Written by contributor Emily McClements of Live Renewed.

Last summer, I did a whole series on my blog about green and natural laundry care. I tried out many, many different types of laundry detergents and stain removers. And while I settled on a detergent that works well for our family, I still struggled with stain removal on a regular basis.

And it makes me so frustrated at times! I want clean clothes and clean laundry for my family, but I also really don’t want to use chemicals to get them clean, and I don’t want to spend a fortune on green and non-toxic stain removers.

Some natural stain removers worked really well on certain types of stains, I found, but nothing worked really well across the board. So, for every load, especially my kids clothes, I could spend at least 15 minutes treating different stains with different types of stain removers.  It was getting to be a big pain.

Recently, I came across another idea for a natural stain remover, and I combined it with one of the basic stain removers that I was already using, and I think I’ve finally come up with a natural stain removal method that works pretty well on almost every type of stain.

Photo by Emily at Live Renewed

Homemade All-Natural Laundry Stain Remover


  • Washing Soda or Borax
  • White Vinegar
  • Water
  • Old Toothbrush (oops, forgot to put that in the picture)


• Put Washing Soda or Borax in an old Parmesan cheese container so you can easily shake it out.

• Mix white vinegar with water in a 1:1 ration in a spray bottle.

• Shake the Washing Soda or Borax onto the stain and the spray the stain with the vinegar and water mixture. Use the toothbrush, if necessary, to create a little bit of a paste and scrub it into the stain.

• Let sit for 10-20 minutes if possible.

Then, wash your clothes as usual, using your favorite natural laundry detergent.

Photo by Emily at Live Renewed

A Few Notes

*Always remember to label your homemade cleaning products!

You will probably have to experiment with which works better, washing soda or borax, for your washer and your type of water.  I have found that washing soda works the best for us, but I also like to add some borax to my washer along with the clothes because I think it helps to remove detergent residue and makes clothes softer without having to use fabric softener.

If you don’t like the smell of vinegar (it does come out completely in the wash), you can also try using a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water.  Vinegar and water, and hydrogen peroxide and water, have been my go-to stain removers since last summer, but neither of them were as effective as I wanted them to be. The addition of washing soda to my stain removal routine has made the difference.

I know some people may not be comfortable with Borax as a safe product. My take on it is that borax is far safer than many of the chemicals found in conventional cleaners and stain removers. Keep it well-labeled, and of course, away from children. It rinses out cleanly in the wash, so you shouldn’t have to worry about any residue left over on your clothing.

If you’ve been struggling with laundry stains, I hope you’ll find this recipe works as well for you as it has for me!

*This stain remover recipe was inspired by stain removal ideas from the book Make Your Place.

Do you struggle with removing stains naturally? Or do you already have a tried and true natural laundry stain remover? If so, please share!