Posted on: January 13, 2009 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 3

When it comes to washing clothes and various laundry chores, nothing is more useful than laundry detergent. It can fight and take out the most annoying stains, dirt and grime in an instant. Laundry detergent, whether granular solid, powdered or liquid, works well to eliminate unpleasant fabric problems. It can also be a cleaning substitute for various household tasks, like cleaning floors and surfaces. It’s a very versatile and dependable product.

Unfortunately, there are instances when the laundry detergent’s purpose backfires. Instead of cleaning fabric, it becomes the culprit that causes the stain. Many homeowners encounter this dilemma. They put in a load of clothes in the washer, sprinkle some detergent all over it, then let the clothes spin around for a few minutes. When they come out, there are nasty-loooking white blotches all over their supposedly freshly-laundered clothes.

Seeing laundry detergent stains is annoying, since you feel as if the product you “trusted” to clean your stuff, became the offender. Don’t fret about this too much, though. There are several easy solutions that can help you say goodbye to those unpleasant detergent stains. Here are some suggestions you can try.

The Vinegar Solution

Among the many all-around household products you can find on your kitchen shelves, vinegar is perhaps one of the most useful and most reliable. Vinegar works well either for cleaning, deodorizing or washing away stains. It can also dissolve soap residues, which explains why it works great when removing stains caused by detergent on clothes. Here’s how.

First, rub the affected area with a bar of soap and wash it again. Then, soak the fabric in undiluted white vinegar for at least 15 minutes, until the spots disappear. Don’t leave the clothes to soak for longer than 30 minutes, though. When you see the stains are gone, you can rinse out the fabric, like before. Don ‘t worry about the strong vinegar scent, since it’ll all wash out.

Liquid Dish Detergent

Laundry detergent may cause you unpleasant problems, but you’ll be surprised to know that the detergent you use for washing dishes can quickly solve this dilemma. Liquid dish detergent has a different formulation that laundry detergent, and it can easily remove the annoying stains. All you need to do is wet the affected areas and rub them with a small drop of liquid dish detergent. The type designed to remove grease is more preferable. Rub using small, but vigorous strokes, until you see the stain slowly coming out. If the stain doesn’t come off with the first application, repeat it again, adding in more detergent. When you see that no more stain remains, wash the fabric under cold water.

The Detergent-Softener Combo Is A No-No

Using detergent and softener is a must for many people. That way, they clean their clothes and soften the fabric at the same time. Both of these products are effective, yet when they’re combined and used for a long period of time, they can cause the irritating white streaks you hate so much. This is because softener is positively charged, while detergent is negatively charged. When combined, they cause the streaks to form.

It’s easy to solve this problem: use detergent first, and save the softener for for the last rinse. This will allow the detergent to work on the clothes, without having to mix with the softener. You’ll still get the soft, comfy fabric outcome you want. Another thing you should remember is do not let the softener come in direct contact with the cloth, since this might make the splotches a lot worse. Dilute the softener with water first, before allowing it to touch the clothes.

You can also completely do without the softener. Fabric softener is meant for tough fabrics, like denim, that feel scratchy and uncomfortable on the skin when they’re not softened. On the other hand, there are some fabrics that can do well without the softener, like cotton or chiffon, for example.


There is an important step many people miss out when doing the laundry. They carelessly fill the washer with water, add the clothes, shake some detergent over it, then leave the clothes to spin. When they come back, they notice white stains all over their clothes, caused by white detergent clumps that formed. What they don’t know is that this can be resolved by a very simple tactic: agitating the water and detergent, before adding the clothes. Agitating means stirring up the water, in order for the detergent mixed in it to dissolve. If the detergent is properly dissolved, no white clumps are present, meaning there will be less white stains on the fabrics when you put them in.

To agitate, add the detergent while the machine is filling. You can also use your hand to help mix up detergent and water. When you see that the detergent has properly dissolve, you can add the clothes.

Another tip: Make sure you’re using enough or more than enough water. If the amount of water is not enough for the detergent to dissolve in, the chances of clumps building up become higher. Adding plenty of water helps you avoid this.

Switch To Liquid Detergent

If you’re using solid or powdered detergent every time you laundry your clothes, you might often encounter the unpleasant looking white streaks on your fabrics. The problem may lie with your detergent, because no matter how you agitate it, it doesn’t dissolve properly. To solve this, opt for liquid detergent. Compared to powdered detergent, this dissolves faster in water.

Removing Detergent Stains From Carpet

Because laundry detergent is an all-around item, fabrics and clothes aren’t the only ones usually stained by it, but also upholstery and carpets. Laundry detergent can clean these, but when not rinsed out properly, can result in white stains. Here’s how to remove them:



  1. Instead of damping it, sprinkle water all over the stain.
  2. Using the old rug, rub the detergent mark vigorously, until all the soapy substance froths out.
  3. Press hard on the area with a dish cloth or a clean muslin, allowing the dampness to be absorbed. Repeat this process, if needed.
  4. Wipe the area using a clean cloth, but don’t froth the area.

It’s unnerving when the very material that’s suppose to help solve the problem backfires, and causes an even worse dilemma, like laundry detergent stains. You can either keep complaining about this, or you can try the tactics above to get rid of the marks. As long as you remember these, you’ll never have to worry about unpleasant laundry stains again.

Click here for more information on how to get rid of laundry detergent stains.

3 People reacted on this

  1. I use liquid detergent and make sure to mix it all in with more than enough water before adding my clothes. I continuiously get white streaks on dark colored clothing when the items dry. I even started sending the clothes through a 2nd cycle with just water – that didn’t help. Does anyone have ideas on how to stop this from happening? The water used is well water – does something need to be added to the water because of this?

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