"Nonsense, it can't be done!"
What's that you're talking about? How you can actually remove stains naturally with strategies that don't include using powerful and harmful chemicals?
We know, we know. You have crazy stains to deal with, from paint on your toddler's clothes, soiled cloth diapers, or even wine stains on your linen following last week's dinner party.
But when we make natural and safe laundry a priority, it means that we have to get creative with how to best remove these tough stains without pumping our water full of chemicals and keeping hazardous materials in our homes.
It's taken us a while to hone in on what works best, but we are now ready to share our favourite products and tricks to attain clean, fresh clothes without resorting to powerful bleaches which are neither good for the earth or for us.
BunchaFarmers Stain Remover
This all natural stain remover is easy to use in multiple ways. It comes in a stick which you can apply directly to stains or cut off pieces to add directly to your load of laundry. It's not a detergent- it's a soap (read more about the difference here), and safe to use all around the home, even on walls, carpets, and appliances. Just dissolve a bit in hot water, put into a spray bottle, and you're ready to go. We like using this on colour loads since it fights stains without fading the fabric.
Molly's Suds Oxygen Whitener
You've probably heard of oxygen bleaches and here's the natural version! This oxygen whitener uses sodium percarbonate and other natural ingredients to combat stains and overall "dinginess" which hard water can leave on your whites. You can either use it as a pre-wash soak, add it to your white laundry loads, or even use it around your house on carpets or even toilets! There's no ammonia, no bleach, and no fragrance oil to be afraid of!
Bummis Whitening Powder
Those who have kids in cloth diapers know that these stains are not easy to keep at bay, especially if you are just washing them like you would anything else. We carry Canadian-made Bummis diapers in store, and they have a recommended washing routine to help make your diapers as clean and long-lasting as possible. If you are finding that the diapers are still not the colour that you would like, even when following the recommendations, add some of this whitening powder to the short cold wash cycle. It should help lift some of the stains and help with overall whiteneing.
RLR Laundry Treatment
This packet might look like a blast from the past, but the reason that it's still around is that it works! Just add it to your laundry cycle to remove stains while preserving the colours of your clothing. Many find this particularly good for cloth diaper loads, and with its small individual packets, you can give it a try without committing to a large bag.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
If you have a particularly tough stain that's not coming out despite multiple washings, try making a paste of baking soda and vinegar and rubbing it in with a toothbrush. This is an all-natural, home made stain remover that I have used successfully a number of times. As these are pantry staples, you don't have to worry about being stuck with no stain fighting measures while that offending substance continues to soak into your fabrics.
This bathroom staple is especially effective on plant-based stains like grass stains, berry juice, vegetable stains, as well as blood. You can apply to directly to stains with a Q-tip after testing on an inconspicuous spot. Rub gently and watch it disappear. If it's a greater area, spray or pour the hydrogen peroxide directly and leave to soak for 10 minutes before laundering it as usual. It's also great for removing bacteria-caused smells from items like towels or athletic equipment. Soak these items in hot water containing up to half a cup of hydrogen peroxide or add a greater amount of the peroxide to a full load's worth.
Treat stains quickly
As soon as you notice that there's a stain, it's time to spring to action. Even if you can't immediate treat it as you would want to, at least dab off any excess of the offender, wet it, or better yet, soak it in warm water.
Sun It Out
Ever notice that your patterned curtains turn a different colour after being in direct sunlight, or your kids' sunhats look a bit lighter after a season of constant use? That's because the sun is a natural bleacher! If you hang or lay your whites outside in the sun, they will benefit from this whitening hack. This is especially helpful with tough stains on cloth diapers.
Perfecting your natural laundry and stain removal techniques will take time, and some trial and error. After a while, you will develop your own preferences and favourites that work for you and your family's needs. Don't be afraid to share your natural stain removal secrets with others- it's part of preserving our earth and making this a healthier world for everyone!
Share your tips in the comments!