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How to Clean Fabric Stains With Denatured Alcohol

April Dowling

The longer stains remain on fabric, the more difficult they are to remove. Stains that are deeply embedded in fabric fibers may require strong solutions to remove them. Denatured alcohol is a solvent used as a spot cleaner on fabrics.

Denatured alcohol attacks stubborn fabric stains.

The degreasing properties in denatured alcohol can remove coffee, grass and other surface stains when soap and detergents cannot. Denatured alcohol contains ethanol and methanol, so use caution when handling it.

  1. Open the windows in the room to provide adequate ventilation. Put on latex gloves to prevent touching the denatured alcohol.

  2. Dampen a cotton ball with a couple drops of denatured alcohol. Blot an inconspicuous area of the fabric with the damp cotton ball. Allow the alcohol to dry on the fabric.

  3. Inspect the fabric for discoloration or damage from the denatured alcohol. If the fabric is fine, dampen another cotton ball with denatured alcohol.

  4. Blot the stained portion of the fabric with the damp cotton ball. Do not over saturate the fabric with denatured alcohol. Allow the alcohol to dry on the fabric.

  5. Apply a drop of liquid dish soap to the stain. Scrub the affected fabric gently with a clean toothbrush until the stain is completely removed.

  6. Rinse the fabric with water. Blot the fabric with a terry cloth towel until it's dry.

  7. Tip

    You can substitute a soft cotton cloth for the cotton balls.


    Do not use denatured alcohol on silk or wool fabrics, as they may become damaged. Keep denatured alcohol away from flames, as it is highly flammable. Keep denatured alcohol out of the reach of children, as it is toxic.