7 Natural Laundry Stain Removers

Natural Laundry Stain Removers

The Spruce / Nusha Ashjaee

Several common household items can be turned into natural laundry stain removers. They allow you to avoid harsh chemicals of some commercial stain removers. And they’re often less expensive, too.

Here are seven natural products that will effectively help to remove stains and odors from clothes and keep your laundry routine green.

  • 01 of 07

    Baking Soda

    baking soda as a natural cleaner

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    That same box of baking soda that you have in your kitchen cabinet is one of nature's best gifts to laundry—and very inexpensive to boot. It is a perfect green odor remover to keep your laundry smelling fresh and is safe to use on all fabrics, including children's sleepwear.

    Baking soda also aids in boosting detergent performance, softening fabrics, and reducing suds for quicker loads in front load washers.

  • 02 of 07

    Lemon or Lime Juice

    lemons and limes

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Fresh or bottled 100% lemon or lime juice has a natural bleaching action on fabrics due to the acetic acid.

    If you spill some on colored clothing, you'll want to remove the juice before it causes permanent discoloration. However, you can use either type of juice on white fabrics to help remove yellow underarm stains or rust stains.


    Click Play for Easy and Natural Laundry Stain Removers

  • 03 of 07

    Distilled White Vinegar

    distilled white vinegar

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

    Distilled white vinegar is a miracle worker in the laundry room. It is inexpensive, gentle on fabrics, and safer to use than chlorine bleach and fabric softeners. Always choose white vinegar over apple cider or other types because it won't stain fabrics (and it's cheaper).


    Freshen your washing machine before laundry day. Eliminate odors and soap scum residue by adding two cups of vinegar to an empty washer and running it through a normal warm cycle.

    White vinegar is key to removing yellow underarm perspiration stains and odor, removing mildew stains, whitening and brightening your clothes. Just adding 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to the final rinse will leave clothes feeling soft and smelling fresh. You can even use vinegar to clean your washer and help control musty washer odors.

  • 04 of 07

    Hydrogen Peroxide

    hydrogen peroxide bottle

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

    Head to the medicine cabinet for the hydrogen peroxide as a good alternative to the much harsher chlorine bleach when you need to whiten clothes. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is an oxidizing agent that can be used as a bleach. The 3% solution sold in drug stores as a first-aid disinfectant is the best choice for the laundry as well. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down into water and oxygen and is a more environmentally safe alternative to chlorine bleach.

    Hydrogen peroxide works well in removing underarm yellowing and the dye from nail polishcurry, and red wine stains.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07


    borax in a glass jar

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Borax is a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water. It has no toxic fumes and is safe for the environment. However, borax can irritate skin and should not be ingested.

    Borax boosts the performance of any type of detergent in cleaning clothes and removing stains (especially on cloth diapers), softens hard water, and helps control odor. Almost all DIY laundry detergent recipes contain borax.

  • 06 of 07

    Talc, Cornstarch, or Chalk


    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Talcum powder, baby powder, kitchen cornstarch, or plain white chalk are wonderful natural treatments for helping to absorb oily stains. If you catch the oil or grease drip on fabric promptly, they can even remove it.

    Simply sprinkle the oily stain liberally with baby powder, talcum powder, or cornstarch; you can also rub the area with white chalk. Allow it to sit on the stain for at least 10 minutes to absorb the oil; then simply brush away. Later, wash or dry clean the garment following care label directions.

  • 07 of 07

    Table Salt

    table salt

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Simple table salt works in the laundry as a mild abrasive element for stain removal of rust and red wine stains and to absorb liquid stains before they set. If you have a red wine spill, sprinkle it liberally with table salt. Use the cheapest salt you can find. Let it absorb the liquid, and then brush away before you wash the item. Remember, if you don't wash it out, salt can leave white stains on your fabric.

    If you have stains or residue on the bottom of your iron, salt works well as a gentle abrasive. Simply dampen a handful of salt very slightly, and scrub the faceplate of the iron. When the iron is clean, wipe with a clean damp cloth.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bleaching With Green Oxidation Chemistry. American Chemical Society. 

  2. Borates, Tetra, Sodium Salts (Anhydrous). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.