Natural Stain Removers (and Why You Should Use Them)

If youíve ever knocked over a glass of red wine, spilled coffee or misjudged a forkful of curry, youíll know these mishaps only ever occur†when youíre wearing white. Life happens. You can either cry over the spilled wine or clean it up (and then pour some more).

Understanding how stain removers work is helpful,†but it’s by no means imperative. Especially†if avoiding†an unsightly stain is your main priority.†(You can entertain†your inner-science geek some other time.)

One approach is to use a regular store-bought stain remover. It will probably do the job, but chances are itís also full of harmful chemicals. Why put your health at risk for the sake of a blouse (even if it is your favorite) when you donít have to?

Besides, there are plenty of natural stain removers you can use that donít have words like poison, corrosive or irritant on the label.†Making your own non-toxic cleaning kit†doesnít require too much in the way of special ingredients. In fact, you more than likely already have most of them on hand already.

If youíd rather buy your cleaning products (I get it, we canít all be all off-the-grid hippies), make sure†they don’t contain any potentially toxic chemicals. The Environmental Working Groupís guide to healthy cleaning†is a handy tool for this purpose.


1. Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is a must in the laundry room. Whether youíre after brighter, whiter clothes or simply want to remove those horrible underarm perspiration stains, vinegar is your guy. Adding a cup of vinegar to the final rinse will also leave your clothes feeling soft and, weirdly, smelling fresh.

2. Lemons

It turns out lemons are good for more than just tequila shots. Slice a lemon in half, add it it to a pot of boiling water and throw in your old, stained socks. Simmer for an hour and then hang them to dry on the washing line. The sun will continue the job, making them even whiter.

3. Talc, Cornstarch or Chalk

Junk food is fun, except when you end up with oil stains on your pants. Unless, of course, you have talc, cornstarch or plain white chalk on hand to save the day. The trick is to treat the stain immediately. Sprinkle the affected area with talc, leave for 10 minutes and then wash.

4.†Table Salt

Yummy on fries and perfect for absorbing those pesky red wine spills. Pour a liberal amount of salt onto the wine and leave it to soak up the liquid. Be sure to brush off the dried salt before washing, as it will stain if you donít. If you forget, hereís how to remove salt stains.

5. Baking Soda

Baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda, as itís also known) is another excellent natural stain remover. Combine†a cup of bicarb with half a cup of water and mix into a paste to apply on stains before washing. Helpfully, bicarb†also removes unpleasant odors.

Tip: always treat stains from the back, rather than the front, to avoid rubbing the stain in more. Thanks†to Wellness Mama for this handy piece of laundry advice.

Remember, the natural approach isnít just good for dealing with stains. You can clean your toilet, keep your shower shiny and even make your own scrubbing cleansers to get rid of†grimy bath rings.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Ruth S
Ruth Sabout a month ago


Cindy S
Cindy Sabout a month ago


Clare O
Clare O1 months ago


Clare O
Clare O1 months ago

I wear mostly black socks so boiling them with lemons won't help

Sue H
Sue H1 months ago

Helpful information, thanks.

Cindy S
Past Member 1 months ago

good tips

Mia G
Mia G2 months ago

thank you

Margie F2 months ago


Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson3 months ago


Carl R
Carl R3 months ago