Natural ways to remove common clothing stains

If you've found a stain on your clothes, try treating it with one of these all-natural methods.

Natural ways to remove common clothing stains

How to deal with common stains

Ballpoint pen
Treat with: Eucalyptus oil, methylated spirits
What to do: Sponge with a cloth dipped in eucalyptus oil or methylated spirits.

Beer, beets
Treat with: Borax, water
What to do: Dab with, or soak in, a solution of two tablespoons borax per two cups water.

Berries
Treat with:White vinegar, lemon juice
What to do: Rub with vinegar or lemon juice. Leave for an hour or two, then launder.

Blood (new)
Treat with: Cold water, salt
What to do: Soak in cold water. Add a handful of salt for stubborn stains.

Blood (old)
Treat with: Vegetable glycerine, cold water
What to do: Rub with glycerine to soften, then proceed as you would for new blood.

Chocolate, coffee
Treat with: Borax, water
What to do: Dab with, or soak in, a solution of two tablespoons borax per two cups water.

Cosmetics
Treat with: Cloudy ammonia, water
What to do: Dab with a solution of one part cloudy ammonia per three parts water.

Egg, fruit juice
Treat with: Borax, cold water
What to do: Dab with, or soak in, a solution of two tablespoons borax per two cups cold water. Do not use hot water.

Grass
Treat with: Water, sugar, eucalyptus oil
What to do: Dampen stain with water and sprinkle with sugar. Roll up, leave for one hour, then launder. Rub stubborn stains with eucalyptus oil.

Grease, oil
Treat with: Corn starch, washing soda, eucalyptus oil
What to do: Sprinkle spot with corn starch. Place stain between several layers of paper towel and iron gently. Repeat if necessary. Soak stubborn stains in water with one tablespoon washing soda and one teaspoon eucalyptus oil.

Mildew, mould
Treat with: Cream of tartar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide
What to do: Cover spots with a paste of cream of tartar and lemon juice. Leave until dry, then brush off and launder. Or dab spot with a three percent solution of hydrogen peroxide.

Milk
Treat with: Water, soap, vinegar
What to do: Rinse immediately in soapy water, then soak in water with a dash of vinegar for 10 minutes. Rinse.

Nail polish
Treat with: Methylated spirits
What to do: Dab quickly with a damp cloth, then sponge with spirits.

Rust
Treat with: Salt, lemon juice
What to do: Mix salt and lemon juice to make a paste. Rub into stain, leave 10–20 minutes, then rinse out.

Scorch mark
Treat with: Vegetable glycerine, borax
What to do: Cover the mark with a mix of vegetable glycerine and borax. Leave to dry, then brush.

Shoe polish
Treat with: Eucalyptus oil, methylated spirits
What to do: Place stain on absorbent pad and dab with oil or spirits, moving pad frequently so that the stain is over a clean spot.

Soft drink, tea
Treat with: Borax, warm water
What to do: Dab with, or soak in, a solution of two tablespoons borax per two cups water.

Turmeric (curry)
Treat with: Hydrogen peroxide (three per cent)
What to do: Dab stain with neat hydrogen peroxide.

Vomit
Treat with: Borax, water, eucalyptus oil
What to do: Scrape up solids. Dab or soak in a solution of two tablespoons borax per two cups water, with a few drops of eucalyptus oil.

Wine (red)
Treat with: Soda water, borax, water
What to do: Apply soda water immediately. If stain persists, soak in a solution of two tablespoons borax per two cups water.

Wine, white
Treat with: Soda water
What to do: Apply soda water immediately, then launder as usual.

When you're on the go

When you're away from home and disaster strikes, one of the following tricks might get you out of trouble.

  • If possible, sponge with cold water immediately.
  • Pour on a little soda or mineral water, then mop up the excess.
  • Cover a fruit or wine stain with salt to absorb some of the liquid.
  • Sprinkle a grease stain with flour or corn starch.
  • Place a slice of wet bread over a beet stain.
  • Tip white wine onto a red wine stain, then blot.

Getting a stain on your favourite top or pair of pants doesn't have to be the end. Find some items you already have at home and do your best to treat stains as soon as they appear to get your clothing looking as good as new in no time.

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