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How to sustainably remove tough stains from clothes

Throwaway fashion is putting increasing pressure on our planet and it’s people. Every week 13 million items of clothing ends up in UK landfill. And did you know it would take 13 years for one person to drink the water needed to make one cotton t-shirt and a pair of jeans?

Giving your clothes as longer life is the best way to look after the planet - and your purse strings. Sadly, stains are one of the biggest reasons great clothes get binned. So, we’ve put together a quick guide on how to remove stubborn stains from your clothes - sustainably, of course!

1. Act fast!

The sooner you try to remove the stain, the better chances of complete success. But before you get going, don’t forget to check the care labels and make sure it’s not dry-clean only.

2. Scoop, blot or flush

Remove any excess liquids, juices, or substances before you get going applying stain removal solutions or pre-soaking. Either blot to remove excess liquids like wine or coffee; use a spoon or blunt knife to gently lift solids like wax or melted chocolates; or flush juices like strawberry or tomato sauce out from the reverse side by holding the stain under a long stream of cold running water.

Handmade Laundry Soap Bar

3. Apply stain remover

Using EcoVibe’s Stain Remover Bar, wet the soap and stained area with water and rub the bar into the material on and around the affected area. Gently rub the fabric to work the cleaning product further in.

If you don’t have our stain remover bar to hand, don’t worry! There’s some other natural and plastic-free stain removers you may already have at home that could help including lemon juice (but be careful as this can cause colour loss on darker items), baking soda – just mix with water to make a paste –, or plain old table salt are all great options instead.

4. Pre-soak

If an item’s heavily stained, it may need pre-soaking. Depending on the stain, soak your clothing water and leave from anywhere between 30 mins to a couple of hours (depending on the instructions of your stain remover).

Dissolveable Laundry Detergent Strips

5. Wash

Pop the item in the washing machine (ideally with some other laundry to make the most out of the water and energy used for your washing cycle) with your choice of laundry detergent.

We’re huge fans of these Dissolvable Laundry Detergent Strips by Tru Earth, they’re completely plastic free, helping eliminate plastic laundry jugs, plus they have a dramatically smaller carbon footprint than liquid and powder detergents.

6. Check to see if the stain is gone

If it isn’t, repeat step 3 and toss back in the washing machine for another cycle.
If the stain has gone (yay!), air the item in natural sunlight as the sun can help remove any last traces of stains. Don’t tumble dry as if there’s any chance there’s still stains left, the high heat can stain into the fabric.

What temperature is best for removing stains?

Lots of household choose to use cold water for their day-today laundry – which is great! Washing your laundry in cold water helps to conserve energy and cut down energy bills in the long term.

Cold water

Cold water is considered around 30 degrees. We’d recommend using cold water on the following products both to conserve energy and protect your clothes - hot water can ruin some fabrics, wrinkling silks, shrinking woollens and so on.

  • Woolly jumpers
  • Silk lingerie
  • Satin skirts
  • Tie dyed clothing
  • Protein stains (such as bloody, dairy, egg, glue or white marks caused by deodorants. Hot water can actually cook the protein and cause it to be absorbed into the fibres of the clothing, cold water can lift the stain without setting it).

Warm water

Warm water will help activate your detergent and is much more effective at thoroughly dissolving powdered detergent. For the best chance of removing stains, we’d recommend using hot water on the products below

  • Water based inks
  • Chocolate, coffee or wine stains
  • Oil based stains


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