Sally asked: How do I remove toothpaste from clothing? I got a spot of toothpaste on the lapel of my suit coat. When I went it, the water dries and the spot remains. I really don’t want to take the jacket to the dry cleaners for this tiny spot. The fabric is 85% polyester and 15% rayon. How can I get the spot out?
Many toothpastes contain titanium dioxide powder ,which is what makes them white. When it gets on clothing, it is impossible to dissolve without the presence of a detergent. This is why it comes out easily in the washing machine, but not when you blot it with a wet cloth. Fortunately, if you can clean the spot a little more thoroughly, it can be removed without laundering the entire piece.
You Will Need:
- Dull knife
- Laundry detergent
- Soft cloths
- White vinegar
- Enzyme digester
Steps to Remove the Toothpaste:
- If there is a glob of paste on the fabric, scrape off as much as possible with a dull knife or spoon.
- Moisten a soft cloth with water and blot the stained area.
- Mix a few drops of laundry detergent with a cup of water. (Stain remover can be used in place of the laundry detergent.) Do not put the laundry detergent directly on the stain as it would require a lot of water to be removed, and if it is a dyed detergent, it could leave a dye stain on the fabric.
- Dip the cloth in the sudsy water and gently blot/scrub the toothpaste area.
- Once the detergent penetrates the toothpaste stain, it should release and be removed.
- Blot the spot with water to rinse.
- Allow the spot to air dry.
- If the stain is stubborn, try blotting it with some white vinegar. Don’t worry if the spot foams up, it is just the acid in the vinegar neutralizing the alkalinity of the toothpaste. When the fizzing stops, try cleaning the area with detergent again.
- If the stain still remains, try using an enzyme stain remover, such as Kids ‘N’ Pets. These can be found in the pet aisle of most supermarkets, as well as in the carpet cleaning section. Be sure to get one that specifically says it removes stains. Follow the instructions on the label of your selected product to use it.
Additional Tips and Advice
- If the clothing piece is dry clean only, do not use water or it will leave a spot. There are home dry cleaning stain removal products available by Dryel that can be used on these items.
- If the piece can easily be placed in the washing machine and washed, that will provide the easiest removal method.
- If you are unsure of how the material will react to a cleaning product, test a small, inconspicuous area first, such as the inside of a seam, to ensure there are no adverse reactions with the fabric.
- If the stain is colored, such as red or blue, it may be a dye stain from the dyes in your toothpaste. If so, use the methods in the guide How to Remove Dye Stains from Clothing.
- If the stain looks as though the fibers of the fabric have been lightened, rather than that a stain has been deposited into the fibers, it may be that your toothpaste ‘whitened’ your shirt. The ingredients used to whiten teeth can act as a mild bleach on fabrics. For this, you can try the methods in the article How to Remove Bleach Stains from Fabrics.
- Field Guide to Stains by Virginia M. Freedman, Melissa Wagner, and Nancy Armstrong
- Stain Removal by Stephanie Zia