Eco-Friendly Stain Removers: DIY Tips and 5 Natural Brands to Try

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Who would’ve thought that washing your favourite pair of jeans and wringing them out till squeakingly clean with your best stain remover for clothes, store-bought fabric stain remover, was ironically, leaving a stinging stain on the environment? 

In most cases, the typical store-bought stain removers are filled to the brim with harmful chemicals that are hazardous to our health, and simultaneously, the wellness of the planet we live on. While it’s not always consciously realised, the simple step of rubbing a stain remover onto the fabric, or spraying it onto a shirt, allows those conniving chemicals to cling onto our fingers, and get ingested as we effortlessly breathe them in.

There’s no doubting the fact that the ultimate best stain remover for your clothes and of course the planet, is no doubt a natural stain remover that is devoid of those unnecessary chemicals and unethical processes that deliver you the final product. Reducing the risks of product poisoning or wasteful plastic packaging is to seek out sustainable and healthy alternatives that do the sleek job of scrubbing off stains, in just the same way. 

best stain remover for clothes
<em>Finding a natural eco friendly alternative to your best stain removers for clothes<em>

While scouring the stores for a natural stain remover is an option – and also an alternative that is now more readily accessible – the ease and effectiveness of creating a DIY stain remover from your very own kitchen cupboard, works absolute wonders; saving you costs, as well as saving the environment!

The Problems With Traditional Stain Removers

While traditional stain removers seem to be perfectly polishing up your wardrobe, in most of these cases, the problem lies in the stains around us that we don’t directly see, which are a result of the toxic chemicals that make up these products! As a disappointing realisation, the majority of stain removal products sitting on those shop shelves, or lying around the home, are formulated with a secret blend of chemical ingredients that continue to trigger various allergies, irritating to the skin, the eyes and the lungs; while also meddling with your hormones, and have many a time been linked to illnesses like cancer. 

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While this is a debilitating downside on its own, the majority of these readily available stain removers, are also not sustainable nor ethical too! The chemicals contained in stain removers can also contaminate bodies of water when the clothes are washed.

Harmful Chemicals Found in Store-Bought Stain Removers

Sodium Hypochlorite – Causes a burning sensation on skin and eyes after prolonged exposure, and can trigger asthma. Also harmful to water-based life forms.

Quaternium-15 – Linked to asthma and can cause reproductive toxicity. A low level of formaldehyde is also released which is a cancer-causing substance

Chlorine Bleach – Consists of toxic fumes that can also cause skin burns. Chlorine bleach poisoning is among the most common causes of poisoning reported to poison control centres, particularly when in spray bottles. 

Methylisothisazolinone – Can make people increasingly susceptible to skin allergies.

2-Butoxyethanol – A developmental and reproductive toxin that can harm the eyes, the skin and the blood.

Artificial Fragrances – Often contain ingredients that disrupt hormonal balance as well as being allergenic.

Your Guide to Sustainable DIY Stain Removers

Baking Soda

That little box of baking soda sitting in your pantry cupboard is perhaps the perfect candidate for a natural stain remover and a very inexpensive one at that too! Ridding your laundry of odours, while also posing safely to use for both adult and children’s clothing, baking soda improves detergent performance and softens up those fabrics! As a mild alkaline, baking soda can pierce through the toughest of stains, be it grease, vomit or the remains of tripping up in dog poop! If you’re looking to make it into a paste, just add a hint of water, and it’s safe to say you’ll have found yourself the best oil stain remover for your clothes!

Best Stain Remover For Clothes

Distilled White Vinegar

White Vinegar distilled into a spray bottle works absolute wonders when doing your regular laundry load! While its common properties are removing yellow sweat stains, or brightening and whitening up your clothes, mixed with a dash of water, you can use it to wash away the toughest stains. For any stain residues left post washing, simply blot the area with vinegar and the acidity will be sure to cut through those particles and clean!

Lemon or Lime Juice

Whether fresh or bottled, lemon or lime juice, if it is 100% pure, the acetic acid in the juice, acts as the best stain remover for white clothes, due to its inherent fabric bleaching action. While it can perfectly rid rusty or yellow stains on your white laundry, be cautious not to let it linger on coloured clothing, to avoid permanent discolouration!

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Cornstarch or Chalk

Oil stains can be a pain when trying to wash them away from your favourite outfits, but we may just have found you your new go-to natural stain remover to get rid of that ogling oil! Grab some cornstarch from the kitchen cupboard, or some white chalk from the kid’s playroom, and sprinkle or rub liberally over the oily stain. Put your timer on for ten minutes, make yourself a quick cuppa, and simply brush away! You can go on to washing the fabric further, but the cornstarch or chalk will be sure to lessen the hassle and become your best oil stain remover for clothes!

Table Salt

Your regular table salt has benefits beyond tingling your tastebuds; it in fact can be used as a mild abrasive agent to remove fabric stains, such as that treacherous red wine spill, and can also absorb liquid stains before they cause permanent discolouration. Sprinkle up the spills with some salt, let it soak, and then brush away before washing the clothing properly. While salt can rid coloured stains, if not washed away, it can leave you with white stains instead!

Hydrogen Peroxide

Another home find that could turn into the best stain remover for white clothes, might just be hiding in your medicine cabinet. Hydrogen Peroxide, an oxidising agent, is the ideal alternative to chlorine bleach and proves to be far less harsh, and far more environmentally safe. Typically used as a first aid disinfectant, adding the 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide to those tough coloured stains will make laundry days easier and safer too!

The Best Stain Remover For Clothes: 5 Top Brands To Check Out

Natural Stain Remover Brands

Method Stain Remover

Quite like all stain removers produced by Method that arison-toxic, paraben-free, triclosan-free, phthlalate-free, hypoallergenic, and responsibly packaged with recycled plastic, this particular one is no different! With a built-in brush, digging into stubborn stains and making sure the formula scrubs deep, makes tough cleaning jobs easier, effective and downright ethical!

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Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Stain Removers

Made up of four plant-based enzymes and an overall formula of 97% plant-based ingredients, Seventh-generation free & clear laundry stain removers are you sustainable solution to getting rid of set-in stains, with a simple spray-to-use system! A certified B Corp that promises to clean your fabrics without those cunning chemicals!

Celsious Wunderbar Stain Removal Stick

The Celsious Wunderbar stain remover stick is made up of just two natural ingredients; coconut oil and vegetable soap. Whether it’s oil, grease, yellow sweat stains, or even pet poop, this biodegradable, non-toxic, and fragrance-free stain stick works absolute wonders. Soak the stained fabric with water, leave the formula in for a couple of hours and proceed to wash! Additionally the labels and pouch are 100% compostable.

The Laundress Stain Solution

A strong in result, and simple to use solution to lift those nitty gritty stains that spoil your favourite fabrics! Be it coffee spills or splashes of stubborn red wine, by adding a mere squeeze of the laundress stain solution into the cap and onto the stain, will work wonders! Moreover, squeezing a capful out into a tub of water, and soaking larger fabrics gives you flawless results too. With no artificial dyes nor bleach, and a formula that is free of fragrance, this solution is a safe bet in households with allergies or the like!

Nellie’s Wow Stick Stain Remover

Another environmentally alternative to many stain removing sticks, is Nellie’s Wow Stick, made from a pure concoction of orange peel oil, palm kernel extract, and glycerin. Free from any synthetic fragrances and dyes, this stain remover can fight the toughest of stains while remaining gentle on your hands!


While the problem with traditional stain removers is not that they don’t live up to their cleaning credibility, but often a time, they reach these results with the use of hazardous chemicals that pose harm to one’s health, as well as the environment. The next step to discovering the silent damage done when using your typical store-bought fabric stain remover is to make a vocal decision to take responsibility for the negative effects and choose an eco-friendly alternative. Whether it’s outsourcing from ethical cleaning brands, or a DIY stain remover from the findings of your home, the small change of making laundry day sustainable, will bring you one step closer to healthy living, and a happier environment!

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Dr. Divya Goil

Dr. Divya Goil

Dr. Divya Goil is a Sustainability Research Lead at a startup that empowers individuals to make sustainable choices. She is a medical doctor with a passion for environmental conservation and has dedicated her career to finding solutions for a more sustainable future.
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