The best natural remedies to remove stains

It happened to all of us at least once in our life: a wine stain on that white new dress, a coffee spill from your beloved take away cup (even if by now we hope you have switched to a re-usable keep cup – wink), your pet marking its territory on your rug or your kid deciding that crawling on the grass is much more fun ( and honestly, can you blame him?)

And how many times you have stared at that stain horrified and not knowing what to do rather than running to the laundry machine and pray hard that it would work its magic?

Yes, our concentrated laundry detergent strips and vegan laundry stain stick are amazing and have reportedly taken out the toughest stains but if you need an extra natural boost to remove your stains, we have put together a list of natural home remedies that will come to the rescue without filling your laundry with harsh chemicals.

Your three new best friends will be White Vinegar, Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide (available in any supermarkets and chemists) but we also have many other Old Wives’ Tale tips: to each type of stain its natural remedy.


Wine stains

With wine, it’s always best to act very fast: the best natural cleaning hack is to immediately pour salt on the stain to absorb the extra liquid and moisture. Then brush it off and rinse your garment with hot water.

An old wives’ tale uses baking soda and white wine (yes, we know, it sounds crazy to treat a wine stain with wine!) and guarantees great results on bot wet and set in wine stains.

Here it’s how it works: prepare a paste with 2 tbsp of white vinegar and 2 tsp of baking soda and gently rub it on the stain with your fingers. If the stain is quite large, just duplicate or triplicate the quantities but always aiming at a soft paste, not too liquid or hard.

After this treatment, wash as usual and admire your as clean as new shirt!

If it’s your carpet that got stained with wine (and we can imagine the horror on your face when that happened!), you can try to blot the stain away with a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide but be careful: it can bleach darker carpets. When finished, blot the treated area with a damp clean cloth, the colour will even out in a couple of weeks.


Grease and oil stains

It’s important to act when the spill is still fresh: sprinkle it with a generous amount of baby powder or corn starch and let it dry. It will form a sort of paste that you can brush off before washing. If the stain is set in or you have already washed your garment with no results, fret not: wet the stain, rub our laundry stain stick on it, let is sit for a few minutes and then wash.

We have also read about sprinkling the stain with dry baking soda, instead of baby powder, brushing it off and then soaking in white vinegar for 15 minutes but we have yet to try this method as ours has always worked a treat!


Tea or coffee stains 

There’s a high chance a coffee stain will happen when you are not at home and obviously are not carrying vinegar with you (now that we think of it, travel size vinegar bottles can become the next natural cleaning business!)

So, while for bigger spills that don’t seem to budge, soaking your garment overnight in 3 parts vinegar and 1 part cold water is still the best solution, there are two other ingredients that might even be available in that very same café you are sitting at: lemon juice or soda water.

In both cases, you will need to soak a clean cloth in the liquid and dab the stain away until it’s gone. And then you’ll have to hope the toilets still have one of those old hair dryers to dry your garment out a little (yes, it happened to all of us to try to dry our shirt in weird positions after a crazy faucet splashed water all over us...)

You can also try to run boiling hot water over the spill but again, if you are out and about, we wouldn’t want you to burn yourself!

And what if your coffee stain is on your carpet or countertop?

For carpets, we recommend soaking a clean cloth in a solution of two teaspoons of dishwashing detergent per two cups of warm water (if you are using our laundry detergent strips, a small 1cm piece is enough) and damping the stain from the outside in to prevent further spreading, always moving to a clean portion of the cloth once it absorbs the coffee. Finish it off by dipping a new clean cloth in plain water to rinse the spot completely.

For coffee stains on your countertop, rub it away gently with a solution of 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide per two cups of cool water.


Tomato-based stains 

In this case, the best natural solution will be to treat the area with white vinegar by rubbing it gently in the fabric and then wash your garment immediately. For set in stains, try to wet and rub the area with a laundry stain stick, let it work for a couple of hours and then wash.


Mud stains

It’s best to let the stain dry so that you can brush off as much as possible. Then, create a paste with borax and water, scrub it on the stain (be careful to not ruin the fabric by using brushes too harsh) and wash.

If your carpet has a mud stain, brush it off when dry, then wet the area with cold water, rub it with a laundry soap bar or laundry stain stick and remove all the excess soap with water and then vinegar.


Rust stains

As for mud stains above, try to remove as much as possible before treatment. Then soak the stain in lemon juice, sprinkle salt directly on it and let the mixture react overnight.

Rinse your rust stain with cool water (do not use hot water here, as it will set the stain!) and repeat if necessary.


Grass stains

Treat grass stains with a laundry stain remover by working it into the fabric with your fingers and setting it aside for 15 minutes. Then wash as usual.

You can also take a small piece of our concentrated laundry detergent strips, position it on the stain and form a paste with a couple of water drops that you’ll gently rub in. If the stain still persists, let the clothes soak overnight in a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide and then wash.

And then there is another crazy natural hack: soak the stain in cheap vodka and launder as usual. Apparently, this works on ink stains as well, but we are yet to try! In this case, the recommendation is to work from the outside edge of the stain towards the centre with a cotton bud soaked in vodka, changing it every time it absorbs a bit of ink.


Underarm yellow sweat stains

We are all for using our clothes for as long as possible and there is nothing more annoying that those underarm sweat stains that make your white shirt look old and smelly.

The main trick here is to pre-treat all your white shirts before each washing, even if no stain is still visible. This will prolong their life and prevent the deodorant or sweat stain from setting in.

The best solution that has always worked a treat for us is to pre-treat the area with a laundry stain stick and then wash as usual. You can also mix together four tbs of baking soda with just enough water to form a paste and gently rub it into the stains for a few minutes before washing your clothes.

If the stains are particularly old, try with a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and let is sit for 5 minutes before washing.


Blood stains (and other protein-based stains like urine or egg)

Do. Not. Use. Warm. Water. Ever.

Warm water will actually set the stain in and trap in odor. Always flush your stain out under cold water keeping your garment wrong side up.

For larger or more set in stains, let them soak in cold soapy water (yes, our laundry detergent strips dissolve even in freezing cold water!) and add a cup of white vinegar to remove the odor.

Rinse and repeat until you are happy with the result before throwing your clothes in the laundry machine with an additional mixture of half a cup of hydrogen peroxide and half a cup of baking soda (if necessary).

If your pet has left a urine puddle on your carpet (we all love them to bits but sometimes they are hard work!), immediately soak the liquid up by using old cloths, always moving to a clean dry section of the cloth when it became damp. Then saturate the carpet area with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and cold water (remember what we said before about not using warm water on this type of stains) and blot the solution away.

When the carpet is dry, sprinkle baking soda and then spray it with a mixture of half cup of hydrogen peroxide and 2 cups of cold water. Blot away the moisture and let it dry away from direct heat.

If you don’t have carpet but hard flooring, you might be tempted to use bleach to kill the odour but please don’t.

Apart from being seriously dangerous for pets, bleach won’t work but will do quite the opposite: dogs, in fact, are pretty attracted toward its very strong smell and associate it to urine’s smell so all you’ll be doing is actually encouraging them to do it again in the very same spot.


Every other type of stains

Try treating the stain by soaking or dabbing it in either lemon juice, or vinegar, or a mix of 50/50 hydrogen peroxide and water.


One final note:

We can’t take responsibility if a garment gets damaged by following these stain remover tips so please always read the care instructions labels of your clothes carefully and remember that even natural remedies can be quite portentous.


Cover photo by Christian Bowen on Unsplash

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