How to get a stain out of a white shirt – with vinegar, lemon and stain remover

Looking to learn how to get a stain out of a white shirt? We show you how to remove stains from white clothes using vinegar, lemon and stain remover effectively.

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If you're needing to learn how to get a stain out of a white shirt, and stat, you've come to the right place.

There's nothing worse than a big ol' stain on a crisp and pristine white shirt. What about a white top and ketchup... or white jeans with grass stains... or how about blue ink on a white shirt? Stains look so much worse when on white clothes...

As with any stain removal, it can be tricky to get rid of a stain if you leave it to dry, especially if you're dealing with a stain on a white garment.

Experts at Bosch explain, 'If there’s a stain, there’s almost always a remedy out there for your white clothes. It’s best to act fast and get working at the earliest opportunity and be sure to check the wash care label on your clothing before you get started.'

Luckily, there are a few different remedies to try before having to toss your beloved white garment. 

Although there are no guarantees these will work for the stain you're dealing with, they are more than worth a go.

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How to get a stain out of a white shirt with vinegar

There's so many ways to use vinegar for cleansing your home and its uses don't stop there. You can use this store cupboard staple to remove deodorant stains from shirts and even blood stains too.

Here's how to use it effectively to remove a multitude of stains:

  • Pour white vinegar directly onto the stain
  • For a sweat stain or deodorant marks pour a bit of white vinegar directly onto the stain.
  • Gently rub the white vinegar into the stain
  • Rub the white vinegar into the stain to make sure it is entirely covered.
  • Wash on a normal wash cycle
  • With the white vinegar covering the stain, wash the garment on a normal wash cycle in the washing machine.

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How to get a stain out of a white shirt with lemon

With plenty of ways to use lemon to clean your home, it's always handy to have a bottle of lemon juice in the store cupboard. Lemon juice is also brilliant at getting stains out of white clothes, hoorah!

Warning: To avoid overly bleaching your garment, test the solution on an inconspicuous area. And it's best not to use lemon on delicate fabrics like silk.

Here's how to get a stain out of a white shirt using lemon:

  • Make a paste with lemon juice and salt and rub it over the stain on any cotton or polyester garment.
  • After 30 minutes, rinse well and then wash as usual in the washing machine.
  • For greasy spots, rub lemon juice over the stain, then let the clothing dry. 
  • Wash the shirt in a normal wash cycle with your usual detergent.

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How to get a stain out of a white shirt with stain remover

If all else fails and you can't get that stubborn stain out with the above remedies or if you're dealing with an old stain, it's time to bring out the big guns in the form of stain removers. Try out Vanish Oxi Advance to really blast that stain.

The experts at Vanish explain how to best use it:

  • 'Dissolve one scoop of Gold Vanish Oxi Advance powder in four litres of warm or cold water (max 40°)'
  • 'Soak your item for a maximum of one hour for colors or up to a maximum of 6 hours for whites'
  • 'Wash the garment as usual with your detergent and add another scoop of Vanish Oxi Advance powder or 60ml of gel to the drum.'

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How to get a stain out of a white shirt: what to avoid

While these remedies are mostly failsafe, it's worth noting what you should avoid doing when trying to get a stain out of a white shirt. 

Here's a brief round up of common mistakes:

  • Yellow stains should never be bleached so avoid chlorinated bleach as this may actually darken the yellow stain and set it.
  • When rubbing a stain on a white garment, never use a dark colored cloth, towel or brush to avoid transferring the color to the shirt, making things worse.
  • If you’re unsure what kind of stain you’re dealing with, it's best not to use hot water. Hot water can cause stains such as blood, egg, or milk to set.
  • If the garment is stained, don't iron, press, or machine-dry because the heat will set the stain even further, making it near impossible to remove.
Jenny McFarlane
Senior Digital Editor

Jenny is Senior Digital Editor and joined the team in January 2021. She also works on the homes brands' video show, on the Future Homes Network, which is packed full of ideas to help you make the most of your own home and garden. Since getting on the property market with her first apartment and then more recently a house, her passion for interior design and gardening has taken on a new lease of life. Jenny's currently on the lookout for a doer-upper to put her stamp on. She loves collecting and salvaging unique items (much to her other half's despair) but sniffing out stylish home bargains is her one true love. When she has a spare minute, she loves to do a spot of crafting, having studied textiles at Uni – although she hardly gets the chance with a toddler who keeps her permanently on her toes.