Homemade all-natural laundry stain remover
Australia is an active country. Children play outside, in the home, at school and at their friend’s house. Adults work in blue-collar jobs, play sport on the weekend, and renovate their home. We go camping, play with pets and spill food on our clothes. Invariably these activities, and many more just like them, lead to stains all over our clothes.
The laundry aisles of Coles and Woolies are full of products you could use to treat your stained clothes, but the potential harmful effects of the chemicals found in them can be a little scary. A better option is to find a natural alternative that is just as effective at removing the stains, if not better, and doesn’t cost a fortune as many ‘green’ commercial products can.
The problem is different stains can often require different removal methods when using natural products. The last thing you want to be doing is spending a long time in the laundry treating common stains such as blood, red wine, grease, ink, dirt and sweat with different techniques and natural products.
We think we’ve found the answer to this problem, and the natural stain remover mixture is simple to make and easy to use.
- Washing soda (not to be confused with baking soda, see below how you can convert baking soda to washing soda)
- White vinegar
- An old toothbrush
- In a spray bottle, mix water and vinegar 50/50
- Put some washing soda in a container such as a salt or pepper shaker (any container with small holes in the end will do)
- Sprinkle some washing soda on the stain
- Spray some fluid mix onto the stain
- Scrub the stain with the toothbrush, creating a small paste as you go
- Let it to sit for 20 minutes
- Wash clothes as normal in the washing machine (using a homemade natural laundry detergent of course)
That’s it. Could it be any simpler?
Turning baking soda into washing soda
For those who can’t get their hands on washing soda, you can convert baking soda very easily. The chemical compounds of each are so close, with washing soda having one extra sodium molecule and one less hydrogen molecule. When you heat baking soda, it breaks down into water (steam) and carbon dioxide that float away, and you’re left with washing soda!
Just sprinkle some baking soda on a pan, put it in an oven at 200°C (400°F) for 30 minutes or until it changes, stirring occasionally. You’ll know when it’s changed because baking soda looks like powdery, crystallised salt, and clumps together; while washing soda is made up of separate grainy, dull and opaque grains.
Don’t like the smell of vinegar?
It’s difficult to remove the vinegar scent from clothes when using it in natural stain removers and laundry cleaners. The power is not overbearing, but it can be noticeable to those with a strong sense of smell. Luckily there are alternatives.
Substitute the vinegar for hydrogen peroxide, or add several drops of a natural essential oil such as lavender or peppermint, which will combat the smell of the vinegar.
Can’t find washing soda and don’t want to convert baking soda?
Borax is a viable alternative to washing soda. Depending on your washer, it can sometimes work better than washing soda, while at other times it isn’t as good. The only way to truly know is through trial and error. There are conflicting reports on the safety of using Borax, and you will have to make a judgment call on that for yourself by doing a little research. However, it is generally safer than the chemicals found in commercially available stain removers found at your supermarket and rinses out totally from your wash.
Finally, always make sure you label your products, whether they’re natural or not, and keep them out of reach of children. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.