How to remove stains in an eco-friendly way
Written by Emmanuelle Gammage
Daffodils are blooming, the sunshine is beginning to emerge and the kids are going back to school. That can only mean one thing. The all too familiar feeling of school uniforms returning home with fresh grass stains, ketchup and grease remnants from a family BBQ, and those yellow-armpit marks from running around outside all day long.
Stain removal quickly becomes part of the daily cleaning routine during the spring and summer months, with potential hazards everywhere you look. But it doesn’t have to be a hassle. Using our eco-friendly stain removal tips, look no further than your kitchen cupboards!
Stain removal tips
When it comes to stains, acting quickly is key. Although you can usually still remove older stains, it’s far quicker and easier to remove them when they’re fresh.
It’s also important never to rub the stain as this can cause it to seep deeper into the material. Instead, aim to absorb the stain. We recommend using one of our Ecoegg Reusable Bamboo Towels from our sustainable living range, to dab the material with cool water and absorb any moisture. If you’re attending a family BBQ, munching on a picnic in the park or watching your child playing a sport outside, it may be handy to keep a bamboo towel in your handbag for on- the-go stain removal. You may not be able to remove the entire stain, but preventing it from growing will make your life easier when you get home.
Many eco-friendly stain removers can be found in your kitchen already! Baking soda, salt, cornflour, vinegar and lemons can all be used to tackle wine, coffee, salad dressing, grease, grass stains and oil. Furthermore, make sure you use cold water when tackling a stain because heat sets a stain, making it near impossible to ever remove completely.
However, even after these methods, you may still need to get the stain remover out. In which case, we suggest using an eco-friendly option to protect the planet. Make sure to always follow the recommended instructions as they differ depending on the material and stain remover ingredients.
After all of these steps, you’ll need to wash your clothes to get rid of any excess stain remover. To save yourself 40 bottles of detergent and fabric softener a year, and reduce your energy bill by 10p per wash, use our Ecoegg Laundry Egg that will naturally remove any of those stubborn traces without any harsh chemicals.
Removing crayon stains
Whether your little van Gogh is learning to draw at school or creating a masterpiece on your kitchen table, it’s probably going to get a little messy. If your child returns home with melted crayon wax on their uniform, place the garment in the freezer for an hour as soon as you can to harden the wax. Afterwards, scrape off as much as the crayon as possible with the back of a knife. Next, after checking the recommended heat temperature in the garment’s label, use a warm iron and place a sheet of bamboo roll or a paper towel between the iron and the garment, and gently press. The heat should transfer the crayon marks from the clothing to the bamboo or kitchen towel. You may need to repeat this process a few times to remove the stain completely and then you can pop it in the wash.
If the stain is dry, use your fingers or an old toothbrush (we’ve told you they come in handy when you least expect it!) and rub a small amount of washing up liquid onto the stain. Press a paper or bamboo towel on the stain to absorb it and then rinse it under cool water before popping it into the wash.
Removing grass stains
No matter how hard you try, they’re inevitable. Even when you tell your child for the millionth time that they have to be careful in their new white cotton dress. Grass stains are tough to remove because they consist of naturally occurring compounds which bind to the fibres of natural fabric, like cotton and wool, so the stain sets inside of the fabric, rather than on top of it.
To tackle these tough stains, try creating a baking soda paste using a two-to-one ratio of baking soda and cool water. This will help to draw the stain out of the fabric as the paste dries. Or, soak a sponge or bamboo towel in white vinegar and scrub the stain out, followed by a cool rinse.
However, as grass stains are notoriously stubborn, it’s likely that you’ll need to use a stain remover afterwards to get those final marks out.
Removing stains at a BBQ
Imagine you’re watching your child pick up that burger oozing with tomato ketchup and oh no! It’s too late, a big dollop has landed straight down their front. Think fast. Try to absorb as much of the ketchup as possible to prevent the tomato-based liquid from spreading. Run cold water inside out through the stain to force the spillage back out through the fabric. Next, reach for the trusty vinegar and a sponge and allow it to soak up the excess liquid. Pop it in the wash but make sure the stain has gone before you put it in the dryer, otherwise the stain will set.
For greasy and oily stains, dust cornflour on the material and let it absorb the stain for ten minutes, and then simply brush it away. Get rid of any remaining grease with some white vinegar before putting it in the wash.
Removing sweat stains
Sweat stains are commonly caused by the reaction between the ingredients in your deodorant and the salts in your sweat. (Top tip: choose an aluminium-free deodorant to prevent this). A neutralising acid like white vinegar can do wonders to return your child’s PE kit to its former glory. All you have to do is drizzle it onto the stain and allow it to work its magic (for about 30 minutes) and then put it in the wash with an environmentally friendly detergent. Leaving any clothing soaking overnight in baking soda also has the power to raise the bacteria out of any sweat stains. It’s also useful for removing any lingering odours.
Removing blood stains
Cold water and salt are your best friends when it comes to blood, a stain bound to appear all too often on the playground. After tending to your warrior’s wounds, leave the clothing to soak overnight in a sink or bathtub of cold water and salt. Try rubbing the material with salt a couple of times throughout. Time is of the essence with a blood stain and if you catch it immediately, simply rubbing an ice cube on it could get rid of the blood straight away.
Removing mud stains
Mud is one of the few exceptions to the ‘act quickly’ rule. In this case, you’ll want to wait for the mud to dry so that you can brush the majority of it away. Using washing up liquid, vinegar or lemon juice with a mix of water, sponge the stain with the liquid solution and gently rub until it has removed the stain. Rinse with cold water before putting it in the wash.
With our top tips and eco-friendly products, we’ve got all you need to kickstart an eco-friendly laundry routine, and with our Home Club, you can save with exclusive offers and drastically reduce your carbon footprint.