Natural Stain Treatment Reference Sheet [Printable]

If your house is anything like mine, stains on laundry are a daily fact of life.

When you switch to natural cleaning, you can’t just spray it all with “Shout” and call it a day… so what to do?

Conventional laundry stain treatment solutions are some of the most toxic cleaning products available. They contain harsh detergents, solvents, chemicals like sulfates and parabens as well as a host of artificial colors and scents.

While our bodies can handle small amounts of these, exposure to large amounts of these chemicals over time can cause health problems.

Borrowing some wisdom from my grandma’s era and the help of my professional stain creation experts (aka: my children), I compiled a helpful list of effective stain treatments for various types of stains. I keep this list handy when I’m doing laundry, and I’ve included a printable version (at the bottom of this post) in case it will be helpful to you too.

Natural Stain Treatment Overview:

Always treat stains from the back, rather than the front, to avoid rubbing the stain in more.
My Homemade Baby Wipes can be kept in a small Ziplock bag and make a great pre-treat spot remover on the go.

  • For Ink or Paint Stains: Soak in rubbing alcohol for 30 minutes or (ink only) spray with hair spray and wash out.
  • Tea or Coffee Stains: Immediately pour boiling water over the stain until it is gone, or if it is already set, scrub with a paste of borax and water and wash immediately.
  • Grass stains: Scrub with liquid dish soap or treat with a 50/50 Hydrogen Peroxide and water mix
  • Mud stains: Let dry and brush off what you can, then scrub with a borax/water paste and wash immediately
  • Tomato Based Stains: Treat with white vinegar directly on the stain and wash immediately.
  • Dingy Whites or Underarm Deodorant Stains: Soak the stain directly in a mix of 50/50 hydrogen peroxide and water for 30 minutes and then add 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide to the wash water.
  • Other Food Stains: Treat with a mix of 50/50 Hydrogen Peroxide and water and soak.
  • Grease and Oil Stains: Sprinkle the stain with dry baking soda to remove any loose oil or grease and brush off. Then, soak in undiluted white vinegar for 15 minutes, rinse and scrub with liquid dish soap before washing
  • Vomit, Urine, Poop, Blood, Egg, Gelatin, Glue or other protein based stains: DO NOT WASH IN WARM WATER!!!!! This will set in the smell. Soak in cool water and then wash with an added mixture of 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 cup baking soda in the washing machine.

Here is a printable version of the infographic above. Click to download.

A natural all-purpose option

I recently found something that works on any kind of stains and is super0-simple to use. It is called Branch Basics, and it is an amazing natural cleaner that is safe for even chemically sensitive people and that can clean the entire kitchen, entire house, gets stains out of clothes, dirt out of grout lines, cleans an oven like magic and is safe to use on skin. In fact, it is tear free and I’ve been using it for baby shampoo! I’m addicted. You can find out more here. I even feel safe letting my kids clean with it!

What’s your best natural stain treating trick? Please share below! My kids could put it to the test….

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Reader Comments

  1. Sandy Poster says

    Rust stains on fabric, squeeze lemon or lime juice on stain and sprinkle with salt, lay garment in the sun, and presto! stain gone, works every time. ( In some cases a repeat treatment may be needed.)

  2. Betty says

    I was just talking to a good friend of mine last night about natural stain removers! She had asked what I used, since I use a homemade laundry detergent, and I told her I didn’t use anything (because I don’t!). But I’m weeks away from having my first child and I know stains are going to become a very regular part of my life. So this was 100% timely and you better believe I directed her to your blog! Now we’ll both have a wonderful resource for natural stain removers.

    And what a great gift it would be for a natural mom-to-be to wrap a cute basket containing all the products on the list and including a laminated sheet of the outline! Thank you so much for this!

  3. Sarah H. says

    Shucks, I really want to download and print your pdf, but for some reason when I click on the link it won’t load, it just shows me a blank screen. :(

    • Andrea Welte says

      I am having that problem, too.  I am new to the home made cleaning stuff, and so would like very much to have this as a reference.  Thanks!

  4. Cali says

    anyone know how to treat mold stains on clothing (dont ask how they got there because i have no idea!) just washing in the laundry did nothing.

    • Tiffany Wolfe says

      Tea tree oil works wonders on mold. I would add a teaspoon of it to your laundry when the washer is full of water and try that. I use it in my laundry that smells musty or when my son (potty training) has an accident.

    • katharyne says

      Oil of cloves is great for killing mold. I use some on a leather jacket worked great so I also tried it on damp shoes where mold had started to grow worked really well

  5. Brandi says

    I find that blood stains should be treated immediately with peroxide if at all possible or as soon as possible. even if its just poured on and left to sit without further scrubbing with laundry soap and possibly more peroxide if needed. I feel this tip is more relevant to women for menstrual reasons….gross I know but SO COMPLETELY RELEVANT. lol the quicker blood is treated the better the result of it ALL coming out instead of all but the outside ring or leaving a brown stain behind.

    Also the statement of not ever using Hot water on urine is EXTREMELY important of cat and dog urine! So remember when carpet shampooing!! The heat will bond the proteins in urine to the carpet fibers or fabric & you’ll NEVER get it out completely. Even if you catch it right away and after cleaning can’t smell it yourself rest assured the dog and cat will. just word to the wise.

    • Liz says

      For blood stains, use soap (bar soap or liquid) and cold water and scrub the stain. Very simple and it works! Then just throw it in the laundry.

  6. Aime says

    Help!! I spilled some of my morning lemon water (that I put coconut oil in) on my car seat. :( I read above that you soak oil stains in white vinegar then scrub with dishsoap before washing. Obviously I can’t throw the car seat in the washer… should I still follow the same process? Rinsing as well as possible?

  7. Linda Grooms says

    I had a bar of lye soap that I picked up at a state park that was demonstrations on soap making, etc. You rubbed a little on the stain and it worked wonders! Wish I had bought more! Making my own soap is on my to-do list.

  8. Tegan says

    Any recommendations on treating wood floors with cat urine stains/odor? I’m concerned the hydrogen peroxide, recommended for laundry, might lighten the wood in the treated area.

  9. LORE SMITH says

    For any fruit stains pour super hot water on it. My niece spilled a lot of Welches Grape juice on my mothers very light carpet. My mom boiled a kettle of water and poured it on the stain. We watched in amazement as the stain disappeared before our eyes!

    • Farhaana says

      Would that work for avocado? Especially if had a chance to sit in the laundry basket a few days. I didn’t treat it immediately and I’ve rubbed it with stain remover a few times, washed once in cold water, but have not put it in the dryer. My youngest, who is now 6, is quite a messy eater and player. i don’t always catch her stained clothes.

  10. Sandy Christie Beaton says

    i have a spaghetti meatball stain on my beige carpet double whammy grease and tomato stain how would you recommend getting it out

  11. Aryn Fain says

    I am new to natural laundering, and I seem to have acquired several blotchy commercial fabric softener stains on my (particularly light-colored) clothes… Any advice?

  12. Katelyn says

    I know this sounds kinda gross, but saliva naturally breaks down blood particles/stains. I work in theatre, and actors & crew members often get hurt leaving blood stains on their garments. A fast, free and effective solution without hurting the garment is to use saliva and a soft tooth brush. Works best when stain is fresh, but with a little extra scrubbing, more set in stains can be removed too.

  13. Jackie DuBroy says

    If it is your own blood and you immediate put your own spit on it and rub it will come out. Also, just running it through cold water for a bit helps too. Both of these methods are effect if the blood isn’t dried on yet.

  14. Nysia E says

    Anyway to get the link to the infographic put back? It isn’t linked to the “click here” statement.
    Thanks! LOVE your blog!

  15. Dana says

    My husband gets a dirty line around the collar of his work clothes, where it rubs at his neck. His uniform is a medium/light blue color. What would you suggest to get this out?

  16. Patricia Leggette says

    I bought the magnesium flakes to be able to make my own magnesium oil, can it be applied to the face to remove dead skin & improve the skin ?

  17. melissa says

    Hi there,

    can you please clarify what percentage peroxide you need to use? just the liquid type- hydrogen peroxide 3% from the chemist?


  18. Quin says

    Hairspray??? How is that natural?? Yes, it is fantastic for removing ink stains. But…?

    One of the best things for blood stains is the saliva of the person whose blood it is. That’s right – spit on it. Really well. Then rub the stain, and wash as soon as possible in cold water with a mild soap. Other people’s saliva works too, but not nearly as well. It’s an enzyme thing, apparently. Even works on old blood stains, but not as well as on fresh.

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