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What to Use When You Need a Natural Stain Remover

Grass stains, red wine stains, mysterious stains that appear on your favourite shirt! Don't reach for toxic chemicals. We've got a heap of ideas that you can reach for when you want a natural stain remover.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a great way to remove stains from whites. Squeeze some lemon juice over the stain, and add a bit of salt. Rub the fabric together, and then leave it in the sun for a day so that it naturally bleaches. The next day, wash in cool (not warm or hot) water. Repeat again if necessary.

Baking soda

There are probably hundreds of other ways you can use baking soda, besides for baking. This common product really comes into its own as a natural stain remover. Make a paste from baking soda and water and apply it to stained clothing before you wash it. It's especially effective on grease stains, and yellowish underarm stains. Baking soda is also perfect for soaking cloth nappies in before washing. You can also add half a cup of baking soda to your wash to help keep your whites white and your brights bright.


I learned this trick when I was working as a waitress to get myself through university. If you spill red wine on fabric, pour heaps of salt on the stain. This will absorb the moisture and lift the red wine. Leave it for a few minutes then scrape it away. Then use some plain soda to blot the stain, and you can wash as usual.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural bleaching agent. The chemical formula is H2O2, and it breaks down into water and oxygen. Grab a 3% solution, and use it to remove organic stains (like blood, vomit, poo, wine, chocolate, grass etc.) from your clothes. Just spray it onto the stain, let it sit for around 15 minutes then rinse. You can also add half a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your wash for naturally brighter whites.


Oily stains on leather, silk or wool can be tricky to remove but cornstarch may just be the ingredient you need. Blot cornstarch into the stain then leave it for 20 minutes or so, until it's fully absorbed the stain. Brush the cornstarch off gently with a piece of cloth or toothbrush. Repeat if needed.

White vinegar

White vinegar is a great natural stain remover for tomato based stains. Pour white vinegar directly on the stain and wash immediately. You can also use vinegar to remove chewing gum. Just warm up a small amount of white vinegar, pour it over the gum, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then try to lift the gum out. If this doesn't work, try the "freezer technique:" simply leave your gummed up fabric inside the freezer for 3 or more hours. Once frozen, it'll be easier to break it free.


You may see articles around the web about using borax for stain removal in your laundry. I don't recommend this. Borax is a natural ingredient and it's an excellent cleaner. But it’s not recommended for use in a home with young children and pregnant women. Why? Here’s the link to an article about borax and why it’s not safe for children and pregnancy.

If you're not a big fan of DIY, we've also got some great natural stain removers that come in a box!

Here’s a natural cleaner and stain remover we recommend:

Ecostore Laundry Soaker and Stain Remover

Name: Ecostore Laundry Soaker and Stain Remover

Ingredients: Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda), Sodium Carbonate Peroxide (Oxygen-based Bleach), Sodium Citrate (Plant-based Builder), Sodium Sulphate, TAED (Bleach Activator), Sodium Coco-Sulphate (Plant-based Surfactant), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil. (Order at Hello Charlie)

Comments: We love eco friendly products here at Hello Charlie, especially when they work this well. I use these on my 13 year old's white school socks. He collects his disgusting socks all week, and on Saturday I soak them in a tablespoon of Ecostore soaker. Then I throw them in the wash with another tablespoon, and voila! Not exactly whiter than white (I swear that kid plays football on muddy fields in nothing but his school socks) but acceptable for school.

What are your hints and tips for natural stain removal? 

Image source: DepositPhotos

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