Removing Fabric Softener Stains From Your Clothes Efficiently

Published March 31, 2021
Softener in washing machine

You pull your favorite shirt out of the dryer only to notice oily stains. You've been the victim of fabric softener stains. Learn why your beloved fabric softener is staining your clothing and how to get fabric softener stains out of clothes with ease. Get tips for preventing fabric softener stains from happening in the first place.

How to Remove Fabric Softener Stains

Did you pull your clothes out of the dryer only to find little dark spots on them? Chances are you are dealing with a fabric softener stain. Actually, instead of a stain, this is fabric softener "residue" left on your clothing. Typically, fabric softeners leave a coat to make the laundry soft. However, when something goes wrong in the process, you get fabric softener residue spots that look like oily stains. Getting fabric softener residue out of your clothing is just a matter of breaking it up. To do that, you need a few supplies from your laundry arsenal.

How to Remove a Fabric Softener Stain With Vinegar

One of the best scenarios for how to get fabric softener stains out of clothes is noticing them before you throw your clothes in the dryer. In this instance, you don't want to put them in the dryer. Instead, you are going to rewash them. But rather than laundry detergent, you'll add the powerful stain-fighting power of white vinegar.

  1. Use a toothbrush to brush off any excess fabric softener.
  2. Use hot water to rinse the fabric softener stain on the clothing. (Pay attention to the care label to ensure hot water is okay to use.)
  3. Add a few drops of laundry detergent or use bar soap and work at the oily area.
  4. Rinse the detergent with warm water.
  5. Put the clothing in the washer using the hottest setting recommended.
  6. Add 1 cup of white vinegar for detergent.
  7. Run the washer for a full cycle.
  8. Check the clothing before drying.

How to Remove Stubborn Fabric Softener Stains

When you've got a stubborn stain that isn't affected by white vinegar, it's time to grab the Dawn. Dawn dish soap is designed to fight oil and grease, so it works well to break down the fabric softener.

  1. Take the toothbrush and brush the area.
  2. Wet the area with warm water.
  3. Work Dawn into the fabric softener-stained area with your fingers.
  4. Allow the garment to soak in warm water and a few drops of Dawn for an hour or two.
  5. Rinse the garment.
  6. Follow the instructions for washing with vinegar.
  7. Check before drying the garment.

Remove Fabric Softener Stains From Dry Clothes

More often than not, you aren't going to find the fabric softener stains until the clothing has gone through the dryer. While drying the fabric softener residue makes it more difficult to remove, it's not impossible. Rather than throw them in the trash, reach for the oxygen-based bleach.

  1. Fill a tub or sink with warm water.
  2. Add the recommended amount of oxygenated bleach.
  3. Soak the clothing for 3-4 hours. Overnight is even better.
  4. Wash using the hottest setting recommended for the fabric.
  5. Do not add detergent or softener.
  6. Check the stains before drying.

How to Avoid Fabric Softener Stains

Softener stains happen to the best of us. But life is busy. Who wants to spend their precious time getting rid of fabric softener residue? Therefore, to avoid wasting time, think about prevention by following these quick tips.

  • Dilute your fabric softener with equal parts water.
  • Never pour fabric softener on clothes.
  • Use a detergent with a fabric softener built-in.
  • Clean your fabric softener dispenser.
  • Shake up your fabric softener. It can separate over time.
  • Don't overload the washer. This makes it harder for fabric softener and detergent to disperse.
  • Put dryer sheets in the dryer on top of the clothes and dry them immediately.
  • Substitute with a natural fabric softener like white vinegar.
Diluting softener

Fabric Softener Stains - No Problem!

Washing laundry can seem like a never-ending battle. Well, it is a never-ending battle unless you are a nudist. Don't give yourself more work by succumbing to fabric softener stains. Use these simple tricks to get your clothing stain-free and smelling great. Next, get tips for removing detergent stains.

Removing Fabric Softener Stains From Your Clothes Efficiently