How to Get Stains Off Your Shirt or Suit at Work

How to Get Stains Off Your Shirt or Suit at Work

It’s something that has happened to everyone. You are at a rushed lunch at work and maybe ordered something a bit aggressive like a saucy pasta or burrito. Then all of a sudden, bam! Some food ends up on your shirt, pants, or suit jacket. Panic immediately sets in, as you don’t have another outfit with you. Now your afternoon has potential to become a Halloween-level horror show.

Now re-imagine that - instead of panic – you smile at your misfortune with confidence, because you know the solution to fix it. Below, we’ll break down how to get the peace of mind you need to address your stain – and what type of outfit you could choose to best repel these unwelcome foreign liquids and marks.



Water stains on shirt

For a traditional working shirt (especially in a white or light color), stains can be very stubborn and frustrating

If you get a stain on a shirt, take these steps:

1) Don’t panic and lose your composure – that will only make things worse. Take a couple deep breaths and think of this as a puzzle you can solve.

2) That being said, it is best to get into action as soon as possible, and not let it sit long. The longer the stain has the chance to seep in, the worse it will be.

3) Identify what the stain is. If it is a simple food or drink stain like juice or bubble tea, there’s a good chance you can get it out without much notice. However, if it’s a stronger stain like a marker or blood, then you’ll be more focused on mitigating the damage as much as you can.

4) Do a quick scan to see what type of cleaning items you might have around. This will help with your plan of action. While it's not expected to have vinegar or hydrogen peroxide always handy at work, it’s a good idea to keep a Tide To Go Stain Remover Pen  with you at the office or your business trip.

PRO TIP: You can also make a bottle of DIY stain solution that can help with many types of stains by using ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide, 2 tbsp of castile soap, and a few drops of lemon essential oil.


5) Based on the type of the following stains, try to do the following based on the items you have or can obtain. After you get home or to a place with more cleaning options, you’ll have more ability to remove the stain remnants permanently.  This can include using bleach (if it’s a white shirt) or applying detergent or baking powder onto the area before putting it into the wash.

PRO TIP: Treat the stain from the back of the shirt fabric, unless guided otherwise. Doing this is more likely to push the stain off the surface, rather than forcing it further into the fabric.

Types of Stain Cleaning Process

Ketchup, Tomato-Based Products

Carefully scrape off the substance above the surface. Soak in cold water 30 minutes. Rub detergent (if available) or similar fabric safe cleaner into the stain. Later, wash in hot water and chlorine bleach.
Oil or Grease Put stain area on paper towel or sponge. Dampen stain with water and rub with bar soap or detergent, if available. Wash in hot water (check to make sure hot water is ok for washing it).
Chewing Gum Put ice or cold water top dampen and scrape off excess gum. Then put the stained area face down on paper towels and sponge with a pretreat product.
Chocolate Based Products Rinse the area with cold water. Add detergent or DIY cleaner (if available) into stain and soak it with cold water. If the stain still does not go away, try to use a sponge on paper towels, then later wash it with hot water and chlorine bleach (assuming it is safe for fabric).
Coffee or Tea Soak in cold water. Rub available cleaner into stain and rinse. If the stain remains, wash it in warm water or hot water with fabric safe solution.
Pen or Marker Ink These can be difficult to remove, depending on the type of pen. Soak the stain with hair spray or place the fabric on sponge or paper towel with available substance and rinse. Utilize a bleach pen if available. If traces of the stain remain, rub detergent into the dampened stain and wash.
Lotions (Hand, Body, etc.) Scrape off substance area above the surface. Blot stain with paper towel. Rub hand dishwashing liquid (if available) into stain and let stand several minutes and rinse. Later, apply a pretreat product and wash in hot water (if safe for fabric.)
Salad Dressing or Mayonnaise Scrape off excess area and put on DIY solution or cleaning product. Wash with hot water (if safe for fabric).
Soft Drinks Rinse stain with cold water immediately. Wash in warm water and cleaning material. In general, soft drinks are highly water based so should be able to clean off without extensive treatment.
Vomit Soak in a solution of one quart warm water, half teaspoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent, and one tablespoon ammonia (if available and safe for fabric). If not available, then blot hot water onto surface, as well as DIY cleaning solution or similar.
Blood Treat stain immediately. Soak 30 minutes or more in cold water. Rub detergent into stain if available. If stain persists, place a small amount of household ammonia on the stain and rub again with detergent. Blood stains can be challenging and may require the application of bleach.


With these tips, you can at least limit the impact of your stains. But how about preventing them in the first place? Well, a good start would be getting a couple stain resistant xShirt men's shirts. The advanced nanotechnology of the shirts repels stains and liquids, keeping your top clean and dry all day long. Less stains means less washing, saving you time and money for the things that really matter. It won’t prevent all stains, but it will certainly help reduce their impact, as well as following the steps above.


Suit Jackets & Pants

Suit Jacket Stain

The good news is that suit jacket blazers and pants are usually darker and therefor more forgiving than light colored shirts. Especially if you get an xSuit, you’ll be much less likely to get However, they are also more expensive and require care to make sure you don’t damage them. 

In general, for a serious stain on a suit that cannot be machine washed, you’ll need to take it to the dry cleaners, who will be equipped to solve it. For machine washable suits such as the xSuit 3.0, then you can apply the methods above for your suit jacket and pants in general. Of course, never use bleaching items on these, as they will cause damage, but using a combination of the DIY solution mentioned above with some gentle application of soap and baking powder is a safe way to help reduce the stain, while keeping your suit in tip-top shape.



Curious to learn more about what is the true cost of dry cleaning? We break it down for you so that you can see how much is time, energy, and money is spent in a year on dry cleaning suits – and what you can do about it