How to Get Stains Out of a Towel

Tom Ross

Stains of every type can end up on dish and bath towels. But by taking action as soon as spills happen, you'll keep them bright and clean. Provide your family and guests with towels free of stains from make-up or other grooming products, as well as any food or beverages hurriedly wiped up.

Give your family and guests stain-free, brilliantly white towels instead of dingy ones.

Apply different treatments for various types of stains, along with a bleach solution to brighten towels stained a dingy color.

Cleaning Stained, Dingy Towels

  1. Mix 1 cup of bleach to 3 cups of cool water and set aside in a bucket.

  2. Place the stained and dingy towels into the bleach solution in the bucket, and allow them to sit for approximately 15 minutes. Damage may result to the towels, if left in the solution too long.

  3. Add laundry detergent to a normal wash load, and start the washer before adding the stained towels and bleach solution.

  4. Add the stained towels with the bleach solution to the washing machine slowly, after the agitator cycle has begun.

Removing Common Stains

  1. Wet ink stains thoroughly with white vinegar. Apply a paste of 2 parts vinegar to 3 parts cornstarch to the stain. Lightly scrub the solution into the stain with a toothbrush, allow the paste to dry completely, and then wash in a normal wash cycle.

  2. Treat bloodstains immediately by pouring full-strength white vinegar onto the stain. Allow the vinegar to soak in for approximately 10 minutes, and then blot it with paper towels. If the stain is still visible, treat it again. Wash the towel as usual in a normal wash cycle.

  3. Remove make-up stains by mixing 1 tbsp. of dish washing detergent to 2 cups cool water. Lightly brush the solution onto the stain, and blot it with paper towels until it is fully absorbed. Repeat the process until the stain is removed. Remove the detergent solution by running cold water over it, then blotting with paper towels until dry.

  4. Tip

    Use a narrow paintbrush to target stain-removing products directly where needed, without dripping or wasting them.


    Check the towel's label for any warnings about washing it in chlorine bleach. Adding bleach before the detergent has an opportunity to soak into the clothes may inhibit the effectiveness of the detergent. Wait until the agitator cycle has begun before adding the diluted bleach.