June 8, 2020

How to pre-treat clothing stains

By Sears PartsDirect staff
How to pre-treat clothing stains.
How to pre-treat clothing stains.

Red wine and chocolates might be synonymous with love, but there’s nothing lovely about the stains they can leave on clothing. Whether it’s wine, chocolate or something else that’s causing your laundry blues, showing your clothes a little love before you throw them in the washer could help them go from blah to bright again.

For more guidance on getting the most from your washer, plus troubleshooting tips and step-by-step repair guides to help fix washer problems, check out our washer repair help page.

For successful stain removal, Kenmore suggests you follow these simple steps.

  • Treat stains promptly, because a stain that sits is a stain that sticks. Check the care label on the stained garment for specific care instructions.

  • Use a pre-wash product, liquid detergent or a paste made from powder detergent and water to pre-treat stains. But first check for colorfastness by testing the stain removal product on an inside seam.

  • The end of this article has instructions for treating specific stains. But if you're not sure what kind of stain you're dealing with, use cold water to reduce the chance of setting the stain.

  • Once you treat the stain, wash the garment.

Stain-removing washer settings

Many washers have a setting that can help remove stains by adding soaking and/or agitation time before the main wash cycle. Look for setting names such as pre-soak, pre-wash or soak. Here are other unique features offered on today’s washers.

  • A steam cycle that allows hot steam to interact with fabrics to help remove tough stains. Don’t use the steam cycle with delicate fabrics such as wool, silk or easily discolored fabrics.

  • A "stain removal guide" button that allows you to indicate the type of stain on a garment (tomato, wine, grass or dirt). The duration or intensity of agitation changes, as does the water temperature, depending on the stain setting you choose.

  • A pre-treat/bleach cycle that adds liquid pre-treaters or liquid bleach at the correct time during the wash cycle.

The owner's manual that came with your washer has advice for using your specific washer model to remove stains.

Specific stain treatments

The most important thing you can do for a stain? Pre-treat it as soon as possible by removing the clothing and flushing the stained area with cold water.

Then, treat stains using these methods suggested on Kenmore.com and in your Kenmore owner’s manual.

Red wine: Coat the stain with salt. Stretch fabric over a bowl or sink and pour a stream of boiling water over the stain.

White wine: Rinse the stain with cold water. Spray with a solution of dish soap mixed with water (1 tablespoon clear dish soap mixed with 10 ounces water).

Baby formula, dairy products, eggs: Use product containing enzymes to pre-treat or soak stains. (Enzymes are a type of protein used to break down other protein or grease stains and dirt. Enzymes can be found in detergents and stain removal products.) Soak for 30 minutes or more. Wash.

Symptoms common to all washers

Choose a symptom to see related washer repairs.

Main causes: leaky water inlet valve, faulty water-level pressure switch, bad electronic control board
Main causes: lack of electrical power, wiring failure, bad power cord, electronic control board failure, bad user interface board
Main causes: water heater failure, bad water temperature switch, faulty control board, bad water valve, faulty water temperature sensor
Main causes: unbalanced load, loose spanner nut, worn drive block, broken shock absorber or suspension spring, debris in drain pump
Main causes: broken lid switch or lid lock, bad pressure switch, broken shifter assembly, faulty control system
Main causes: clogged drain hose, house drain clogged, bad drain pump, water-level pressure switch failure, bad control board or timer
Main causes: worn agitator dogs, bad clutch, broken motor coupler, shifter assembly failure, broken door lock, suspension component failure
Main causes: no water supply, bad water valves, water-level pressure switch failure, control system failure, bad door lock or lid switch
Main causes: bad lid switch or door lock, bad timer or electronic control board, wiring failure, bad water inlet valve assembly

Articles and videos common to all washers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your washer.

January 3, 2022

Why is my washing machine leaking when not in use?

By Lyle Weischwill

Learn how to fix a washing machine leak

December 30, 2021

How to fix a washing machine

By Lyle Weischwill

Learn how to fix your broken washing machine

April 10, 2020

Cleaning your appliances after a drinking water advisory

By Julie Riebe

Find out how to clean and flush household appliances once a boil water advisory is lifted.