Stain Removal: Hot Or Cold Water?

November 11th, 2016 | Around The Home, Tips & Tricks

Stain Removal, Your Ultimate Cheat Sheet

We’ve all experienced it before: a massive stain on the front of our favorite shirt or pants. Whether it’s mustard that dripped from a hotdog or coffee that splattered when a mug tipped over, we all know how frustrating it feels. But don’t panic just yet! Your shirt or pair of pants might not be a lost cause. If you act quickly – and use the right treatments – it’s very likely that your clothes can be salvaged and returned to their original state.

When attempting the stain removal process, water is always a good place to start. But what’s the best temperature: hot or cold? It could make a world’s difference. Here are some of the most common stains and how to go about removing them.

When to Use Cold Water:


In serious situations, it’s safe to say that your clothes are the least important thing you should be worrying about. If you or someone you know has been hurt badly, forget about treating a stain; treat their wounds! If, however, the stain was caused by something minor such as a scraped knee or elbow, try to treat the stain immediately. Soak the clothing in cold water for 30 minutes and then rub detergent into the stain.

Coffee & Tea:

Ever slammed your breaks while drinking coffee? The outcome isn’t very pretty. You’ll want to rub detergent into the stain and soak in cold water. If a stain still remains, pre-treat it and then wash it in warm water.


Jam, mustard and melted chocolate are some of our worst enemies. But fret not! Rinse immediately in cold water only and that should do the trick.


Wine can be an incredible danger to your favorite clothes. You’ll want to treat this stain immediately. Rinse with cold water or club soda, and then rub with detergent. Let it sit for a few minutes before adding a pre-treatment to it and then wash.

When to Use Hot Water:

Grass Stains:

Kids are notorious for coming home with grass stains on their shirts and pants. While this type of stain can be difficult to remove, it’s not impossible. Grab a paper towel and place the stain face down on it. Sponge with rubbing alcohol and then rinse. Apply a pre-treatment and then wash. If traces of the stain still remain, wash in hot water with chlorine bleach, if of course, it’s safe for the fabric.


Whether you’re cooking bacon or attempting a car repair, grease or oil is bound to splatter or drip on you. Similar to a grass stain, you’ll want to place the stain face down on a paper towel and sponge with a pre-treatment. Dab some water on the stain and rub in soap or detergent. Wash in hot water if it’s safe for the fabric.

Body Perspiration:

This is, perhaps, one of the more annoying stains. Dampen the stain and rub it with detergent. Wash in hot water and chlorine, again, if it’s safe for the fabric. If there’s discoloration, you can use ammonia on a fresh stain and vinegar on an older stain to restore it.

Moffett Plumbing & Air is a full-service, family owned & operated plumbing & HVAC company based out of Orange, CA. Follow our blog for valuable homeowner tips, and updates from your favorite team of plumbing professionals.