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How to naturally remove stains from clothes

It's always the day when you wear a beautiful white blouse that you end up with a stain – the only stain in a month, and it happens on that lovely white blouse, such bad luck!

But don't worry, we have natural and eco-friendly solutions to remove stains. Whether it's coffee, chocolate, blueberries, or grease, stains on clothes can happen quickly, and it's (almost) always on our favorite garment. Instead of using a magical stain remover filled with chemicals, let's act as quickly and naturally as possible.

We've put together some greener tips for you.

How to Handle a Fresh Stain?

Act Quickly

You got it – a stain needs attention as soon as possible. If you let it dry, it might embed itself in the fibers, making it harder to remove later. As soon as you notice a stain, act locally.


1: It's more effective than putting diluted products in the machine.

2: It's less polluting: a drop on the stain vs. a full dose diluted in several liters of machine water – this ends up polluting more water.

3: It's more satisfying because you see the stain disappear (we admit, this is less important). Check the garment label before taking action. If bleaching is prohibited, avoid using sodium percarbonate as it could cause discolouration instead of removing the stain.

Steps to Stain Removal Like a Pro:

First Step: Removing the Bulk of the Stain

Remove as much dirt as possible without rubbing, as that might spread or embed the stain:

  • For liquid stains, blot with a cloth or absorbent paper to soak up as much as possible.

  • For grease stains, sprinkle with clay powder, cornstarch, or talcum powder to absorb the grease. Let it sit for at least an hour, then remove the powder before applying a stain remover if the stain remains.

  • Scrape off thick stains with a butter knife or spoon (a serrated or pointed knife might damage or tear your fabric).

Second Step: Targeting

  • Target the stain with a natural stain remover, preferably. It's more effective to apply a small amount directly on the stain and let it sit, rather than adding a large dose that will dilute in your machine while polluting more water than necessary.

  • Let it work and rinse. Repeat the process several times if needed.

  • If the stain still doesn't come out, you can gently scrub and rub the fabric with a very soft brush (like a facial brush), but be careful not to damage the fabric.

  • Tougher stains require stronger products, like sodium percarbonate (for white fabrics only) or washing soda that you can dilute with water and apply using a cloth (microfiber).Remember to wear gloves to protect your hands and safety glasses in case of splashes. Sodium percarbonate should be used with water at a minimum of 40°C for optimal effectiveness.

  • Soak heavily soiled clothing: To remove tough stains, soak the clothes for 30 minutes to overnight in a basin of warm to hot water (depending on the fabric's sensitivity), adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of washing soda. Then run the clothes through the machine.

Which Stain Remover to Use?

Most stains will come out with a Marseille soap. For less delicate textiles, you can also use a very soft brush. For others, you need to identify the type of stain and use a specific method related to that stain.

The Basics of Stains in 3 Types:

  • Grease Stains (butter, oil, grease, lipstick...): use Marseille soap on white fabrics or black soap.

  • Oxidisable Stains (coffee, tea, wine, fruit, grass, tomato, and more generally stains from fruits, vegetables, herbs): use sodium percarbonate or hydrogen peroxide. Note that this may bleach. Test Marseille soap on colored fabric first.

  • Enzymatic Stains: often due to proteins (chocolate, milk, egg...) or starch (rice, potato...), use preferably natural enzyme-containing detergent, applying it directly to the stain and leaving it for a few minutes (5 to 30 minutes).

How to Remove Stubborn or Set-In Stains:

Use a natural trick first instead of conventional, often aggressive and polluting stain removers.

Below, you'll find our tips for specific stubborn stains, along with tips to make them disappear once and for all.

Our Tips for Specific Tough Stains:

Motor oil: Remove the bulk with a butter knife or spoon. Dab with clear butter or oil (avoid olive oil). Let it sit for an hour, absorb with clay, talcum powder, or cornstarch to soak up the deposited oil, then machine wash (recommended at 40°C).

Chewing gum: Don't try to remove it immediately, or you'll embed it in the textile. Place the garment in the freezer overnight, then scrape off as much as possible the next day.

Candle wax: Like chewing gum, let it dry before scraping off as much wax as possible! You can freeze the garment for a few minutes to make the wax hard. Then place the fabric between two absorbent papers or A4-sized paper, another fabric on top, and iron to melt the remaining wax, which will be absorbed (be cautious with the iron temperature, it should melt the wax without burning the paper, we recommend setting it to synthetic heat without steam). Repeat the process. You can add some talcum powder on the stain to absorb the wax.

Ink: Soak in milk or white vinegar without adding water, as water fixes the ink. Rinse with cold water, then wash.

Spinach: Rub a slice of raw potato on the stain. Then wash.

Red fruits and vegetables (blueberries, strawberries, cherries, beets...): use vinegar or lemon juice on the stains.

Grease: Absorb as much as possible with clay, potato starch, or talcum powder. Brush off the residue after a few hours before washing with water.

Grass: Moisten the stain with rubbing alcohol, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse and wash.

Blood: Avoid hot water, which coagulates the blood and embeds the stain. Rinse thoroughly with cold water by holding the fabric, then soak with sodium percarbonate (for white and resistant fabrics).

Sweat: Soak the clothing in rubbing alcohol, then wash.

Red wine: Do not use salt, contrary to popular belief. Salt sets tannins instead of dissolving them! Use hot milk or sodium percarbonate instead.

Stains Present After Washing?

Sometimes, clothes come out of the machine with stains. A stain that's been through a wash, especially if you used hot water, can be harder to remove afterward.

Several reasons are possible:

1- You're dealing with a heavy stain. Few detergents can help at this stage. Use our tips above and be patient. A washed stain is often harder to remove, as hot water sets it in the textile. That's why we recommend always treating stains before washing.

2- You notice white or grease stains that weren't there before washing: if you use powder or liquid detergent, you might have overdosed. Reduce the dose or use Ops clean instead of your usual detergent. Otherwise, the machine might have been overloaded compared to the selected wash cycle. Refer to the recommended maximum load weight chart based on the wash cycle. The maximum load of your machine (e.g., 7 kilograms) is indicated for a "long" cotton or ecocotton cycle. Other programs generally accept lower loads ranging from 40 to 80% of the maximum load.

3- If the laundry smells bad and sometimes brown stains appear, bacteria and fungi may have developed in the machine. Bacteria love laundry detergent and fabric softener. They multiply significantly in your machine, and the next wash is a party! The cause might be that you used a dose of the product that was too big or an inadequately ventilated machine. You need to clean your machine (long cycle at 70°C) and wash the clothes again. By using Ops clean instead of conventional detergents, you eliminate the risk of bacterial development in the machine while keeping washing water free from polluting substances. Ops leaves no organic residue and removes 99,8% of the bacteria on laundry when used properly.

Precautions for Delicate Fabrics:

Be careful, some delicate fabrics may react sensitively to certain stain removers. It's best to start with old-fashioned Marseille soap and see if that works.

Some powerful stain removers, like sodium percarbonate, washing soda, or most commercial stain removers require some precautions: wear goggles, gloves, ventilate the room, and always keep them out of children's reach.

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