Expert Reveals Hacks to Get Even the Worst Stains Out of Clothing

As we approach summer, the season for BBQs, garden playdates, and family outings, Blake Mill, the renowned clothing designer, has partnered with cleaning expert Claire Helen to reveal hacks for removing even the worst stains. With 70,000 monthly searches for stain removal hacks, it’s clear that many of us face stubborn stains regularly.

Claire Helen, from Sister Pledge Cleans, says: “Whether you’re dealing with grass stains from picnics, red wine spills at barbecues, or the inevitable sunscreen marks, I’ve got you covered.”

Here are the most common stains and how to remove them:

Pen ink

When the kids are in their peak colouring years, things can get messy, with ink on the table, up the walls and on their clothes.

Summer crafts and activities can often lead to unexpected felt tip stains. Don’t panic! Solvents like hairspray, alcohol-based hand sanitiser, or WD-40 are your best friends. Apply your chosen solvent to the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and then blot gently with a clean cloth. Repeat until the ink is gone, then wash as normal.

Red wine

On those summer evenings, the adults might fancy pouring a glass of wine to wind down in the garden; however, too many of these can lead to disastrous stains.

Nothing ruins a summer evening faster than a red wine spill. Begin by rinsing the stain with cold water. Sprinkle salt on the stain to absorb the excess wine, then add white vinegar to tackle any remaining residue. This method helps lift the stain without embedding it further into the fabric.


Family kick-abouts are all fun and games until someone falls over and gets covered in grass and mud.

Outdoor play means grass stains galore, cricket, and football mums especially will dread the laundry this creates! Mix equal parts white vinegar and water and soak the stain in this solution for about an hour.

After soaking, wash the item with an added oxygen-based laundry stain remover to your biological detergent. This combination is effective at breaking down the green chlorophyll pigments and lifting the stain.


As temperatures increase, the chances of sweating are high, even with the strongest deodorant on.

Sweat stains are to be expected in the summer heat. Soak the stained area in a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water for a few hours.  Vinegar kills bacteria trapped in the fabric, breaks down the fatty deposits in sweat and deodorises. Then, wash the garment using a biological washing detergent. The enzymes in the detergent help break down the sweat molecules further, leaving your clothes fresh and clean. Hang to dry in sunlight to further lift yellow stains out of white shirts.


When you have food sizzling on the BBQ, fat or oil tends to spit out at you, landing on your skin or, in some cases, on your clothing.

Summer barbecues often lead to oil stains. Sprinkle talc or bicarbonate of soda on the stain to absorb the oil. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then apply neat washing-up liquid directly to the stain. The detergent will cut through the grease. Rinse thoroughly and then wash as usual.


In warmer weather, we tend to like cooling ice cream or lollipops; however, these delicious foods can make for the worst staining culprits.

Chocolate ice cream and milk shakes are delicious summer treats but an absolute nightmare to get out of. The trick is again to rinse the fabric with cold water and add a blob of washing-up liquid. Gently wash the stain and push the water through the fabric so that the stain runs clear. Follow with a wash in biological detergent.

Burgers, hot dogs and skewers

When the sun comes out, most Brits like to have a BBQ, whether that’s a disposable or a traditional charcoal one. However, one slip on your grip can land you in a messy situation.

Summer picnics often feature delicious, but stain-prone, curry dishes. Scrape off as much of the food as possible using a blunt knife or old credit card. Apply a diluted biological washing detergent to the stain and gently agitate the surface. Rinse under cold water and repeat if needed. For white fabrics, a dab of hydrogen peroxide can help eliminate any lingering stains.


Rain or shine, it’s always important to wear sun protection; however, this can leave a vibrant yellow stain on your clothing.

Sunscreen is essential for UV protection but can leave behind stubborn rust-like stains due to a chemical called avobenzone. Scrape off as much of the sunscreen as possible before flushing the area with cold water (avoid warm water, as it can set the stain). Apply neat white vinegar to the stain and let it sit for at least eight hours or overnight. Follow up with an oxy-based enzyme stain remover and soak further, then wash using a biological washing detergent. Again, making the most of our summer sunshine to dry in the light as the UV rays will brighten and whiten further any-stains.

By following these tips, you can guarantee that you can keep your summer wardrobe fresh without worrying, thanks to these effective cleaning strategies that don’t cost the earth.

For more tips on looking sharp and making a great impression, whether for a summer outing or a job interview, check out Blake Mill’s guide.