dried white stains

How to Get White Stains Out of Clothes

Got a load of white stains on your clothes and need to get rid of them? You’ve come to the right place.

White stains on clothes are unsightly. They’re extremely obvious on certain coloured garments, and they can make the classiest of outfits look drab.

So, how do you remove the blemishes from your attire before they wreak even more havoc?

Keep on reading to find out how you remove white stains from your laundry!


What Causes White Stains on Clothes?

There are several reasons why clothes get covered in white stains. And in some cases, there are multiple factors at play at once.

It’s also worth knowing why you have white stains on your laundry, so you can put plans in place to mitigate the problem in the future.


shirt with white deodorant stains

Deodorant often leaves white stains on clothes, and the stains are often quite concentrated and in an obvious spot! As you might expect, the more you spray the one spot with deodorant, the worse the mark gets too.

To prevent this issue, you could use a deodorant that won’t leave stains, and/or you could spray yourself, wait for the deodorant to dry, and then get dressed.

It’s also worth washing your clothes once you’ve worn them, so you don’t get too much deodorant build-up in one area.


Hard water residue

One of the main culprits when it comes to white stains on clothes is hard water. Hard water looks like regular water, but it contains a high concentration of minerals, like calcium.

When clothes are washed in hard water, sometimes these mineral deposits don’t wash off laundry properly, and they leave a white residue on the clothes.

To prevent this kind of problem, you could use a water softener. And/or you could add a cup of white vinegar to your washer during the rinse cycle. The vinegar will help to dissolve the mineral deposits that have been left behind.

jeans with white stains


Excess detergent and fabric softener

Using too much detergent or fabric softener may seem like a great idea, but it absolutely isn’t!

In fact, if you use too much detergent in a washer, a lot of the detergent doesn’t get rinsed off your laundry, and you end up with streaky white residue all over your clothes. And the same thing happens with fabric softener!

In addition to this, powdered detergent doesn’t always wash off clothes properly and can leave a white residue.

This is especially true if you overload your washer’s drum and the clothes haven’t got enough room to spin around in the appliance.

To prevent such a problem, you should adhere to the measurements that are stipulated on the packaging of the detergent and fabric softener you plan on using.


Not rinsing laundry effectively

If you don’t rinse your laundry properly it can be plagued by detergent and fabric softener, and this can leave white stains on the laundry.

This problem can also occur if you overfill your washer, and there physically isn’t enough room for your laundry to be agitated and rinsed effectively.

To prevent this from happening, you can run an extra rinse cycle. And you should also add the correct amount of dirty washing to your washer’s drum.


A dirty detergent drawer

Cleaning the Detergent Drawer

If you don’t maintain your detergent drawer, and you leave it to get clogged up with gunk, this grime will eventually find its way onto your laundry and could stain it.

Also, if you don’t clean your detergent drawer effectively, you could be adding too much detergent/fabric softener to the washer each time you fill it up.

To prevent this, you should clean the detergent drawer regularly.


How to Remove White Stains from Clothes

Tips to consider before treating an item of clothing:

  • Check the care label on your item to see how it should be cared for and adhere to this advice.
  • Always test your chosen cleaning method before you use it to treat a garment.
  • Dry an item when you know the stains have gone as heat can set the marks!
  • Wear gloves when treating your clothing.

Let’s move on to the all-important part: removing the white streaks from your washing.

white stains on clothes


Method 1: Rub the white marks with a cloth

Note: This method is suitable for coloured and black clothes.

Steps to follow:

  1. Grab a neutral-coloured cloth.
  2. Gently rub the white stains with the cloth until the stains start to disappear.
  3. Wash the item as normal, and add a dose of colour-enhancing detergent to the washer to help lock in the colour of your item.


Method 2: Lemon juice and water

lemon juice and water

Note: This method is only suitable for white coloured clothes.

Steps to follow:

  1. Mix equal parts of lemon juice and water into the white stains on your clothes.
  2. Leave the garment in sunlight for an hour – the natural bleaching effect of the lemon juice, plus the sun will help to remove the stains.
  3. Rinse the item under the tap.
  4. Launder the item as normal.


Method 3: White vinegar

Note: This method can be used on both white, coloured and black clothes. It is advised to do a patch test first.

Steps to follow:

  1. Fill a shallow dish with white vinegar.
  2. Soak the white stains in the white vinegar for an hour.
  3. Grab an old, soft toothbrush and start to brush the stains very gently.
  4. Brush the stains for a few minutes.
  5. Launder the item with biological detergent.


Method 4: Bicarbonate of soda

Note: This method can be used on white, coloured and black clothes.

Steps to follow:

  1. In a bowl mix three parts of bicarbonate of soda with one part of water.
  2. A paste should start to form. If it doesn’t try adding a little more water/bicarb.
  3. Massage the paste into the stains with your fingers.
  4. Wait two hours (longer for more stubborn stains).
  5. Rinse the item clean.
  6. Launder the garment as normal.

remove white stains with vinegar and baking soda


Method 5: White vinegar and bicarbonate of soda

Note: This method can be used on both white, coloured and black clothes clothes.

Steps to follow:

  1. In a bowl mix half a cup of white vinegar and half a cup of bicarb.
  2. Mix the two ingredients until you get a paste.
  3. Spread the paste over the white stains.
  4. Wait half an hour (longer for tougher stains).
  5. Gently brush the stained areas with a soft toothbrush.
  6. Rinse the item clean under the tap.
  7. Launder the item as normal.


Method 6: Aspirin

remove white stains with aspirin

Note: This method is only suitable for white coloured clothes. And if you are allergic to aspirin, skip this method.

Steps to follow:

  1. Crush three or four aspirin tablets in a bowl.
  2. Add a little water to the crushed tablets, so you start to get a paste-like consistency.
  3. Spread the paste over the white stains.
  4. Wait about two hours.
  5. Launder the time of clothing in the hottest wash allowed for the material.

Tip: You can also soak stained laundry in a bucket that’s been filled with two litres of hot water and five aspirin tablets for about four to six hours.


Method 7: Hydrogen peroxide

remove white stains with hydrogen peroxide

Note: This method is only suitable for white coloured clothes.

Steps to follow:

  1. Pop some hydrogen peroxide in a shallow bowl.
  2. Pop an old towel over the surface you plan on using.
  3. Lay your garment flat on the covered surface.
  4. Grab a clean white cloth and dip it into the hydrogen peroxide.
  5. Wring out the excess liquid.
  6. Blot the stains with the solution.
  7. Wait half an hour.
  8. Rinse the garment under the tap.
  9. Launder the item of clothing as normal.


Method 8: Specialised stain remover

remove white stains with stain remover

There are multiple stain removers that can help you remove white stains from laundry.

You can also buy specialist stain removers that have been designed to combat certain white stains, like those caused by deodorant.

However, you should keep in mind that off-the-shelf stain removers often get mixed reviews.

Sometimes stain remover products have a good effect, but depending on the nature of the white stain and how stubborn it is, there are times when these products have little to no effect on the stains in question.

Here’s a product to get you started:

  • For white and colourful garments that have been stained by deodorant, you can try Deo-Go Deodorant & Antiperspirant Stain Remover. This product is simple to use (you just spray the stained area, rub the patch, and wait), it’s easy to apply because it comes with a sprayable nozzle, and it can be used on tougher deodorant-stained areas.