7 natural laundry stain removers
Here are seven natural products that will effectively help remove stains and odor from clothes and keep your laundry routine green.
That same box of baking soda that you have in your kitchen cabinet is one of nature’s best gifts to laundry, and very inexpensive to boot. It is a perfect green odor reducer to keep your laundry smelling fresh and is safe to use on all fabrics, including children’s sleepwear.
Baking soda also aids in boosting detergent performance, softening fabrics, and reducing suds for quicker loads in front load washers.
Lemon or lime juice
Fresh or bottled 100 percent real lemon or lime juice has a natural bleaching action on fabrics due to the acetic acid.
If you spill some on colored clothing, you’ll want to remove the juice before it causes permanent discoloration. However, you can use either type of juice on white fabrics to help remove yellow underarm stains or rust stains.
Distilled white vinegar
Distilled white vinegar is a miracle worker in the laundry room. It is inexpensive, gentle on fabrics, and safer to use than chlorine bleach and fabric softeners. Always choose white vinegar over apple cider or other types because it will not stain fabrics (and it’s cheaper!).
White vinegar is key to removing yellow underarm perspiration stains and odor, removing mildew stains, whitening and brightening your clothes. Just adding one cup of distilled white vinegar to the final rinse will leave clothes feeling soft and smelling fresh.
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is an oxidizing agent that can be used as a bleach. The 3% solution sold in drug stores as a first aid disinfectant is the best choice for the laundry as well. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down into water and oxygen and is a more environmentally safe alternative to chlorine bleach.
Borax boosts the performance of any type of detergent in cleaning clothes and removing stains (especially on cloth diapers), softens hard water, and helps control odor. Almost all homemade laundry detergent recipes contain borax.
Talc, cornstarch or chalk
Talcum powder, baby powder, kitchen cornstarch or plain white chalk are wonderful natural treatments for helping to absorb oily stains. If you catch the oil or grease drip on fabric promptly, they can even remove it!
Simply sprinkle the oily stain liberally with baby powder, talcum powder or cornstarch; you can also rub the area with white chalk. Allow it to sit on the stain for at least ten minutes to absorb the oil; then simply brush away. Later, wash or dry clean the garment following care label directions.
There are old wives’ tales about using salt to set the dye and stop dye bleeding of fabrics. Unfortunately, salt won’t work that way on today’s fabrics and dyes. But plain, simple table salt works in the laundry as a mild abrasive element for stain removal of rust and red wine stains and to absorb liquid stains before they set.