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How do I get rid of tamales stain on clothing?

By Dr. Laundry November 13, 2015

Q: How do I get rid of tamales stain on clothing?   A: Just like delicious tamales require extra time and care to prepare, getting out a tamale stain also requires a little extra attention! Since it’s a combination stain, you have to treat the oil component first, and then treat the colored part second. The most important thing is to start by working on the stain while the fabric is dry.  That means you don’t rinse it first with a little water!   Begin by pretreating the stain with a liquid dishwashing detergent (the kind you use for hand washing dishes) by applying a few drops to the stain and gently rubbing it into the fabric.  Wait 5 minutes, then rinse the stain with a little warm tap water.  This helps break up the oil.   Next, you need to go after the colored part of the stain (from the delicious spices).  Again, you will pretreat the stains, and it’s ok to do this on wet fabric right after the dish detergent pretreatment step.  How you pretreat for the second step depends on the item with the stain on it.   If the stain is on a white bleachable fabric (avoid bleaching wool, silk, leather, mohair, and spandex) you can pretreat with Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel.  This product has the same great sodium hypochlorite bleach active as our regular-bleach, but at a lower concentration that is safe to apply directly to bleach-safe fabric.  Regular-Bleach, on the other hand, should always be diluted with water before use, and should never be applied full strength.  To use the get pen, apply a little gel directly to the stained area using the soft scrubber tip and gently rub it into the stain.  Immediately after pretreating, wash the item in the hottest water recommended using detergent and ½ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach.  Let the item air dry and check for success; repeat if you missed any oil.   If the stain is on an item with color (or a white item that contains a little spandex), use liquid Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster for the second pretreatment step.  Apply a little Clorox2® directly to the stain and gently rub it in.  Wait 5 minutes, then wash in the warmest water recommended on the item care label using detergent and more Clorox2®.  Air dry and check for success, and repeat the procedure if necessary to get all the oil.   I hope this information is useful.  Please let me know if you have any questions, and thanks for writing!   –Dr. Laundry