Do not rub it, as this could cause the stain to penetrate deeper into the fabric.”
  • She adds, “Then apply a small amount liquid dish soap or white vinegar and some water directly to the stain.” You can also apply a paste made of baking soda and diluted water to the stain.
  • Next, rub the fabric gently together. This will help the baking soda absorb the oil and lift it.
  • Rinse with cold water the area that has been stained. She continues, “This will remove soap, vinegar or other cleaning agents.”
  • Use your favorite laundry detergent to wash the jeans. Look at the label of your jeans to see if there are any special instructions.
  • Make sure the stain has been completely removed before drying your jeans. Repeat if needed.

How To Wash & Dry Stain Jeans

Sokolowski recommends using the delicate or gentle cycle in your washing machine to wash jeans. This cycle is usually milder and protects the fabric from excessive wear, particularly denim. Choose cold water.”

Sokolowski recommends air drying whenever possible. She suggests drying jeans in the shade or on a clothesline. Last thing: I wouldn’t recommend using a tumble dryer for stretch denim as it could affect the elasticity.

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