Red stains in cotton are one of the things most individuals try desperately to avoid. The reason is because they are notoriously difficult to remove. When the stain is set (from being dried in the dryer or because the stain is old), it’s even more difficult.
Soak the cotton in cold water. Cold water should be applied to the stain as soon as possible. Run a sink full of cold water and allow the cotton to soak for a few hours. This will weaken the hold the red substance has on the fibers of the cotton and make it easier for you to get the stain out. Do not dry the cotton yet—even if it has been dried already. That will only set the stain and make it even more difficult to get out.
Create a stain remover.There are a few different homemade stain removers that work wonders on red stains—even if they’re set. Mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and concentrated laundry soap and rub it into the stain. Allow the homemade stain remover to saturate the stain and soak for about 30 minutes. Another great stain remover is lemon juice or equal parts of vinegar and water. Each of these removers should be allowed to soak for half an hour.
Rub the stain. Once you’ve allowed your homemade stain remover to soak for 30 minutes, rub the fabric that contains the stain back and forth on itself. This will further loosen the hold the stain has on the cotton fibers. See if the stain is lifting at all–it may be lighter than it was or it may be removed completely.
Rinse the fabric. Rinse the fabric thoroughly in clean, cold water after you have agitated and worked the stain. At this point, if the stain is still present, you may want to apply more of your homemade stain remover and allow it to soak for another 30 minutes.
Wash the fabric in cold water with your regular laundry detergent. When the wash is finished, check the fabric for the stain. If the stain is gone, you can go ahead and dry the fabric. However, if the stain is only lighter or is not removed at all, you will need to repeat steps 1-4 again. If the stain is particularly stubborn, you may need to repeat this process several times before the stain is actually gone. Using the steps above, you can effectively remove a set red stain from a garment or piece of fabric.