What Natural Remedy Can I Use to Get Stains Out of Clothes?

Soda water can help you treat red-wine stains on your clothes.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

When you're faced with a stain but don't have any chemical remover on hand, don't go running out to the store -- you could have the solution you need right in the kitchen. No, that doesn't mean drowning your sorrows in a pint of ice cream because you ruined your favorite tank top. It means that you can use everyday items around your house to naturally and effectively remove stains from your clothes. Keep things clean without buying expensive cleaners or treating your clothing with harsh dyes, chemicals and bleaches. You'll save money, your clothes and the planet, all at the same time.

The Overnight Soak

If you have some time, let your clothes soak overnight in a homemade chemical bath that will spot-treat your stains. Mix two parts of hot water with one part of hydrogen peroxide and one part of baking soda and give it a good stir. Let your clothes soak in the concoction overnight and wash them as you normally would. Pitch the water after you're done -- the stain pros at Planet Green who devised this solution say that it's only effective if you use it immediately.

Oil Slicks

When you're dealing with an oil or grease stain -- like makeup, butter or cooking oil -- follow one of a few different strategies. One example is using powder to soak up the grease -- mix equal parts of baking soda and water to make a paste that you can use to treat your stain. Or, pre-treat your stain with eucalyptus oil. Dab the stain with some of this natural oil and let it soak in, then wash your clothing as normal.

Sour Bleaching

You love lemon in your ice water and hot tea, but you can also mix it in with your laundry as a natural bleaching agent. Lemons are loaded with acid, which is why it stings when you get lemon juice on a cut or scratch. That's also the reason lemons are good at cleaning -- they have a bleaching effect that is triggered by the sun, making lemons a good stain remover. If you get a stain on a white piece of clothing, spray it with lemon juice and hang the clothing item in the sun to bleach the stain away. Treat other stains, such as ink stains, with lemon juice right before throwing the clothing item in the wash -- you won't have a sour face when it comes out clean.

Kitchen Aids

If you stain your clothes while preparing a meal, the remedy could be within arm's reach. Look at protein stains, for example -- these come from things like egg or blood. Scrape off as much of the offending stuff as possible, then soak your outfit in cold salt water before you wash it. You can even treat red wine -- a usual suspect when it comes to ruining clothes -- with soda water or sparkling water. Always use it at room temperature, though. Hot water can make the stain permanent.

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