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How to Remove Toothpaste Stains From Clothes: Laundry Experts’ Fast Fixes

Plus, the dryer tip you don't want to miss

We’ve all been there. You’re rushing to get ready for work or an appointment, look down and realize you’ve got a glob of toothpaste on your favorite blouse. Unfortunately, you can’t just wipe it away with a damp cloth because toothpaste tends to reappear once the fabric is dry unless it’s cleaned properly. But while you may not be able to wear your shirt that day, the good news is you can easily get the toothpaste mark out for good — with just a kitchen spoon and some basic household ingredients. Act quickly, though, because many toothpastes contain whitening agents that can ruin your clothing. Keep scrolling to learn how to get toothpaste out of clothes, fast!

How to get toothpaste out of clothes of any kind

“The first thing you’ll want to do is scrape away any excess toothpaste left on the clothing,” advises Patric Richardson, “The Laundry Evangelist” and host of The Laundry Guy on Discovery. Scraping away any extra leftover paste will prevent it from getting ground into your clothing once you begin cleaning the mark away. “But don’t rub hard at the material, you’ll only embed the paste into the fabric more,” he says. Once you’ve got that done, move on to cleaning. 

Related:  How to Remove Chocolate Stains From Every Surface in Your Home  

How to get toothpaste out of tightly woven fabrics

Use a laundry bar. Typically found in the laundry aisle with other cleaners, a laundry bar is just what it sounds like — a bar of soap that can be used on your laundry. “This and a soft brush will remove toothpaste most of the time,” says Richardson, “but it can only be used on tightly woven fabrics (think cotton, poplin and denim) that are safe to brush or scrub at just a bit.” After removing the excess paste or gel, moisten a soft brush (a toothbrush will work), brush it across the laundry bar, and use it to gently scrub at the toothpaste mark.

The abrasive and detergent working together will help break up the paste remnants. Once you’ve scrubbed the mark away, rinse the article of clothing with warm water. For fabrics that need gentler handling, this method can be used with a teaspoon or so of laundry detergent diluted in about a cup of warm water. Then, dip a soft, light colored cloth into the mixture and gently blot at the stain until it’s gone. Finish by rinsing with warm water.

See the Queen of Clean use a laundry bar to remove clothing stains below

Don’t have a laundry bar around the house? No problem! Using baking soda on the stain is another option for scrubbing it away. But unlike a laundry bar, you’re only getting the abrasive action of the baking soda, says Richardson.

How to get toothpaste out of clothes using baking soda? Simply moisten a soft scrub brush or toothbrush, dip in baking soda and scrub gently at the material. For tougher stains, pour a drop or two of laundry detergent onto the fabric first, then gently brush at the stain with the toothbrush and baking soda.

Want to mimic the action of the laundry bar? Pour a drop or two of laundry detergent onto the stain before scrubbing with the brush and baking soda, or dilute about a teaspoon of detergent in warm water and use that to moisten the brush before scrubbing. Once again, rinse the area after the stain has lifted away.

Related: Baking Soda Is the Best Way To Soften and Create Glowy Skin (Plus: 9 Other Smart Ways To Use This Pantry Staple)

Out of large-nap clothes like sweaters: Hot water

Use hot water. For both gel toothpaste stains or large nap clothing that can’t be scrubbed — think sweaters! — hot water works well for getting out toothpaste stains, says Richardson. Stretch the article of clothing over a bowl, and pour very hot tap water through the stain and into the bowl. “The force and heat of the running water will dissolve the gel paste away,” he says, “but make sure to use the hottest tap water you can get, considerably hotter than bath water.” You won’t even have to launder the clothing afterward, he notes, unless you want to get rid of that minty fresh smell.

How to get toothpaste out of clothes that are white

Vinegar is another option for removing toothpaste stains on clothing — but it should only be used on whites, says 40-year dry cleaning veteran Ben Combs, owner of Judi’s Cleaners in Sacramento, California. “While the acid in vinegar can break down the toothpaste quickly, if there is a bleaching agent in the toothpaste, it could react with the acid in the vinegar,” he notes. This won’t hurt your whites, but it could cause any other colors to fade. Start by diluting one part vinegar in two parts water. Then dip a white or light-colored cloth in the mixture and dab at the mark until it’s lifted. Once you’re sure it’s gone, rinse the item with cool water to remove any excess vinegar.

Related: 13 Brilliant Uses For White Vinegar Guaranteed To Make Your Life Easier

For tougher white fabrics like T-shirts or jeans? While typically used to remove stains from hardier surfaces like carpeting, a mixture of lemon juice and salt can be used to remove a stubborn toothpaste stain from tough white clothing, according to the folks at Tom’s of Maine. Cut a lemon in half, use the fruit to moisten the stain on the cloth, and then sprinkle it with salt. Next, rub the fabric against itself to embed the salt into the material fibers. The abrasive nature of the salt will help work the lemon juice into the stain, while the acid in the juice will break down the paste that’s causing the mark. Finish by rinsing the fabric with cool water once you’re satisfied the stain has been removed. 

See this method in action on a piece of table linen:

For really stubborn stains on whites? Frequently used on other kinds of stains, this combination will also work well on hardy white clothing items if you’ve got a toothpaste stain that just won’t go away. Mix one-part Dawn dish soap with two-parts hydrogen peroxide and a tablespoon or two of baking soda to create a paste. Apply the paste to the stain, and rub the material together to embed the mixture into the mark. Then let the shirt sit for about an hour with the mixture on the stain. Then launder the item as usual.

Hydrogen peroxide works like bleach to white the material again, while the dish detergent breaks down any oils in the toothpaste and the baking soda is an abrasive. The three together are a super cleaner.

See this stain remover in action here on a white dress shirt:

How to get stubborn toothpaste stains out of clothes

Good old laundry detergent or even dish soap can also save the day. Simply pour just enough to cover the stain, and let it sit for a bit. Then, use a cloth dampened with warm water to blot at the stain until it lifts. This method works great on stubborn toothpaste stains. Because both laundry and dish soap contain surfactants that are meant to break down tough grease and grime, water soluble toothpaste typically dissolves easily with the combination of either detergent and warm water.

See style expert Christie Moeller use dish detergent on toothpaste here:

Related: 10 Brilliant (And Surprising) Uses for Dish Soap

Once you believe you’ve gotten the toothpaste mark out, run the clothing item through the wash and see what it looks like. If the stain is gone, you can toss it in the dryer and be done. But if any remnant of the stain remains, don’t put the item in the dryer, advises Richardson. “Once it goes through the dryer, the stain will be much harder to get out.” Instead, you can try the same stain removal method again — or take the item to a professional cleaner to get the stain out, Richardson says.

For more tricks to lift common stains:

Got Gum Stuck on Your Clothes? Here’s Why You Should Grab the Peanut Butter!

The Household Staple That Works Better Than Detergent To Get Oil Stains Out of Clothes

Laundry Pros Reveal the Best Ways to Get Slime Out of Clothes — Even If It’s Caked On!

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