How to Get Stains Out of White Jeans, Because It's Inevitably Going to Happen This Summer

Summer is here, and that means stores are flooding with white clothes that you can’t wait to wear. If you’re someone who tends to spill coffee on herself on her way to work, then you might be tempted to stick to an all-black wardrobe 365 days a year. But just because you def will stain your white clothes doesn’t mean you have to rock your winter colors all summer long. From ice cream to rosé to iced coffee, there are so many great things in the summer that make it extremely difficult to not stain your white jeans. But don’t worry—here are some ways to get those stains out.

1. Avoid bleach (or don’t use it too much, at least)

While bleach might seem like a go-to substance to whiten your white jeans, Madewell warns that using bleach will actually cause white denim to yellow over time. Why? Though it may make your denim whiter initially, the harsh chemicals will break down fibers and remove white color, making the jeans more susceptible to staining, according to Canadian Living.

2. Treat stains right away

This might seem impossible if you stain your clothes while you’re out doing something or you just got to work (and TBH, when do you ever stain your clothes at a convenient time?), but even if you can’t fully take care of things, you should treat it as much as you can. ELLE recommends putting pressure on the stain with a moist paper towel for a minute or two will keep the stain from spreading. You could also try using an on-the-go product, Canadian Living suggests, like a Tide to Go pen.

3. Use warm—not super hot—water

According to Madewell, warm water (about the temperature you would shower in) will increase your chances of removing the stain. If the water is too hot, it can not only cause shrinking but could also bake the stain into the fabric, so make sure you test the temperature of the water before you rinse your stain. 

4. Use a DIY mixture for treatment

Even your normal fabric softener can make your white jeans turn yellow over time, Canadian Living reports. So when you’re ready to toss them in the washing machine, try using ½ cup of baking soda to whiten your jeans as a replacement for your fabric softener. If you’re not ready to try washing your jeans in the machine, you can use a simple DIY treatment on the stains. Spoon University suggests creating a mixture of one part dish soap, two parts hydrogen peroxide and a little baking soda stirred together. Apply the mixture to your jeans, then wash them in a warm water cycle.

Another alternative, according to GQ, is to treat the stain with sparkling water and salt, then scrub. After that, add dish soap and scrub some more. Madewell suggests using different mixtures depending on the type of stain. If you’re treating a coffee stain, scrub with a mix of warm water and dish soap. For wine stains, try warm water and hydrogen peroxide instead. 

5. Take care of your jeans

There are also preventive measures you can take to make your white jeans last longer. Canadian Living suggests washing your jeans inside out, whereas Madewell warns that you should avoid washing your jeans in a washing machine too much to make them last longer (and who's going to complain about doing less laundry, anyway?)

6. Sometimes, a dry cleaner might be your best option

Part of treating a stain is knowing when to take your jeans to a dry cleaner, according to ELLE. In particular, if the stain is oil-based or an older stain that you didn’t treat right away, you might want to leave the treatment to the professionals.

Though staining your clothes is a total bummer, treating these stains doesn't have to be super complicated. If you'd rather not deal with the (basically) inevitable stains, that's okay too: blue jeans and black jeans are fashionable, regardless of the season.