How to Remove Set-In Stains from Workwear

No matter what the job is, if you make a living with your hands, you’re probably used to the occasional stain on your workwear. If it’s been a while since that stain set in, don’t think you have to sacrifice your professional look. There are several methods, mostly using common items found in the kitchen, to help break down old stains so they can be washed away.

Keep reading to learn how you can remove set-in stains on your workwear and clothing using household products:

Removing Set-In Stains with White Vinegar

If you like to cook or bake in your spare time, you’ll most likely have this in your cupboard. Plain white vinegar is great for clearing up a variety of old stains, including grass, blood, and food. If your stain is extra stubborn, you have the option of adding undiluted laundry detergent, too. Read on to see how to do it:


• White vinegar
• Liquid laundry detergent (optional)


1. Apply white vinegar directly to the stain, let it soak in for a few minutes (don’t let it dry).
2. Wash the garment in your machine using the hottest water the fabric can tolerate.
3. Check to see if the stain is gone, complete the steps below if not.
4. Apply vinegar to the stain, then apply a good amount of liquid laundry detergent directly to the stain.
5. Allow the vinegar and laundry detergent to soak in completely (don’t let it dry).
6. Wash as usual.

7. Let air dry.
8. If the stain persists, you can try this method again or use one of the other methods below.

Removing Old Stains with White Vinegar and Salt

If you have clothing with a persistent smell and stain after washing, this method should work for you. White vinegar and coarse salt also works well at removing old sweat stains. Coarse salt is recommended for its abrasiveness, but if none is available, regular table salt will work. It's a very simple process:


• Coarse salt
• White vinegar


1. Apply white vinegar to the area, let it soak in for a couple minutes.
2. Pour salt onto the stained area, then work it in with your fingers.
3. Put the garment in the sun and let it air dry.
4. Wash as usual.
5. Check to see if the stain's gone, repeat the steps if not.

Removing Old Stains with Dish Soap

Believe it or not, the dish soap you use to clean those dishes everyday can also be used to remove set in stains from your clothes. Ideally, you should use grease-fighting dish soap, but really any dish soap will do as long as it doesn’t have any extras, like lotion or aloe. Here’s how it’s done:


• Liquid dish soap, such as Dawn
• Toothbrush
• Paper towels


1. Put dish soap straight onto the stain.

2. Using a toothbrush to scrub the soap until it lathers up.
3. Let the soap work its anti-grease magic for an hour.
4. Using the paper towel, wipe off whatever lather remains (prevents sud buildup in the wash).
5. Wash the garment
6. Let it air-dry.

Removing Old Stains with Soda

It turns out that Coca-Cola is good for more than just drinking. This delicious pop can also be used to attack old stains in your workwear and clothing. This method works especially well with sturdy work clothes that have multiple stains because you don't have to bother tending to each individual stain. Here’s how to do it:


• 2 liters of Coca Cola
• Bucket
• Water
• Laundry soap


1. Put your clothes in a bucket.
2. Add 2 liters of Coca-Cola.
3. Add enough water to cover the clothes.
4. Allow to soak overnight.
5. Wash as usual with laundry soap.
6. Let the clothes air-dry.

Removing Old Stains with Cornstarch

Cornstarch is another kitchen pantry product that's surprisingly effective at getting out stains. It works by soaking up what’s left of the grease or oil and then the vinegar takes care of the rest. Follow the steps below:


• Cornstarch
• White vinegar
• Paper towel


1. Apply a thick coat of corn starch over the whole stain.
2. Allow it to soak up the stain for about 15 minutes.
3. Shake off the excess cornstarch.
4. Rub any leftover stain with a paper towel dipped in white vinegar.
5. Wash in the machine using the hottest water your garment can take.
6. After the wash, let the garment air-dry to be sure the stain is gone.

Removing Old Stains with Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap

This bar of laundry soap is cheap (usually under three dollars) and effective at treating stains. First made in 1893, Fels-Naptha soap can be purchased at places like Wal-Mart and Amazon. This soap fights stains by working to break them down before they go in the wash. Here’s how to use it:


• Fels-Naptha Soap
• Water
• Toothbrush


1. If the stain is dry, wet it with a little tap water (the temperature doesn't matter).
2. Wet the bar of soap.
3. Rub the soap on the stain.
4. Scrub it with a toothbrush.

5. Wash as usual.
6. Let air-dry.

If you’ve been putting off wearing your favorite work shirt because of an old stain you just can’t seem to get out, you’re in luck. With the above methods, stains old and new don’t stand a chance. Rifle through your kitchen for a few common items, set aside a little bit of time, and before you know it, you’ll be back in your favorite work shirt minus the stains. But what if your favorite work shirt couldn’t actually be stained?

Oil-Repellent Fabric Means Your Favorite Workwear Always Looks Good

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could work hard without worrying about staining your nice workwear? With OilBlok Technology from Red Kap, your new favorite work shirts will have the power to repel the toughest garage fluids, including used oil, so don’t have to waste time deep-cleaning your apparel.

Available in a variety of styles and colors, Red Kap clothing will take your whole crew's appearance to a new level of professionalism. You and your coworkers can relax knowing no matter how tough the job is, your workwear will come out clean.