Originally Posted by VMan
Haha, J, I'll type it up for ya:
Step 1: Soak shirt in a solution made from one gallon hot water (as hot as it will come out of the faucet) and one cup of vinegar. Let the shirt soak for 30 mins to 2 hours.
Step 2: Rinse shirts, and squeeze out excess water. Empty bucket and rinse. In a cup, prepare a concentrated Oxy-Clean solution. Make sure to use the Oxy-Clean granules that come in the tub. Make the solution about 10 parts HOT water to one part O-C. Usually this amounts to two scoops of O-C (using the provided scoop) per 4-6 ounces of water. You want this to be very concentrated.
Step 3: Apply the strong solution generously to the stained areas. Place the shirts in a bucket (so that the solution doesn't flow away, or dry) with the stained areas towards the bottom of the bucket so they stay nice and covered in the solution. Allow to soak overnight. It can also help to use an old toothbrush and scrub the stained areas every hour or so, if you've got the time.
Step 4: In the morning, remove the shirts from bucket. Fill the bucket with a gallon of hot water, and two scoops of the Oxy-Clean (basically, follow the recipe on the package for a general cleaning solution) and mix well. Place the shirts in the bucket, and soak for 2-24 hours. This just helps to remove any trace of stain. You might want to stir the shirts around with your hands after you put them in the bucket with the weaker solution just to remove some of the stronger solution that is still on the shirts.
Step 5: Remove, and wash/rinse in the regular cycle on your washing machine.
Note: I find that this normally removes sweat/dirt stains from the armpit, neck, and cuff with ease. For really strong stains, you might have to repeat the process a few times. However, with this, I've been able to remove some major sweat stains that have been set into shirts for five years, at least.
Bump for a great thread. Used it just now on 1 white t-shirt, 1 plain white button-down, 1 striped white button-down, 1 pale green button-down. I just used a pretty truncated version of this due to lack of time: 2 hours for the vinegar soak, 2 hours for the strong oxi solution, and overnight with the weaker solution. I'm hang drying them now. The fabric's still wet so I don't know if the stains are completely gone, but they are definitely significantly reduced. The white button down especially look very bright and vibrant. The green shirt doesn't appear to have faded at all. I will be trying this next week on a couple shirts that are MUCH more stained and reporting back.
FYI, allegedly you can get very similar results to Oxiclean using just sodium percarbonate, which is available at hardware stores in bulk quantities for much cheaper than oxiclean. From what I've heard, oxiclean is 50-60% sodium percarbonate, the rest being surfactants to help break up oils and then probably filler and scents. Not that oxiclean is that expensive, anyway.
Has anyone tried this with food stains? I had a stain on one of my favorite casual button-downs that I didn't catch before I gave it to hotel laundering. I imagine they threw it in a dryer so it's probably heat set as well. I'd be super bummed if I had to throw it out (or wear it exclusively tucked in) because of the stain.