How to Get Stains Out of Khakis (+ Other Money-Saving Stain Removal Tips)

by Reader Contributors

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Our frugal readers share their best tips for getting stains out of khaki pants along with other money-saving tips for removing stains and prolonging the life of clothing.

Dear Dollar Stretcher,
Does anyone know how to get stains out of khakis? Most stain-remover laundry products leave stains themselves on the khakis.

I try hard to make our clothing last as long as possible so any effective tips that will keep me from having to buy my husband new pants would be greatly appreciated!

How Can You Get Stains Out of Khakis?

We asked our frugal readers how they remove stains from khaki pants. They are money-saving pros when it comes to prolonging the life of clothing and had a lot of money-saving tips for us to share. See if one of their solutions will work for your stained khaki clothing.

A Stain Removal Trick from Mom

My mom taught me this laundry stain remover trick 20 years ago and I still use it on a lot of clothes today.

It’s using Lestoil Heavy Duty Multi-Purpose Cleanser®. It is especially good for removing oily or greasy stains, and I have used it on khaki and other colored pants. I make sure to cover the stain with Lestoil® straight from the bottle, enough to lightly coat the stained area, and then toss the clothing right into the washing machine and wash as usual. Don’t let treated clothing sit before washing as some fabrics could get a lightened area.

This tip has saved a lot of clothing in my family!
Betty in Brunswick, Maine

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Try Dawn® Dish Soap for Removing Stains from Khakis

I used it on my son’s khaki shorts when he spilled grape juice on them. I wet the shorts and applied Dawn® liberally to the spot. Then I soaked in cold water overnight and hung the shorts to dry. I then re-washed the shorts.

An Old Fashioned Method

I use lye soap. It is safe for all colors. I live in an area that has an abundance of red clay. I never could get it out. A friend told me she used lye soap. I got some and it really works. Rub it on the stain and scrub with a soft brush. Sometimes I have to repeat several times. Most of the time it takes the stain right out or lightens it enough that a color safe bleach with remove the rest of it.

Simple Green Removes Stains + a Lot More

The best item I have found to remove stains, particularly dirt and grease, is Simple Green®. It is biodegradable, environmentally friendly and does not leave any residue of its own behind.

I use it as my primary cleaning agent for the entire house. The jug provides directions to dilute for different cleaning jobs. It usually lasts me about a year. It’s pretty inexpensive for a primary cleaning agent. It smells great and has no harmful fumes.

Grandma Can Get the Stain Out!

At our local Bed, Bath and Beyond, there is a little bottle called Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover®. It works fabulous. I use it on my husband’s collar on work shirts (filthy from farming) and even my Sunday clothes. You can do a drop or squirt it all over, rub, and then wash. It’s great stuff!

Simply Scrub the Stains Out

Use an old toothbrush and scrub the stain with Ivory® soap and a little water, then wash as usual. Since the soap has no oil in it, the stain and soap should wash out in the laundry cycle.
Lorie P.

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Stain Must Be Removed Before Drying

I have found that the Shout® Advanced Gel does a really good job, but you have to follow certain steps. Spray the stain and saturate the fabric, scrub the gel into both sides of the fabric with an old toothbrush until you have activated the gel with friction, wash as usual, and hang to dry. Do not put it in the dryer or iron it until you’ve inspected the item and verified that the stain came completely out. I then put the item back in with the next load of clothes just to be doubly certain that the whole stain is gone.

And add borax to the laundry when you are washing items known to show what I call “Shadows and Stains.” The borax boosts the power of the detergent so things really come out cleaner. I also use vinegar instead of a commercial softener. It keeps the clothes from getting musty if they sit in the washer before you take them out, and it makes all the soap rinse out of the clothes. Fabric softener or soap residue can leave marks on your pale-colored clothes when they are put into the dryer as well as making you itch if you are sensitive.

A Favorite for Removing Stains from Khaki Clothes

If it happens to be an oil based stain, a bar of Fels-Naptha® soap rubbed to a foam then washed in hot water with your regular detergent usually works. A bar lasts for a long time if you keep it dry between uses.

No Need for Special Stain Removers

You can use whatever detergent you want, but I keep an old shampoo pump bottle filled with liquid Tide 2X under my bathroom sink for just such things as this. I put a few pumps onto the stain, throw it into the dirty clothes hamper, and when I get around to washing it, the stain (99% of the time) comes right out with no side-effects. I never even bother buying laundry stain removers.

This Worked for Removing Stains from My Son’s Khakis

I have used Biz Stain Fighter for khakis that one of my son’s got grass stains on. I soaked the khakis in hot water with the Biz overnight. I washed in warm water as usual with detergent. The stain came right out!
Shelley from IN

Reviewed November 2020

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