how to get fabric softener stains out of clothes
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How to Get Fabric Softener Stains Out of Clothes?

Your recently washed clothes feel much softer to the touch thanks to fabric softener. Use the stain removal techniques listed below, though, if it results in laundry stains.

Have you ever removed clothing from the washer and discovered new greasy or oily-looking stains that weren’t there before? That’s probably the reason why you use fabric softener. Occasionally, the stains may also be very obvious.

But don’t worry; in this article, I’ll explain what causes them and how to remove fabric softener stains from clothing.

How to Get Fabric Softener Stains Out of Clothes?

Always remember to remove fabric softener stains as soon as you can, preferably while the clothing is still wet. It’s a good idea to check your clothing when you remove it from the washer if this issue seems to occur frequently. Before putting the clothing in the dryer, treat stains with fabric softener, then rewash them.

The most effective methods for removing fabric softener stains from clothing are listed below, using items you most likely already have at home. What works for you may not work for someone else because some are better for particular types of fabric softener stains than others. Nevertheless, if one approach isn’t working, you can always try another.

We also have information about removing different types of stains from clothes.



Fabric softener stains can almost always be removed with vinegar. The best results can be obtained using this method, especially on white clothing, if the fabric softener left a colored stain behind. The best method is to use vinegar directly in the washing machine, although you can try soaking the clothing in a solution of water with ¼ of vinegar added.

All that is required is a second wash of the clothing without detergent or fabric softener. Instead, you should fill the washing machine’s drum with one cup of vinegar before adding the stained clothes. To ensure that the vinegar can effectively penetrate and remove the stain, only wash the clothing that has been stained with fabric softener.

It should be noted that vinegar can fade colored clothing. In order to dilute it before it has a chance to harm the clothing, you should start the machine as soon as you add the clothing.

Bar Soap

Bar Soap

Both liquid fabric softener and dryer sheet stains can be removed using bar soap as a cleaning agent. But since colored soap can leave colored stains on the clothing, you should only use chemical-free white soap. If you use colored soap instead of white soap, it may be difficult to determine if you have completely covered the stain. Colored soap stains should come out just by washing the clothing.

to use bar soap to get rid of stains from fabric softeners. Simply apply soap to the stains and rub it in to help dissolve any greasy buildup. In order to ensure that the stain has been eliminated, check the clothing before drying and repeat washing it with your regular laundry detergent without using fabric softener.

Dish Soap

Dish Soap

Because liquid dish soap is made to dissolve oily and greasy stains, it can be very effective at getting rid of stains that fabric softener leaves behind. All you have to do is dab the stain with a little dish soap and rub it in gently.

To give the soap time to work and remove the stain, let it sit on the stain for 5 to 10 minutes. Rewash the clothing after that using your regular detergent. When you’re not certain the stain has been removed, wait to use fabric softener.

Concentrated Liquid Detergent

Concentrated Liquid Detergent

If fabric softener stains are significant and challenging to remove, concentrated laundry detergent can be used. Fabric softener stains can be easily removed from your clothing using liquid detergents because they contain surfactants, which easily penetrate stains. Surfactants remove the dirt and stain from the fabric, leaving your clothes looking brand new.

Before putting your stained clothes through a wash cycle, simply soak and gently rub them in a solution of laundry detergent and water. Depending on how much heat your garment can handle, you should use warm or cold water.

Steps on Removing Fabric Softener from Different Materials

Below are the most common types of materials that can become fabric softener-stained, with steps on how to remove fabric softener from each:

  • Non-washable fibers such as Acetate, Carpet/Synthetic, Carpet/Wool, Fiberglass, Rayon, Silk, Triacetate, or Wool
  • Washable fibers such as Acrylic Fabric, Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester, or Spandex
  • Other surfaces such as Acrylic Plastic, Aluminum, Asphalt, Ceramic, Glass/Tile, Cork, Glass, Linoleum, Paint/Flat, Paint/Gloss, Plexiglas, Polyurethane, Porcelain Dishes, Porcelain Fixtures, Vinyl Clothing, Vinyl Tile, Vinyl Wallcovering

Non-washable Fibers

Follow these steps to remove fabric softener stains from Acetate, Carpet/Synthetic, Carpet/Wool, Fiberglass, Rayon, Silk, Triacetate, or Wool:

  • Use bar soap (do not use a deodorant-type soap) to gently rub the stain after wetting it with water. Alternately, apply liquid laundry detergent to the area, such as Shout Liquid Laundry Stain Remover.
  • Thoroughly rinse with clear water, then blot any remaining liquid and let the area air dry.
how to get fabric softener stains out of clothes

Washable Fibers

Follow these steps to remove fabric softener stains from Acrylic Fabric, Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester, and Spandex:

  • Use bar soap (do not use a deodorant-type soap) to gently rub the area after dampening it with water. Or, use liquid laundry detergent or cleaners like Shout Liquid Laundry Stain Remover to scrub the area.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Blot the extra liquid before washing as soon as you can.

­Other Surfaces

Follow these steps to remove fabric softener stains from Acrylic Plastic, Aluminum, Asphalt, Ceramic, Glass/Tile, Cork, Glass, Linoleum, Paint/Flat, Paint/Gloss, Plexiglas, Polyurethane, Porcelain Dishes, Porcelain Fixtures, Vinyl Clothing, Vinyl Tile, Vinyl Wallcovering:

  • Any spills that are too much should be cleaned up right away to prevent damage to the surface from the chemicals.
  • Use a sponge or cloth dipped in warm, sudsy water to wipe the area.
  • Rinse well, then pat dry.

How to Remove Stubborn Fabric Softener Stains?

It’s time to reach for the Dawn when a stain is difficult to remove with white vinegar. Since Dawn dish soap is made to combat oil and grease, it effectively breaks down fabric softener.

  1. Brush the area with the toothbrush.
  2. Sprinkle warm water in the area.
  3. Use your fingers to rub Dawn into the fabric softener stain.
  4. In warm water with a few drops of Dawn, let the item soak for one to two hours.
  5. Rinse the garment.
  6. As directed, use vinegar to wash your clothes.
  7. Before drying the garment, check.

Does Fabric Softener Stain Clothes?

The fibers are coated with fabric softener, which serves the sole purpose of making them feel softer. It accomplishes this by lubricating the fibers with lubricants and oils. But those components may also be the cause of the stain on your clothing.

how to get fabric softener stains out of clothes

If you use too much fabric softener, add it to the wrong spot in the washer, or add it at the wrong time, it will stain more easily. It must mix with the water to be diluted in order to work properly, and the likelihood that all of it won’t be removed from the clothing increases if too much is used or it isn’t released at the proper time.

Stains can occasionally be brought on by a buildup of fabric softener residue in the dispenser. However, because the greasy buildup can get on your clothing and not be fully removed by washing, it still leaves stains on clothing in the same way.

Certain types of clothing will show stains more visibly than others if fabric softener does in fact cause them. For instance, the stains will be more noticeable on light-colored clothing, but they can still leave a greasy stain on dark-colored clothing. Additionally, some types of fabrics can show fabric softener stains more clearly than others.

Will Fabric Softener Stains Come Out of Clothes?

Thankfully, fabric softener stains are not the most difficult to get rid of. They can be removed from clothing, but it’s best to do so while the stain is still wet. The clothing should be removed from the washer before it is placed in the dryer if you want to remove them successfully.

When a stain dries, it becomes much more difficult to get rid of, especially if the clothing was dried with heat rather than air. You’ll need to use more potent cleaning agents if you want the best chance of removing the stain because heat can cause it to set.

How to Prevent Fabric Softener from Staining Clothes?

Following the removal of the fabric softener stains from your clothing, you should take precautions to prevent them from happening again. Depending on what you think the stain’s origin is, there are a variety of things you can do to stop fabric softener from leaving stains on your clothes.

how to get fabric softener stains out of clothes
  • Combine equal parts water and your fabric softener.
  • Don’t ever apply fabric softener to clothing.
  • Make use of a detergent with a built-in fabric softener.
  • Your fabric softener dispenser needs cleaning.
  • Your fabric softener needs to be shaken. It may eventually separate.
  • Don’t fill the washer to capacity. Detergent and fabric softeners have a harder time dispersing as a result.
  • The clothes will dry quickly if dryer sheets are placed on top of them in the dryer.
  • Replace with a natural fabric softener like white vinegar.


How to Remove Fabric Softener Stains from Dry Clothes?

  1. Put warm water in the sink or bathtub.
  2. Add the advised quantity of oxygenated bleach.
  3. The clothes should be in the water for three to four hours. Better still, stay overnight.
  4. Use the hottest wash temperature suggested for the material.
  5. Add neither softener nor detergent.
  6. Before drying, inspect the stains.

What Happens If You Use Too Much Fabric Softener?

Most people use a little bit too much fabric softener when washing their clothes, despite the fact that these products are great at improving the smell and feel of our clothes. How does applying too much affect the situation? The extra fabric softener typically settles back onto the clothing, leaving you with dull and stiff clothing.

How Long Does It Take to Get Fabric Softener Out of Clothes?

Soak the clothing for 3-4 hours. Even better is overnight. Use the hottest setting suggested for the fabric when washing. Do not add softener or detergent.

Fabric Softener Stains – No Problem!

Laundry washing can seem like an endless struggle. Well, unless you’re a nudist, it’s a never-ending battle. Don’t make cleaning up fabric softener stains more work for yourself. To remove the stains, try using shampoo, bar soap, concentrated dish soap, or oxygen-based bleach.

Preventing these stains from ever appearing on your clothing is a good idea as well. You can achieve this by diluting or using less fabric softener when washing your clothes. And if you want to completely avoid fabric softener stains in the future, think about switching to white vinegar from fabric softener.

I sincerely hope that this article was useful to you in getting fabric softener stains out of your clothes. Share this resource with anyone else you know who might benefit from it.

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