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Sometimes you really need the big guns when it comes to laundry stain removal. As a mum, one of the first things I realised is that I would need a new arsenal of tips and tricks to get on top of removing all the spots and stains from my little girl’s clothes. And I preferred to learn how to remove stains from clothes naturally, in a way that didn’t irritate her baby soft skin. So here are some of the natural stain removers that I discovered were best for getting everything clean with the minimal impact on the environment.
- 15 Natural Stain Removers That Work!
15 Natural Stain Removers That Work!
The only problem with all the cleaning products on the market today is that they are packed full of chemical ingredients that harm the planet. Yes, they do the job admirably. But at what cost?
Every time we use these chemicals, they get into our water supply and food chain. And they can also cause allergies, irritations and some have even been linked to cancer.
Add this to the plastic bottles that they all come in, and you end up with a real issue.
So read on for some natural stain removers that will do the job. Some are totally natural as coming from nature, others are man made yet are much more eco friendly and do the stain removal using a natural process. All are less harmful or not harmful at all to the environment. Get rid of any tough stain you find using one of these.
White vinegar is one of the best natural stain removers for clothes. You can use white vinegar on urine stains as a deodoriser. And it is great at getting out stains from tomatoes, mud and grass. Spot clean using white vinegar in a spray bottle or soak your garment for 1 – 2 hours, then wash as normal. Have coloured fabric? Then a colour test is recommended.
Bicarbonate of soda
Bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda) is also a brilliant product to always have in your cupboards. And is useful in so many ways, not just for baking!
Best used for mud, grass and perspiration stains, bicarbonate of soda is a fantastic natural stain remover. It is safe and non-toxic and works on most surfaces to clean and deodorise them.
In your laundry room it can be added when hand washing items and it will help break down protein stains such as sweat and blood. Baking soda stain remover is particularly good for armpit stains. Make it into a paste with a little bit of water and leave it on the stain for 30 minutes. Then wash as usual.
You probably wouldn’t think of cornflour as being a useful cleaning agent, but it is an incredibly useful item to have as a diy stain remover. It is brilliant for tackling grease stains in particular.
Sprinkle onto the fabric and rub gently. Leave for 30 – 60 minutes to let the stain be absorbed by the cornflour and then brush the resulting powder off. Launder as normal.
Next on my natural stain removers is an old fashioned home remedy – glycerine. Glycerine pretty much used to be a staple in my mum and grandmother’s cupboards, and this sticky liquid was much used in our home medicines. But it is also a really useful stain remover, especially for tannin stains.
Mix glycerine 50:50 with water then work into the back of the stain. Leave it for 30 minutes and launder as normal. You should find the stain has been eliminated.
Salt is a great stain remover when it comes to rust, blood and grease stains. Simply prepare a thick paste of salt and water and apply this to the stain. Salt will lift the blood or rust stain and then wash the garment as normal.
However, salt does also leave stains in certain items, so do a spot test before trying this on delicate items.
Milk is the original enzyme cleaner. And particularly useful if you have juice, wine or washable ink staining. Boiling the milk first is said to have an even greater effect. Soak the stain in warm milk for about half an hour, fully saturating the stain. Then wash immediately afterwards with soapy water to remove the fatty milk residue. Do not let the milk dry on the garme
As an aside, use your old milk to wipe down marble or lacquered surfaces. The acid in the milk gets rid of grime and dirt, and the fats leave the surfaces lustrous and moisturised.
A natural stain remover that you probably do know about already is lemon juice. Due to its acidic properties, lemon juice is a mild bleach. It has so many uses when you are aiming for eco friendly cleaning. But here is how you use it for stain removal.
Apply directly to the stain and leave to dry. This is particularly effective on white fabrics and if left in the sun works doubly fast. On coloured fabrics a colour test is recommended.
Rubbing Alcohol is also a brilliant home stain remover. And works particularly well on ink or paint stains. Blot through or soak the stain and then wash to get rid of the residue.
A naturally distilled oil, you may think that the pungent eucalyptus oil is more at home in the medicine cabinet, but it is also useful for thick tar, oil and grease stains.
Add a few drops directly to the stain and leave for 10-15 minutes. Rub gently for thick tar stains. Air dry and repeat if the stain isn’t completely removed.
Another home remedy stain remover that you probably wouldn’t think of straight away is soda water. The weakly acidic water and carbon dioxide mix is a brilliant first response for spills and stains. And it is particularly useful for tannin stains. such as tea, coffee and red wine.
Just soak the stain with soda water and then wash the garment as usual.
Soda water is also a brilliant natural stain remover for carpet stains such as red wine for this same reason! Simply pour some soda water on the stain soon after the spillage occurs, then dab it with a soft clean cloth.
Sometimes one of the most useful things you can use is just a simple answer – a bar of natural soap. This is especially useful for grease stains.
Soap is such a useful thing when it comes to collars and cuffs because it can be rubbed onto the stain in a really precise way prior to washing the garment in hot water.
But never use soap on tannin stains.
Washing up liquid
Again, another very simple idea but one that is very useful is using dish soap for your laundry as well as your crockery and cutlery. If you have grease stains, then a colourless, biodegradable, fragrance free, plant based washing detergent should be your first thought.
Apply directly to the stain and agitate the fabric. Then rinse in hot water to remove the soap residue and the stain.
The most natural stain remover for clothes is the rays of the sun itself. Especially when you need a stain remover for white clothes, but I have also found that it is perfect for bleaching stains on period pads and cloth nappies (cloth diapers). If you can get a lot of good sunlight you can remove tough stains without any need for harsh chemicals at all.
Have a spot on a garment? Just use one of the appropriate natural clothes stain remover ideas above and leave it on a sunny windowsill for an hour or so. You will usually find that the spot has lifted and once the item is washed as part of your usual laundry routine it has gone.
Hydrogen peroxide is also a brilliant natural laundry stain remover for clothes. Although this is a man made chemical it works in a very natural way, breaking down into eco friendly chemical byproducts. You can buy this in pure liquid form as well as having it in powder form as sodium percabonate. And it is best used on white clothes.
As a natural bleaching agent it is perfect particularly as a stain remover for white shirts and clothes. Put it in a darkened spray bottle as a DIY stain remover spray for clothes. Use a 50/50 solution of peroxide and water to soak your stain away. Or add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your wash to brighten whites that have gone a bit dingy.
Lastly, we have a natural stain remover that you may not have heard of. Again the chemical sodium percarbonate is man made and is often the active ingredient in a lot of the proprietary laundry stain removers and cleaning products that you may have used before, but those stain removers also have other chemicals and perfumes added, which aren’t really needed.
Sodium per carbonate on its own is far more eco friendly, and is especially good for those really tough stains such as ground in dirt and blood. I use it all the time with my homemade reusable cloth period pads.
It comes as a powder, and as you add it to boiling water you can soak or boil your stained garments. As it gets to work as a homemade stain remover it breaks down and releases the perfectly natural products hydrogen peroxide and carbon dioxide. You can see the bubbles getting to work on the stains, and the oxygen bleach action of peroxide really does the job.
Love This Post On Natural Stain Removers? Why Not Read Some Of My Other Zero Waste and Eco Friendly Posts?
I love to show you really easy ways that you can make the small changes that add up to make a big impact on how eco friendly you are. So why not read these other posts I have written?
- Zero Waste Projects For Your Home
- 100 Eco Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas
- How To Make Clothes Last Longer
- Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps
- Zero Waste Kitchen Swaps
I have loads of sustainable solutions and green cleaning ideas on my site so why not go take a look?
Now you know how you can start removing stains from clothes naturally do you think that you will be having a go at these? Do you use any other natural stain removers that you could recommend? Any tips you think may help? I love to see what you are doing, so please do comment below, or tag me on social media.
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