To help remove a stain from clothing, treat before washing.

How to Get a Balsimic Vinegar Stain Out of a White Dress Shirt

by LaMont Jones, Jr.

Few things can ruin a delicious meal faster than spilling food on your clothes. It’s even worse when the spill is something prone to staining, such as balsamic vinegar, and the garment is a crisp white dress shirt. The key to restoring your top is attacking the stain as quickly as possible with an effective treatment.

Blot the stain immediately. Do not rub, as doing so can cause the stain to spread. Use a clean white cloth, as dye in a colored cloth could transfer onto the shirt. Blotting is important whether you are going to attempt stain removal right away or you have to wait.

Pour the warm water into the bucket and measure in the oxygen bleach powder, stirring until it is dissolved. Substances dissolve faster in liquid when you stir with forward and backward movement rather than in a circular motion. Completely dissolving the powder in the water could take several minutes.

Submerge the shirt in the wash. Soak it for several hours, checking periodically to ensure the garment -- particularly the stained area -- remains wet. If necessary, use the spoon to poke exposed material below the water’s surface.

Remove the shirt from the solution and wash it according to instructions on the tag. Use the gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after placing the shirt in the washer. Use a laundry detergent formulated with enzymes to help break down and separate the stain from the clothing fibers.

Items you will need

  • 1/2 gallon very warm water
  • 4 to 6 ounces of oxygen bleach powder
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Long-handled spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Rubber or plastic gloves (optional)


  • Make sure your soaking water is very warm without being scalding hot.
  • When washing the garment, use water as hot as the garment's care tag allows.
  • Although oxygen bleaches tend to be non-chlorine and formulated with hydrogen peroxide and natural solvents, you may want to wear gloves as a safety precaution -- especially if you have sensitive skin.
  • The oxygen bleach is a laundry pre-treatment, so it's not necessary to apply other products to the stain before laundering it.


  • Strictly follow the instructions on your oxygen bleach, as it may become ineffective after being mixed with water for a certain amount of time.
  • Some oxygen bleaches may discolor garments made of silk or wool.
  • Mixing chlorine bleach with some oxygen bleaches may release toxic chlorine gas.

About the Author

LaMont Jones was an award-winning fashion and beauty editor for a decade at the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette." A five-time nominator and judge of the CFDA Awards, he covers New York Fashion Week regularly. Jones is a 2011 inductee into the Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame and coaches fashion models.

Photo Credits

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