Sometimes the hardest part of being an adult is keeping your clothes clean all day. Not making a mess of yourself is like trying to run a marathon with no training. You spend your day dodging coffee spills, toner accidents and foundation smudges and think you’ve made it to the finish line, when you realize your chocolate treat is all over your pants — and boom, an unexpected laundry day. We can’t keep you clean, but we can make it easier to get those spots out of your clothes. Here are 11 common spill culprits and easy ways to remove the stains.

Coffee mug mark isolated on white background

1. Coffee: Running late? What could possibly make your morning worse? Spilling your grande latte down the front of your shirt, that’s what. To make sure your gaffe isn’t a permanent one, pat the spot with a towel soaked in undiluted white vinegar just before you throw it in the wash. Voila!

Wine glass mark isolated on white background

2. Wine: Everybody knows that wine is a girl’s best friend. A wine stain, especially red, on your clothes, however, is your archenemy. To get rid of the outfit-ruining stain, mix three parts hydrogen peroxide with one part liquid detergent and then simply blot. If that doesn’t work, just keep drinking like nothing happened.

Olive oil drizzle on plain background

3. Oil: Got a little out of control with the salad dressing? That EVOO spot doesn’t have to be a permanent one. Sprinkle the damaged fabric with baking soda, soak, then wash.

Bloodstains on a white sheet

4. Blood: Blood happens, and sometimes it appears in the least desirable spots (read: anywhere) — no judgement on how it got there. To go from Red Wedding to squeaky clean, soak the garment in cold water (not hot, as many people believe), and then wash as usual. Easy peasy.

Red lipstick kiss mark on white background

5. Lipstick: While lipstick on your S.O.’s collar seems really cool in the movies, it’s not in real life. To get rid of the lippie on your shirt, just blot with isopropyl alcohol to break up the stain. Using a grease-fighting dish liquid also works in a pinch.

smeared foundation on white background

6. Liquid Foundation: Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you get foundation on your shirt while prepping your face — but there’s no need to toss your go-to white button-down. Pour some hydrogen peroxide onto the spot, working it in with your fingers and then wash in hot water. Spot begone!

ink splatter

7. Ink: Pocket protectors are for the dudes of Weird Science, not a stylish person like yourself. Still, there is an ink stain on your shirt. To make it disappear, dilute the spot with isopropyl alcohol that you apply with a cotton swab. Press firmly on the stain, and then wash as you usually do. Rinse and repeat if it doesn’t work the first go around.

Watercolor stripe green

8. Grass: Picnics in the park are kind of perfect, minus the ants and the grass stains. To get rid of the green streaks, soak your clothes in a mixture of water and laundry detergent. Scrub off the initial debris using an old toothbrush to get the detergent in the stain and then wash. Can’t help you with the ants, though. Sorry.

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9. Sweat: A crisp white t-shirt is so versatile, but a tee with sweat marks on the pits is a lot less chic. To get rid of the yellow underarm stains, soak the shirt in a warm solution of one part water and two parts vinegar for 15-20 minutes. While it’s soaking, mix together baking soda, salt and hydrogen peroxide until it forms a paste. After you remove the shirt from the solution, work your paste into the trouble areas. Let that paste sit for 20 or so minutes. Wash the garment per usual instructions and your problem should be solved.


10. Wax: Did your romantic candlelight dinner or relaxing spa night end with wax on your clothes? Put the article of clothing in the freezer and peel the wax off once frozen. If there’s still residue on the clothes, put cheese cloth on top, iron and peel off the cloth.

hand hold durty white shirt

11. Chocolate: So, you scarfed down a chocolate bar and now you’ve got a melted smudge on the front of your pants — it happens. Instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, try this: Turn your pants inside out, hold them under the tap and turn on the water to dislodge some of the chocolate. Then, rub laundry detergent or dishwashing detergent into the stain until it’s completely saturated. Soak in water for 15 minutes and keep scrubbing every five minutes until the spot is history.

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(Photos via Getty)