Written by Marie Hunter
When you became a parent, you probably didn't realize that your new title would include a lifetime of battling stains. Just when you find a way to remove a stubborn stain, you find out your favorite cleaner is loaded with dangerous chemicals, or your kids come up with a new and more creative stain for you to wrestle with.
Why can't stain-removal be simple, effective and safe for the environment? Next time your laundry basket is littered with grass and ketchup stains, try some of these green at-home stain remedies before you toss your clothes into the washer.
- Ammonia - This common household product is especially beneficial for removing rust and grease stains. Be sure to purchase fragrance and color-free ammonia, and pre-test it on a small area of clothing before treating the entire stain. Avoid using ammonia on wool or silk, and also, never combine ammonia with bleach because it can be extremely toxic.
- Baking Soda - Everyone has this in the refrigerator, and it is helpful both for removing stains and. Baking soda can even treat stubborn stains, like blood and wine, but you'll need to apply it as a paste with warm water to a stain as soon as possible before the stain has an opportunity to set in.
- Hydrogen Peroxide - This is by far one of the most thrifty stain removers. A $0.75 bottle can remove hundreds of stains simply by using it to pre-treat a stain a couple of hours prior to washing. For stubborn stains, rub the peroxide into the stain using an old toothbrush. After washing, your clothes should come out looking like new.
- Cream of Tartar - This underused pantry staple has uses beyond the kitchen. In fact, it is quite helpful for removing stains caused by bodily fluids. Perspiration stains, in particular, lift easily from fabrics when you combine cream of tartar with a few crushed aspirins and some warm water.
- Lemon Juice - This citric fruit juice can stain clothes on its own, but when combined with salt and vinegar, it is helpful in removing common food stains, such as grape juice, wine, salsa, ketchup and stubborn berry stains. As an added bonus, your clothes will smell lemony fresh after your next wash.
As with all stain treatments, be sure to test your at-home stain remedy on an undetectable swatch of clothing prior to treating an entire stain. Furthermore, if you want to expand upon your at-home stain treatment savings, set your washers to the cold setting to save money on energy heating expenses.