The 11 Best Natural Laundry Stain Removers

The 11 Best Natural Laundry Stain Removers

Discover eco-friendly DIY stain removers that feature natural ingredients and offer non-toxic solutions for cleaner, greener laundry.

Are stubborn stains testing your patience? Discover the world of natural stain removers, offering eco-friendly and budget-friendly solutions that align perfectly with green cleaning values. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the best natural ingredients, DIY recipes, and the advantages and limitations of going green with your stain-fighting routine.

1. White Vinegar

  • Natural? Yes 
  • Best for: Fresh stains and odors 
  • Removes Odors? Yes 

White vinegar, a pantry staple, is a fermented ethanol product known for its versatility. 

What makes it work? The acetic acid in white vinegar dissolves stains and neutralizes odorsHow to use: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water, apply to the stain, blot gently, and launder as usual. 

Added benefits: Besides stain removal, white vinegar also softens fabrics and acts as a natural fabric softener. It's a non-toxic, homemade stain remover that's a staple in DIY natural cleaners.

Avoid using it on: Items that have elastic, such as exercise wear. The acid in vinegar can break down the material over time.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a gentle yet potent pantry ingredient. 

What makes it work? Its alkaline nature helps break down stains and neutralize odors. 

How to use: Create a paste with baking soda and water, apply to the stain, let it sit, and launder as usual. 

Added benefits: Baking soda also acts as a natural deodorizer for your laundry. It's a versatile, non-toxic stain remover in DIY natural cleaners.

Avoid using it on: Delicate fabrics, such as lace, silk, or cashmere. The abrasive properties of baking soda can damage or stain the fibers.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Natural? Yes (food-grade version available) 
  • Best for: Blood, grass, and tough stains 
  • Removes Odors? Yes 

Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant and bleaching agent. 

What makes it work? It breaks down into water and oxygen when applied, lifting and removing stains. 

How to use: Dab a small amount on the stain, let it bubble, rinse with cold water, and launder. 

Added benefits: Hydrogen peroxide can disinfect and brighten whites. It's a potent, DIY home remedy for stubborn stains.

Avoid using it on: Items that use non-colorfast dyes.

4. Borax

  • Natural? Yes 
  • Best for: Grease, oil, and protein-based stains
  • Removes Odors? Yes 

Borax, a naturally occurring mineral, is a versatile cleaner and laundry booster. 

What makes it work? It enhances the cleaning power of detergents and helps remove stains. How to use: Mix borax with water to form a paste, apply to the stain, and launder as usual.

Added benefits: Borax also softens water, making detergents more effective. It's a natural, DIY laundry booster.

5. Lemon or Lime Juice

  • Natural? Yes 
  • Best for: Fresh stains and odors 
  • Removes Odors? Yes

Lemon or lime juice, citrus wonders, are natural bleaching agents and deodorizers. 

What makes it work? The acidity in citrus juice helps break down stains and brighten fabrics. How to use: Apply fresh lemon or lime juice to the stain, let it sit in the sun, and launder.

Added benefits: Citrus juice leaves a fresh, pleasant scent. It's a natural bleach alternative in DIY stain removal.

Avoid using on: Dry clean-only items, such as silk or wool. Lemon juice can damage or stain these fabrics.

6. Cornstarch

  • Natural? Yes 
  • Best for: Grease and oil-based stains
  • Removes Odors? No 

Cornstarch, a kitchen staple, has absorbent qualities that help lift grease stains. 

What makes it work? It absorbs oil and grease, making them easier to remove. 

How to use: Sprinkle cornstarch on the stain, let it sit, and brush off excess before laundering. Added benefits: Cornstarch is gentle on fabrics and safe for most materials. It's a natural, non-toxic solution in homemade stain removers.

7. Rice Flour

  • Natural? Yes 
  • Best for: Grease, oil, and protein-based stains 
  • Removes Odors? No 

Rice flour, finely ground rice grains, is an effective absorbent for grease stains. 

What makes it work? Its fine texture allows it to penetrate and lift greasy residues. 

How to use: Apply rice flour to the stain, let it sit, and brush off before laundering. 

Added benefits: Rice flour is gentle and won't harm delicate fabrics. It's a natural, DIY stain remover in your laundry arsenal.

8. Chalk

  • Natural? Yes 
  • Best for: Oil and grease stains 
  • Removes Odors? No 

Chalk, the classroom staple, is surprisingly effective at absorbing oil and grease. 

What makes it work? Its porous nature absorbs oily substances from fabrics. 

How to use: Rub chalk on the stain, let it sit, and shake off excess before laundering. 

Added benefits: Chalk is non-toxic and safe for most fabrics. It's an unexpected, natural solution for DIY stain removal.

9. Salt

  • Natural? Yes 
  • Best for: Blood, red wine, and fresh stains 
  • Removes Odors? Yes 

Salt, a kitchen essential, is a natural stain absorber and brightener. 

What makes it work? It helps lift stains and prevents them from setting. 

How to use: Apply salt to the stain, let it absorb, and rinse before laundering. 

Added benefits: Salt is readily available and eco-friendly. It's a natural, non-toxic stain remover in your DIY toolkit.

Avoid using it on: Fabrics such as shearling, suede, or leather, as salt can stain or cause color loss.

10. Vegetable Glycerin

  • Natural? Yes 
  • Best for: Grease and oil-based stains 
  • Removes Odors? No 

Vegetable glycerin, derived from plant oils, helps loosen and lift oily stains. 

What makes it work? Its slippery texture aids in breaking down grease. 

How to use: Apply a small amount to the stain, rub gently, and launder as usual. 

Added benefits: Vegetable glycerin is gentle on fabrics and skin. It's a natural, non-toxic option for DIY stain removers.

11. Milk

  • Natural? Yes 
  • Best for: Ink stains 
  • Removes Odors? No 

Milk, a kitchen staple, can effectively remove ink stains. 

What makes it work? The proteins in milk can break down and lift ink from fabrics. 

How to use: Soak the stained area in milk, then launder as usual. 

Added benefits: Milk is a common, non-toxic household item that can be a lifesaver for ink stains in your DIY stain remover toolkit.

Limitations of DIY Stain Removers:

  • Effectiveness Varies: DIY stain removers can be incredibly effective for many common stains. However, their performance may vary depending on the type and severity of the stain. While they can work wonders on fresh spills, they may struggle with older, set-in stains. It's important to act quickly for the best results.
  • Time and Effort: DIY stain removal methods require a bit of preparation and application. Mixing ingredients, applying them to the stain, and waiting for the solution to work its magic can be time-consuming. If you're looking for a quick fix, this might not always be the most convenient option.
  • Limited Shelf Life: DIY stain removers often consist of natural ingredients without preservatives. As a result, they may not last as long as commercial stain removers with extended shelf lives. Fresh batches may be needed periodically to ensure optimal stain-fighting power. The lack of ingredients that prolong shelf life is a consideration when opting for DIY stain removers.


What's the best homemade stain remover? 

The best depends on the stain type. White vinegar handles fresh stains and odors, baking soda conquers grease, and hydrogen peroxide tackles tough stains.

Can homemade stain removers work for old stains? 

DIY solutions may struggle with older, set-in stains. Act quickly for best results.

Is it okay to use commercially sold natural stain removers instead? 

Absolutely – but always consider products with natural ingredients that align with your values and needs. For stubborn stains, look for anenzymatic stain removerthat is color-safe and non-caustic, as well as safe to use on a variety of fabrics and surfaces.