Admit it: life is messy. Food, the outdoors, other people, and more all create clothing stains. We can avoid messes all we want, but everyone gets a tough stain every once in a while. What we do to treat those tough stains, however, can depend on the type of stain.

While everyone knows brands like Tide, Shout, Downy, Bounce, and Oxi-Clean, these chemical products are a one-size-fits-all treatment and are sub-par in targeting numerous stains at the same level of efficacy.

As an alternative, many are switching to more natural stain removing techniques. These methods avoid parabens and sulfates, and they are better at targeting a specific type of stain and don’t all have poison control’s phone number printed on the label.

For any stain, it is important to treat it from the back instead of the front to avoid rubbing in the stain any more. That being said, here are a few tips on how to remove various stains without harsh laundry detergents.

  1. Ink / Paint: Soak in rubbing alcohol for 30 minutes. If this fails, spray with hairspray and wash out.
  2. Tea / Coffee / Mud: Pour boiling water ASAP. If already set, scrub with borax paste and wash out.
  3. Grass / Mud / Food: Scrub with liquid dish soap. If this fails, scrub with 50/50 3% Hydrogen Peroxide and water mix.
  4. Tomato: Treat with white vinegar and rinse.
  5. Yellowed Whites / Pit Stains: Soak in 50/50 3% Hydrogen Peroxide water mix for 30 minutes. If this fails, scrub 3% Hydrogen Peroxide paste directly on clothing. Leave for 5 minuted before rinsing.
  6. Grease / Oil: Pour dry baking soda over area, then soak in white vinegar for 15 minutes before scrubbing with dish soap and rinsing.
  7. Vomit / Urine / Feces / Blood / Egg / Glue / Other:  Do not use warm water as this will only set in the smell. Add 1/2 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 baking soda to washing machine and continue regular cycle.

If you encounter a really tricky stain that refuses to come out, try Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds. This product is natural and received an “A” from the Environmental Working Group.


Wishing you the best of luck in your stain-removing endeavors, friends!