Is There A Way To Remove Fabric Softener Stains?

Almost everyone wants their clothes to feel softer and smell fresher after washing. A fabric softener effectively serves the purpose. Fabric softener softens your freshly washed clothes and makes them feel smooth to the touch. However, if it causes laundry stains, this could be a problem. But worry not, there are a number of stain removal techniques that will be discussed in this article.

How To Remove Fabric Softener Stains?

Fabric softener soothes and revives the clothing, but it can also leave greasy-looking stains in its aftereffect. It is a good thing that most of the stains are easily removed with soap and water, so they are almost never permanent.

The greasy-looking splotches on the clothes are irritating and even unbearable if they appear on your favorite shirt. But there is nothing to worry about, the stains can be removed once you get an idea about the type of stained material.

Some common types of fabric softener-stained materials along with their method of removing are given below:

Non-Washable Fibers

Fiberglass, silk, rayon, wool or synthetic carpet, or acetate are some types of non-washable fibers.

How to remove:

Deflate the stain with water and gently rub it away with bar soap (do not use a dedorant-type soap). Alternatively, rub the affected area with a liquid laundry detergent, such as Liquid Laundry Stain Remover. Thoroughly rinse with clear water, then blot excess liquid and allow to dry.

Washable Fibers

Acrylic Fabric, Nylon, Cotton, Linen, Olefin, Polyester are commonly used washable fibers.

How to remove:

Wet the area and gently rub it with bar soap. Alternatively, rub the affected area with liquid laundry detergent or cleaners like Liquid Laundry Stain Remover. Rinse thoroughly. Blot up any excess liquid and wash as soon as possible.

Some Other Surfaces

Acrylic Plastic, Asphalt, Aluminum, Ceramic, Glass, Cork, Linoleum, Paint/Flat, Polyurethane, Paint/Gloss, Porcelain Dishes.

How to remove:

Wipe up any spills as soon as possible because the chemicals can harm the surface. Wipe the area down with a warm sudsy cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly and gently tap dry.

What Is The Step-By-Step Procedure To Remove Fabric Softener Stains?

You do not need to worry about the stains appearing on the clothes due to the fabric softener. Although they look weird, they can be removed easily.

All you need are some simple ingredients given below:

  • Water
  • Your preferred laundry detergent or a pure bar of white soap devoid of scents, deodorants, and lotions
  • Scrubbing brush, similar to a nail brush (optional)
  • Towel that absorbs
  • Alternative to bleach (optional)

Following are the steps to get rid of the fabric softener stains

  1. Brush off any excess before rinsing the garment under cold, running water. The more water pressure there is, the easier it will be to remove.
  2. You can also use the cap to ensure that you are using the correct amount of liquid detergent.
  3. Simply fill it with the appropriate amount of detergent and pour it into the detergent dispenser if you have a HE machine, or into the drum before loading the clothes if you have a non-HE machine.
  4. Place the garment in the washer with other items without rinsing off the detergent. Leaving the detergent on the stain will provide an extra boost of cleaning power to your wash.
  5. Wash according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the hottest wash temperature recommended.
  6. When the cycle is finished, immediately unload the garments. If the stain remains after washing, repeat the previous steps before putting the clothes in the dryer, as drying will set the stain.

What Are Some Alternative Methods To Clean Fabric Softener Stains?

If you run out of liquid detergent, you can use a bar of soap instead. This method is similar to the concentrated laundry detergent method, but instead of drying by heat, you must let the garments air dry when using the soap method.

Following are some easy methods to clean fabric softener stains:

Remove stains with help of shampoo:

The shampoo is useful for more than just washing your hair. It can also be used to remove light fabric softener stains. This method is most effective on light and fresh stains. Follow these simple steps to remove the stain:

  • Soak the stained fabric softener garment in a basin of lukewarm water.
  • A few drops of shampoo should be applied to the stain. Use your fingers or knuckles to rub it in.
  • As usual, wash the garment.

Remove stains with help of liquid soap:

You can use this method if the stain is new and small. You will only need regular liquid soap and a bucket of warm water for this. Regular soaps contain surfactants, which enable them to lift stains from the fabric, making it easier to remove the stains.

To remove fabric softener stains with regular soap, follow these simple steps.

  • Soak the stained garment in a bucket of warm water for a few minutes. Allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  • Choose a regular liquid soap of your preference.
  • Directly apply the soap to the stained area. Make sure the solution covers the entire stain.
  • Allow the soap to soak on the stained area for 5 to 10 minutes to loosen the stain from the fibers of the fabric, making it easier to remove.
  • After the allotted time, scrub the affected area in a circular motion with a soft-bristled brush.
  • When the stain has lightened noticeably, wash the garment in cold water. No detergent or soap should be used.
  • The stain should no longer be visible at this point. After that just allow your clothes to air dry.

Remove stains with the help of vinegar:

One of the best ways to get fabric softener stains out of clothes is to notice them before putting your clothes in the dryer. You do not want to put them in the dryer in this case. You will need to rewash them instead. Instead of laundry detergent, you will use white vinegar, which has a strong stain-fighting ability.

  • Brush away any excess fabric softener with a toothbrush.
  • Rinse the fabric softener stain from the clothing with hot water. (Check the care label to ensure that hot water is safe to use.)
  • Work on the oily area with a few drops of laundry detergent or bar soap.
  • Warm water should be used to rinse the detergent.
  • Place the clothes in the washing machine on the hottest setting recommended.
  • 1 cup white vinegar can be used as a detergent.
  • Allow the washer to complete a full cycle.
  • Before drying, inspect the clothing.

How To Prevent Fabric Softener Stains?

It could be irritating to see stains of fabric softener every time you wash your cloths. The best solution to avoid the problem is to prevent it.

Given below are the steps to avoid these stains:

Clean Your Dispenser

If your washing machine has an automatic fabric softener dispenser, clean it out on a regular basis by flushing it with heated distilled white vinegar or very hot water, then run a rinse cycle with no laundry in the washer. You will be amazed at how many clumps of fabric softener residue fall out. Those clumps are usually what stain your laundry.

Do Not Overload the Washing Machine

Keep the washer from becoming overloaded. Without enough space to move through the water and fabric softener solution, some clothes will be overly exposed to the fabric softener, resulting in streaking or spotting.

Shake the liquid fabric softener and dilute as needed

Since the ingredients of fabric softener can separate, shake the bottle thoroughly before each use. Then, before adding it to the washer, dilute it with an equal amount of warm water to help disperse the liquid.

This should be done regardless of whether you use an automatic dispenser, a dispensing ball, or manually add the fabric softener to the rinse cycle. Never saturate fabric with fabric softener.

What Are Some Reasons To Avoid Fabric Softeners?

These laundry materials used in everyday laundry offers soft, fresh-smelling clothes that are static-free and wrinkle-free, as well as less stretching, fading, and pilling.

The chemicals in the fabric softener can be hazardous to your health, harm the environment, and pollute the air both inside and outside your home.

The fragrances used in fabric softeners can be dangerous

In common household products, there are over 3,000 fragrance ingredients. Fabric softener may contain phthalates, which disperse the scent; synthetic musk’s like galaxolide, which accumulate in the body; and other ingredients.

Allergies, skin irritations such as dermatitis, difficulty breathing, and potential reproductive harm can all be caused by fragrance mixtures. Scents, according to research, cause irritation when vented outdoors, especially for asthmatics and those who are chemically sensitive. It is not worth it.

Preservatives in softeners harm the health

The terms “preservatives” and “colors” or “coloring agents” on an ingredient label, like fragrance, can refer to any number of chemicals.

The most concerning preservatives in fabric softeners are methylisothiazolinone, a known skin allergen, and glutaral, which has been linked to asthma and skin allergies. Glutaral (also known as glutaraldehyde) is toxic to marine life. D&C violet 2 is one of the artificial colors that has been linked to cancer. Others may contain carcinogenic impurities.

So, avoid fabric softeners and conditioners in all forms, including pellets, crystals, bars, and single-dose packs. You will not be able to tell the difference.

What Are Expert Tips To Avoid Fabric Softener Stains?

The best way to avoid fabric softener stains is to avoid using fabric softener altogether and instead use a detergent that contains fabric softening ingredients.

Dry your garment in the dryer only after you are certain the stain is gone, because high heat can set fabric softener stains just like any other type of stain. Use the same laundry detergent that you would normally use to wash the garment.

Never pour fabric softener directly into the washer with the clothes. It does not matter whether it is just laundry detergent or plain soap, you may want to test the concentrated drops or bar on an inconspicuous area first, just to be safe and protect the fabric. If there are any residual stains, you can remove them with a color-safe bleach alternative.

Related questions

Are stains from fabric softener permanent?

Fabric softener softens and refreshes clothing, but it can also leave greasy-looking stains in its wake. Fortunately, most stains are easily removed with soap and water, so they are almost never permanent.

Is it possible to remove the fabric softener with vinegar?

If you do not want to use heavily scented commercial fabric softeners but still want softer clothes, distilled white vinegar works as a natural fabric softener and leaves no residue on laundry. Simply add one-half cup to the last rinse cycle.

Why do the clothes have dark spots after they have been washed?

Dark spots can sometimes be caused by grease buildup from years of doing laundry or using liquid fabric softener. Many retailers now sell products designed specifically to clean washing machine drums but running a cup of white vinegar or bleach through the machine on an empty cycle will also suffice.

Why do blue spots appear on the washed clothes?

If your laundry is displaying bluish stains, this indicates that the detergent or fabric softener compartments are overfilled. Before any detergent is added to the washtub, a normal cycle will add water to the drum and cycle back and forth a few times to evenly wet the load.


Stains of every type are a part of laundry and this seems to be a never-ending problem. The most effective solution to tackle this problem is to avoid it as much as you can. Do not add to your workload by bowing down to fabric softener stains. Use these simple techniques to keep your clothes stain-free and fresh smelling.

Leave a Comment