It is a common thing that many people do: you store your off-season clothes and pull them out when it is time to wear them. But sometimes our stored clothes end up with yellow stains on them after being put into storage. How can you get your clothes back to the way they were? How can you remove the yellow stains from stored clothes?
Yellow stains can be caused by oxidation, this happens when you store clothes you thought were cleaner than they actually were. There are many ways to remove yellow stains from stored clothing, including using bleach, toothpaste, and other home remedies, but you can always take your clothes to a dry cleaner.
But what causes clothing to get these yellow stains in the first place? And what can you do to avoid this process in the future as you plan ahead? Let’s go over some of these important questions now.
What Causes Clothing to Get Yellow Stains When Stored Away?
You may be very disappointed after pulling your in-season clothes out of storage and realizing they are covered in faint yellow stains. Why might this be? You knew that your clothes were clean when you put them in storage. How did these stains happen?
The primary cause for clothing to get yellow stains when stored away is that they weren’t actually as clean as you thought they were when you put them into storage. Yellow stains on any color of clothing can be caused by oxidation. But what is oxidation?
Oxidation is the simple act of chemicals or substances decaying or becoming altered as they are exposed to different environments. For example, oxidation often appears on cut vegetables if they are left out in the air or in the fridge, or otherwise stored improperly.
The same is true for your clothing when you put them into storage. Placing clothes that have unseen stains on them from various substances can result in oxidation or yellow stains all over. Perhaps you put dirty clothes into storage without realizing it, or you thought your clothes were cleaner than they actually are.
These yellow stains often occur on clothing put into storage because there is no more air circulation or proper cleaning happening to your clothes. Even the faintest sweat stain on a t-shirt can lead to a yellowed appearance after a few months in a bin or bag at the back of your closet!
So what can you do to prevent this oxidation or yellow staining from happening in the future? Let’s take a look.
How Should You Store Your Clothes to Avoid Them from Yellowing?
There are a few easy steps that you can take in order to avoid the dreaded yellow stains on your stored clothes in the future. While these steps won’t help your clothes currently in storage, plan on doing this next time you are swapping out your seasonal sweaters!
- Clean your clothes thoroughly with the recommended amount of detergent. Many consumers often use less or more detergent than they should; both of these options are not ideal for stored clothes. If you don’t use enough detergent, they will not be clean enough. If you use too much detergent or fabric softener, these products can leave a residue that will oxidize and turn yellow on your clothes.
- Avoid using fabric softener completely. While fabric softener is good for day to day clothing and things such as blankets or sheets, fabric softener can leave an extreme amount of residue that will be very difficult to get off of your stored clothes. And this residue is prone to leaving more permanent stains!
- Spot-treat any existing stains. While some stains are difficult to see and you may simply miss them, if you store your clothes with any visible stains they will oxidize in storage and potentially turn yellow or simply get worse. Taking the time to thoroughly clean any residual spots or stains on your clothes will help while they are in storage.
- Consider wrapping your clothes in white sheets. Choosing a bleached and very clean white flat sheet to wrap your clothes in can be a good idea for overall moisture control and stain containment. While wrapping all of your clothes individually in sheets sounds expensive and time-consuming, perhaps consider this for your more expensive stored clothes.
- Try to store your clothes in a more climate-controlled environment. This is especially true In the heat of summer. Your stains will only get worse if exposed to excessive heat and humidity. If you are able to store your clothes inside of your home, such as in the back of your closet or under your bed, that is your best bet for avoiding yellow stains.
Let’s say you pulled your clothes out of storage and found them to be yellowed and stained. What can you do to remove the stains and get your clothes back to the way they used to be? Let’s go over 9 ways how to remove yellow stains from stored clothes together.
9 Ways How to Remove Yellow Stains from Stored Clothes
Many of these remedies are cost effective and easy to do. It isn’t too late to save your clothes from oxidation and stored staining! No matter your budget, there’s a trick on this list that will help you with your stubborn stains. Here are our top 9 best solutions for you.
1. Use Bleach!
While bleach is only recommended when used in conjunction with white clothing, it can be useful for removing yellow stains from your stored clothes. You can either spot-treat your clothes with bleach or add bleach to your washing machine if you are washing a load of only white clothes.
Chlorine bleach or fabric safe bleach is recommended for this process. Again, do not use bleach on any articles of clothing containing dyes or colors as they will run or fade, as well as get bleach stained. The last thing you want is another stain!
Did you know that toothpaste has been known to remove yellow stains from more than just your teeth? You can scrub toothpaste into your yellow clothing and wash as recommended. While people experience mixed results using toothpaste to remove yellow stains from stored clothes, you may find success.
A good toothpaste to try would be one with baking soda or other stain-fighting properties. If you are in a pinch, toothpaste could be all that you need to remove yellow stains from that sweater you were planning on wearing to the party tonight!
3. Take Clothes to the Dry Cleaners
This choice may be the most expensive option on this list, but it is one way of ensuring that your clothes are clean and free of yellow stains after they have been stored. A dry cleaners is a business designed with clean clothes in mind, especially if you are dealing with any delicate fabrics.
Let your dry cleaners know that your stains are from being stored improperly. They will be able to help you from here and should be able to remove the stains with professional-grade products. It may not be the most cost-effective choice, but it will be one of the most thorough choices.
4. Baking Soda & Hydrogen Peroxide
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are some of the best household items to use when you have a stain. The chemicals involved in the reaction between baking soda and hydrogen peroxide when put on a stain are capable of removing yellowing and other difficult stains to remove.
Try mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and let it foam on your stain for 15 minutes to half an hour. Rinse the stain in cool water and wash in a machine washer as you normally would. You can repeat this process again, but you may not need to!
5. Try Drying Under the Sun
Sometimes all you need to remove yellow stains from stored clothes is to let them dry under the sunshine. Give your stored clothes a wash as you normally would, and instead of putting them into the dryer, let them completely dry for a few hours in direct sunlight.
This won’t be an option for everyone, depending on the weather of your location. However, it is worth a try, as many yellow stains are simply caused by improper drying before placing your clothes into storage.
6. Vinegar and Water
Something as simple as white vinegar is another fantastic household item to use when it comes time to clean your clothes. Vinegar is wonderful when paired with other cleaning agents, such as baking soda or salt. But if you are in a pinch, creating a vinegar and water spray or soak for your clothes may be all you need.
Combine 2 cups of water with a half cup of white vinegar and either spray onto your stained clothes or allow the clothes to soak in a larger amount of the remedy. Agitate the mixture and allow your clothes to soak for an hour or more. Then wash as recommended!
7. Club Soda and Water
You may be surprised to hear that a mixture of club soda and water can help with everyday laundering and yellow stains. Club soda contains salt or sodium in some capacity, and this combined with the carbonation found in this common drink mixer is enough to lift some stains.
Mix one can of club soda with 2 cups of water or more, and allow your stained garment to soak for half an hour or more. Wash as directed, and repeat the process is necessary.
8. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice has many functions outside of the kitchen. It is a natural stain lifter and whitener due to its acidity and other chemical components. Squeezing enough juice onto your yellow stain and allowing the shirt to air-dry in the sun is often enough to remove pesky stains.
9. RIT White Wash or RIT Color Removal
If your yellow stain is on a white article of clothing or a lighter colored article of clothing, you can try using RIT White Wash or RIT Color Removal on it. These products are designed to remove stains from clothing that isn’t a dark color. It is also more gentle than bleach.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for these products. While RIT is more expensive than many of these home remedies, it may be what you need to remove a stubborn stain. This is especially true if you are trying to remove a yellow stain from a more delicate stored clothing item.
The Verdict – Removing Yellow Clothes Stains
Removing yellow stains from stored clothes is possible with these 9 solutions. You can also take more time to store your clothes properly, as many yellow stains are easy to prevent. Make sure to wash your clothes before storage to prevent any stains from oxidation. Enjoy your clothes season after season with these helpful tips and tricks!
Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.