When it comes to cleaning our clothing and our homes, we have come a long way with detergents, softeners and all manner of stain removal agents. In fact many are quite effective but can be hard on the environment and even harder on the budget.
But there is a growing trend of getting back to basics and using time worn, tried and true methods to keeping our clothing in good condition without any harmful residue. Using common, easy to find ingredients we can remove most stains safely and effectively and for very little cost.
The Laundry Room
Stubborn stains can be conquered and clothing can be returned to good condition with a just a little prep work. Here are a few of the most common tips.
Fruit and vegetable juices can be removed with table salt. Spread the garment on a hard surface and cover stain with salt, let sit for an hour then remove excess and wash as usual.
Wine, tomato sauce and blood can be set with heat so before washing, use mild dish soap on stain itself and allow to soak before washing. If the stain is wet, dab with club soda and repeat until stain is removed.
Grease, oils and fats can be removed with shampoo rubbed gently into stain then wash as normal. Cornstarch can be used to cover stain until dry. Use a stiff brush to remove excess and repeat as needed. For more difficult stains, make a paste of lemon juice and salt and rub into the into stain and let sit till dry.
Ink can be removed with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. Blot until stain is gone.
Whites can be whitened naturally by hanging clothing in the sun to dry and vinegar is a natural antifungal that can remove odor and mildew from any type of material.
Minor carpet stains can be effectively removed by a solution of one cup of vinegar and one cup of water into a spray bottle. Spray stain then let sit for several minutes and blot until stain is removed. Repeat as needed.
Baking soda is a natural deodorizer. Sprinkle on furniture and carpets, let sit then vacuum. You can also place baking soda in shallow containers to remove odors in the refrigerator, closets and even in the air as well.
Removing stains from leather furniture is tricky but it can be done. Mix a quarter of a cup of vinegar and half a cup of warm water, dip a soft cloth in the solution and rub the stain carefully until it is removed. Use leather saddle soap to completely remove any soil from the stained area and dry using a soft cloth.
Water marks can be easily removed from wood with mayonnaise. Simply apply a small amount to a soft dry paper towel and let it sit over the stain. Wait fifteen minutes and if mark remains; rub into the mark until gone. Clean the surface and polish as usual
Almost all stains have the same basic components and these natural cleaners can be used in all areas of your home without risk. The trick is to know which ones work best. Of course testing small areas of your clothing, carpets, and leather is suggested to minimize any damage and talk to a professional if your piece is a fragile or a family heirloom.
A few common staples and a little elbow grease can keep your clothing and your home in good condition for years without breaking the bank.