Orange Hand Cleaner from automotive supply stores can be the total bomb at getting out tough stains from clothing. You can even mix orange cleaners with hydrogen peroxide, right on the stain, for a total-mega cleaner like no other.
First put a dollop of orange hand cleaner on the stain. Rub gently. Then spray* with (or pour) some hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) on top and on the back of the stain too. Again rub gently to mix it in a little. Wait about an hour and wash. If I have a stain that will not budge this combo is my last-resort, go-to power-duo. Simple, easy, economical, works.
Don’t get me wrong, rubbing laundry bar soaps like Zote or Fels Naptha also works wonders. But sometimes we need more than one tool in the ol’ stain-fighting toolbox. Actual soaps work by a different process than orange cleaners so while one might work great for some spots and stains the other may work better for others.
Have you ever pealed an orange only to discover that the ink from a sticker or stamp dissolves in the oils released from the peal of an orange? That’s the idea.
Other orange cleaners can be good too including “Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover,” but I find orange hand cleaners both work really well and are very economical.
They are extremely good at cutting through grease, oil, many kinds of paint, and sticky stuff like tar and adhesives. They are made to get thick, black automotive oil off of skin (which is a porous material when you think about it).
Many of them contain pumice to help scrub away the dirt and stain. This can be helpful since all you need to do is rub very gently to power out even old stubborn stains, but you’ll also want to be careful that you don’t rub too hard and damage the fabric. When in doubt always test in a hidden location. Some orange hand cleaners are available in a smooth formula with no pumice or grit, so look for that if it’s an issue. Sometimes the Dollar Tree carries tubes of the non-gritty kind. And it’s only one dollar!
Since orange hand cleaners are good at removing adhesive, you’ll also find that many of them are good at removing the sticky residue left behind by price tags and labels on a variety of housewares.
Can be used for stains on carpets too but you will want to do a test spot and you’ll need to rinse/blot to remove all the cleaner from the carpet or it will leave a residue that will attract dust and new grime.
Not all orange hand cleaners from automotive stores are created equal. Some advertise themselves as being all natural and some contain petroleum distillates. Some say both natural and they contain petroleum distillates (like mineral spirits) so read the ingredients to know for sure. Technically petroleum does come out of the ground. Does that make it natural? If you have sensitive skin you might try the non-petroleum cleaner first. Either kind is “safe” for cleaning your hands as long as you rinse thoroughly. And you’d only be using a few dollops in a load of laundry. You may want to rinse twice if your skin is really sensitive.
Also even if you don’t do much in the way of working on your own automobile, it’s nice to have some of this stuff on hand for messy craft projects too.
There are lots of brands. Gojo and Fast Orange are two popular ones. There’s also Goop orange hand cleaner and Puple Power Heavy Duty Orange hand cleaner. Right now I have Gojo and Purple Power to see which I like better.
*Some time after I posted how peroxide in a spray bottle is great for stains I discovered that you can buy the H2O2 already in a spray bottle. I did not know. Well, fine. That works. It’s very handy. And you can refill that little spray bottle from a larger, cheaper bottle so all is good and right in the world.