By Kim Robson:
Traditional store-bought stain removers are full of nasty toxic chemical solvents. Luckily, there are plenty of natural alternatives, many of which are probably already in your pantry. Keep these items on hand and you’ll always be able to make your own natural solvents:
- Distilled white vinegar
- Baking soda
- Oxygen bleach (aka sodium percarbonate, a compound of natural soda crystals and hydrogen peroxide) like OxiClean
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Borax (aka sodium borate, a mineral salt of boric acid)
- Oil solvent like Carbona Stain Devils #6
- Lemon juice
- Biodegradable soap like Bronner’s castile soap
- The sun (and it’s FREE!)
DIY Laundry Spot Remover
- 1½ cups water
- ¼ cup liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
- ¼ cup liquid vegetable glycerin
- 5-10 drops of lemon essential oil
Mix all ingredients together. Store the mixture in a glass spray bottle. To use, shake well and apply liberally to spots and stains, then lightly rub mixture into fabric with fingertips. Works best if you treat the spot immediately and allow to soak before washing.
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup hydrogen peroxide
- ½ cup baking soda
- ¼ cup lemon juice
Mix together and soak laundry for at least 20 minutes and up to overnight, then wash laundry as usual. You can also pour the mixture (minus the water) directly into the wash with your laundry soap and wash as usual.
Method for Natural Sun Bleaching
Moms who are using cloth diapers may have found that getting those stains out naturally can be a challenge. Try this method:
Place the diaper (or article of white clothing) in the full sun while it is still soaking wet. Spray the stain directly with either some vinegar water, lemon water, or a mix of diluted hydrogen peroxide or oxygen bleach. Let dry for several hours in the bright sun.
Carpet Stain Removal
Blot with an absorbent cloth, then saturate with cold club soda, let sit, then blot again. If stain persists, apply a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water. Let dry, then vacuum.
Upholstery Stain Removal
Apply an oil solvent like Carbona Stain Devils #6 and allow to dry. Remove residue with a dry cloth. If stain persists, use an eyedropper filled with diluted white vinegar to bleach out any remaining color. Rinse with cool water.
Wax Stain Removal
Place item in freezer for 20 minutes, then scrape off all the wax you can. Stretch fabric over a bowl. From a height of one foot, pour boiling water over stain. Clean any remaining residue with an oil solvent. Remove residue with a dry cloth. Rinse with cool water.