Removing Vitamin and Fish Oil Gel Cap Stains From Clothes

fish oil caps
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Vitamin gel caps and other health supplements may be great for our well-being but not for our clothes. If you are guilty of stashing your daily requirements in a pocket to take a bit later—but then, forget—here's how to remove the stains.

Removing Vitamin and Fish Oil Stains From Washable Clothes

Almost all of the products contain food dyes that give them their distinctive color. So, the first step is to remove the dye (and deal with any oily stains afterwards). You can use the same dye removal process on white, colored or print fabrics. Just remember to use oxygen-based bleach, not chlorine bleach!

If at all possible, treat the stains before you dry the clothes on high heat. The heat will only set the dye stains and make them even harder to remove. Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Oxygen Bleach, or Seventh Generation Oxygen Bleach are brand names) and cool water. Follow the package directions as to how much product per gallon of water. Submerge the stained items and allow them to soak for at least eight hours. Check the clothes and if the dye stains are gone, wash as usual. If they remain, mix a fresh batch of oxygen bleach solution and soak for another eight hours, then wash following the care label guidelines.

If there are oily stains (fish oil) remaining after the dye is gone, treat the stained area with a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent (Tide or Persil are leading brands that have enough enzymes to break down the oil) or a stain remover that attacks grease. Rub the detergent into the stained area with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush and let it work for fifteen minutes before washing in the hottest water temperature recommended for the fabric. Inspect the stained area before drying and repeat the process if necessary.

If there is an excessive odor from the fish oil, add one cup of baking soda to the wash cycle. Or, soak the garment in a solution of one-gallon water and one cup baking soda overnight.

Removing Stains From Dry Clean Only Clothes

If the garment is dry clean only, point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner. If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

Removing Stains From Carpet and Upholstery

Lift away any solid parts of the capsule from carpet fibers using a dull knife. Do not rub because it will only push the oil deeper into the carpet and make the stain larger.

Sprinkle the stain with cornstarch, baking soda or talcum powder to absorb the oil. Use a soft bristle brush to work the powder into the carpet. Allow the absorbing powder to sit on the stain for at least fifteen minutes. Next, vacuum to remove the powder. 

Following the product instructions, blot the stain with a dry cleaning solvent, Use a clean white cloth or paper towel. Keep blotting until no more oil is transferred from the carpet to the cloth.

If you do not have a dry cleaning solvent or carpet cleaning product, mix one tablespoon of hand dishwashing detergent in two cups hot water. Add one tablespoon household ammonia. Blot the stain with a sponge or soft bristled brush dipped in the cleaning solution then with a dry paper towel until the stain is removed. 

Be sure to "rinse" the area with a cloth dipped in plain water to remove any soapy residue that will attract more soil. Repeat the cleaning steps until no more stain remains.

If a gel cap explodes on a couch or chair cushion, use the same cleaning solutions and techniques recommended for carpet. Take care not to over-saturate the fabric because excess moisture in the cushion or filling can cause problems.

If the upholstery is vintage or silk, consult a professional upholstery cleaning company or if you need more stain removal tips.