How to remove stubborn stains the natural way

Children's clothing brand | Little Pegs | Miracle stain remover illustration

What's the worst stain you've ever had to deal with?  I don't know about you, but anything to do with tomatoes is my worst nightmare! But there are so many different types of stains our kids come home with, when it does happens don't look at it as a lost cause and throw it away.  You don't even have to go out and buy an expensive stain remover, you probably have a variety of alternative options in your kitchen cupboards that will not only protect your little one's beloved clothing, but protect the fabric and the environment and it's also a less expensive way and will probably do the job better!

But before you even start to look through your cupboards to see if you have any of the solutions I'm about to tell you about.  Let's discuss some general tips that will help you to solve that stubborn stain, before it's a permanent problem.

  • One of the biggest mistakes people make when treating stubborn stains is that they start to rub it in whilst under the water - stop! you're actually rubbing the dirt further into the fabric fibres, making it even more difficult to remove - always soak for at least 30 minutes in either cold or hot water- depending on the type of stain!
  • Always apply the stain remover to the inside of the fabric, not directly onto the stain, it's more effective.  It will help push the stain away from the fabric, rather than deeper into the fabric fibres.
  • Don't let the fabric dry until all the stain is removed, if the first time the stain didn't actually come out then repeat the process of applying stain remover and then placing it back into a new washing cycle.  Once the stain is removed fully then allow to dry.  Drying the clothing will actually set the stain into the fabric.
  • Always have a variety of different home made remedies to hand - not every stain can be treated in the same way.

Homemade stain remover options 

  • Water is the first line of defence. Rinse, blot, dab and repeat. Water by itself can’t do too much damage.
  • White vinegar is a natural and effective stain remover, particularly for tomato-based stains. When using it on wool or synthetics, use sparingly and maybe do a spot check first on an area that can't be seen, just to make sure that it doesn't damage your clothing more than the stain itself.
  • Rubbing a lemon slice over a stain is a highly effective remedy to remove many stains. It also preserves the colour of the fabric.
  • Non-diluted hydrogen peroxide is great for removing blood or rust stains. Although you may find that it also encourages colour loss, so my advice is to use it only on whites.
  • Dish soap is a mild and versatile option and is effective on grease, condiments and pretty much anything, as long as you get to it quickly and mix it with cool water.
  • Baking soda, is a good way of treating grease and oil stains, sprinkle it on, and allow it to absorb the stain and then soak in white vinegar for 15 minutes before putting it in the wash. 

As a parent if I can give you any type of great tip, about stain removal, then it's going to be how to deal with the inevitable cleaning up of vomit, urine, poop and other protein-based stains: what you don't want to do is wash any of these in warm water, it will trap odours and potentially push the stains further into the fibres of the clothing. Instead soak in cool water and then wash in the washing machine with an additional mixture of half a cup of hydrogen peroxide and half a cup of baking soda, the extra 'fizz/bubbles'. Will help to push the stain and odours away from the clothing/textiles, leaving them clean, stain free and smelling like new.

Alternatively, you might want to also have to hand a homemade remedy that stays in the kitchen cupboard, ready for any emergency and this is one of the best homemade solutions around…

The recipe for a homemade miracle stain remover

For laundry stains:

  • One part blue Fairy/Dawn dishwashing liquid
  • Two parts 3% hydrogen peroxide

Mix and pour or spray on to the stain from the back, don't apply directly to the stain, wash as usual and watch it disappear like MAGIC.

What does 1 part to 2 parts mean?

You can mix however much of this homemade stain remover you need.  Whether you want to mix just enough to treat one small stain or a bottle full, you will measure out twice as much hydrogen peroxide than the dishwashing liquid.

I am sure that you have already done your own research into homemade stain remedies, as have I, but one answer that seems to always come up is the use of Borax, which is being suggested as a great solution to any stain, which it is.. but, yes there is always a but!…. I found out why you shouldn't use Borax!

Why you shouldn't use Borax as a stain remover!

I've been doing a lot of research on the best green options for removing stubborn stains, and Borax seems to be a solution that continually comes up as a great preference, but don't believe everything you read about this product.  Borax, also know as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate.   Yes, it's a naturally occurring mineral, but it isn't safe or eco-friendly.  It's actually listed as a poison, pesticide and a fungicide… basically it's poisonous and highly dangerous for your children and shouldn't be used on or come into contact with children as it can be fatal.  So if you are buying ready made stain removers, make sure that the ingredient within this product doesn't contain borax.

Just remember that there's always an alternative to chemical based shop bought stain removers and although they are claiming they are the best on the market, it's important to remember that the comparison is based on branded products, not home remedies!


  1. Act Fast
  2. Keep common natural stain-fighters on hand
  3. Apply stain remover to the underside of the fabric
  4. Take extra care with delicate fabrics
  5. Don’t use the dryer until the stain is gone.

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