how to get fabric softener stains out of clothes

How to Get Fabric Softener Stains Out of Clothes (Remove Stains)

Fabric softener is a staple in many households, known for its ability to make clothes feel softer, reduce static cling, and impart a fresh scent.

However, it can also leave behind unsightly stains on your clothes if not used correctly. These stains can be stubborn and difficult to remove, but with the right knowledge and techniques, it’s possible to get your clothes looking as good as new.

In this guide, we’ll explore how to remove fabric softener stains from clothes effectively and prevent them from happening in the future.

What You Will Learn in This Post

  • The science behind fabric softener stains and why they occur.
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to remove fabric softener stains from clothes.
  • Tips and tricks for preventing fabric softener stains from happening in the first place.

Understanding Fabric Softener Stains

Fabric softener stains can appear as greasy-looking spots or blue-gray marks on your freshly laundered clothes. These stains occur when fabric softener is not properly diluted or dispersed during the rinse cycle in the washing machine. This can happen if you pour fabric softener directly onto clothing, use too much fabric softener, or if the fabric softener dispenser in your washing machine is clogged.

Fabric softeners are designed to coat the fibers of your clothes, making them feel softer and reducing static cling. However, when fabric softener is not properly diluted, it can leave a residue that dries and hardens on the fabric, causing stains. These stains can be particularly noticeable on dark or brightly colored clothes.

How to Remove Fabric Softener Stains from Clothes

Getting fabric softener stains out of your clothes may seem daunting, but don’t worry – it’s not as difficult as it might seem. Follow these steps to remove fabric softener stains from your clothes:

  1. Pre-Treat the Stain: Start by dampening the stained area with cool water. Then, apply a small amount of liquid laundry detergent onto the stain. Gently rub the area with the detergent and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
  2. Rinse and Inspect: Rinse the area with water and check if the stain has been removed. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process.
  3. Wash as Usual: Once the stain is no longer visible, wash the clothing in the hottest water safe to use according to the care label. Add your regular amount of laundry detergent and a cup of white vinegar to the wash. The vinegar will help to break down the fabric softener residue and remove any remaining traces of the stain.
  4. Air Dry: After washing, let the clothing air dry. Avoid using a dryer until you are sure that the stain is completely gone, as the heat from the dryer can set the stain and make it permanent.

Remember, it’s always important to read the care label on your clothes before attempting any stain removal process. This will ensure that the methods you use are safe for the fabric.

Preventing Fabric Softener Stains

Preventing fabric softener stains is easier than you might think. Here are some tips and tricks to help you avoid these stains from occurring:

  1. Dilute Fabric Softener: Always dilute fabric softener with water before adding it to the wash. This will help to ensure that it disperses evenly during the rinse cycle and doesn’t leave a residue on your clothes.
  2. Don’t Overuse Fabric Softener: Using too much fabric softener can increase the likelihood of stains. Always follow the recommended amount on the fabric softener bottle.
  3. Clean Your Dispenser: Regularly clean your fabric softener dispenser to prevent clogs and buildup that can interfere with the proper dispensing of fabric softener.
  1. Use the Right Dispenser: If your washing machine has a built-in fabric softener dispenser, always use it. This ensures that the fabric softener is added at the right time during the rinse cycle and is properly diluted before it comes into contact with your clothes.
  2. Never Pour Fabric Softener Directly Onto Clothes: Pouring fabric softener directly onto clothes can cause concentrated spots of fabric softener that can lead to stains. Always dilute fabric softener in water before adding it to the wash, or use the fabric softener dispenser if your washing machine has one.

By following these tips, you can prevent fabric softener stains from happening in the first place, saving you time and effort in the long run.


Fabric softener stains can be a nuisance, but with the right techniques, they can be effectively removed. Remember, the key to successful stain removal is to act quickly, use the right products, and follow the correct procedures. And of course, prevention is always better than cure. By using fabric softener correctly and taking care to prevent stains from occurring, you can keep your clothes looking their best.






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