The 5 Best Natural Stain Removers


One small slip and it’s game over. Your beautiful white shirt is ruined by red wine, and your sofa now has a coffee stain that you’ll now have to cover with a cushion. We’ve all been there, and we all know what a pain it is.

When these spills and stains happen, the temptation is to reach for the nearest stain remover to save us, usually one full of chemicals with packaging promising miraculous results. But these products are not only bad for the environment, but they’re also more expensive and sometimes less effective than natural alternatives.

So join the growing group of people switching to natural cleaning methods for those pesky stains. We’ll show you our top 5 natural stain removers that you can DIY at home.

At the end of this article you’ll find a clear and simple infographic summarising all of these tricks. Go to the infographic.

red wine stain removal with lemon

Lemon – red wine’s worst enemy

Red wine stains are the classic worst nightmare situation. You never manage to spill red wine on a black top – it’s always a new white dress or beige rug. And no matter what you do, there’s always a pale purple mark left once the stain’s been cleaned up. But there really is a red wine stain remover that works, and is natural to boot. But you need to act fast, before the red wine dries.

Pour a generous amount of lemon juice onto the stain, then cover with salt. Leave the mixture to work its magic for at least 30 minutes. (this step requires a fair bit of patience, which can be tough when you’re panicking about that giant purple stain!). Once you’re done biting your nails and pacing nervously, use a soft brush to remove the salt and rinse the area thoroughly with water – mineral water is best – and the stain will be no more.

ink stain removal with milk

Milk – re-moo-ves ink quickly

It all happens in a flash. You’re filing your pen, it tilts slightly, and suddenly there’s a big blue stain to deal with. Admittedly, fountain pens are fairly rare these days. But many kids still have to use them at school, and we all know how much of a big mess those little people can make. If you don’t want your tablecloth to have a charming blue splatter all over it, there is a solution. Particularly effective on sensitive fabrics and carpets, milk (preferably buttermilk) is amazing for ink stain removal.

Soak the fabric in plenty of milk for several hours, or overnight if possible. After the soaking, dab gently with rubbing alcohol – which you can normally buy in a pharmacy – and pop the item in the washing machine. For ink stains on your carpet, rub gently with milk and let this dry. Then rinse out with mild soap and clean water.

lipstick stain removal with alcohol

Alcohol – no more lipstick on your collar

Your on-trend pink lipstick looks great with your outfit, but doesn’t look so great on your white clothes. It’s one small step from touching your face to touching your blouse, and all of a sudden there’s a lovely pink blotch to deal with. Lipstick stains are particularly tough – the combination of colour pigments and fat creates an extremely stubborn stain. But there’s an ecological and effective solution.

Gently dab the stain with a cloth soaked in clear alcohol, such as vodka. Work inwards from the outer edge of the stain. This will remove the lipstick from your clothes, leaving you with just the chic colour on your face. Lipstick stain removal at its simplest.

coffee stain removal with baking soda

Baking powder – scares off coffee stains

For many people, coffee is an essential part of our morning routine. But those stray drips or accidental spillages are bound to happen, especially when you’re short of time in the morning. Coffee stain removal can be difficult thanks to its strong colour, and stains can set pretty fast. This means it’s key to act quickly. This home remedy is a classic, and will completely remove that discolouration.

Dissolve some baking soda in water to form a paste. Gently rub this solution on the stain to remove it. Finally, rinse thoroughly with water to solve your coffee conundrum in the most environmentally-friendly and cheap way possible.

blood stain removal with cold water

Cold water – bye bye blood stains

That new sharp knife may be great for cutting your carrots, but it’s all too easy to cut yourself with it my accident, too. As if the pain weren’t enough, you’ll also likely end up with a dark red stain on the nearest piece of fabric. As with most stains, acting fast is essential here. Once it’s dried up, it’s almost impossible to remove blood stains without leaving a trace. For best results, tackle the stain while the blood is still wet (but maybe wrap your poor finger in a plaster, first).

All you need to do is rinse the stain with plenty of clean, cold water. Sounds simple, but is the best stain remover for blood. Using cold water is important. Hot or even warm water will cause a chemical reaction with the blood and bind it to the fibres of the fabric. If the blood stain has already dried, try soaking it in cold water mixed with some salt.

Natural stain removers – ecological, not chemical

As environmental awareness increases, green cleaning is becoming more and more popular. So embrace these natural spot removers and do yourself and the environment a favour. Not only are they tough on stains and gentle on the environment, but they’re also gentle on your wallet. These remedies are much cheaper than their chemical alternatives.

So save the world and some money at the same time by trying out these DIY solutions. And next time you have a spillage, remember: don’t panic. If all else fails, red-wine-stain chic should be coming back into fashion any day now, right?

best natural stain removers infographic

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About the author


British Natalie lives in Berlin, but is a Parisian at heart. Her love of all things clean and organised means she's always got a useful tip or two up her sleeve.

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