Home and Garden

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

Natural Stain Remover Tips

how often should I wash my laundry

natural stain remover

Today I wanted to share my natural stain remover tips.  But first, I’ve got a confession to make…  For the longest time I couldn’t not have a bottle of stain remover in my kitchen cupboard.  You know the one that comes in the pink bottle.  It was a habit I could not kick – two kids will do that to you!

When my last bottle ran out I vowed to look into natural stain remover methods, and lo and behold, a lot of them work just as well, if not better, than their chemical ridden counterparts.

I use a good quality eco-friendly laundry detergent (Ecover sent me their Non Bio Laundry Liquid to try, which is great at cleaning laundry) but sometimes you just need a little something extra to shift extra stubborn stains.

Here are my natural stain remover tips for a cleaner greener wash.  As with any stain remover, before trying out the natural stain remover tips I’d recommend spot testing in an inconspicuous area just in case:

Natural Stain Remover Tips


Milk is great at removing biro.  Simply soak your stained item of clothing in a little milk for around 3 hours, then wash as normal.


You can either pre-soak your item of clothing in heavily salted cold water, or soak in a mixture of 1 litre hot water and a quarter cup of soda crystals, then wash as normal.  Either option, depending on what you have to hand should remove the most stubborn blood stain.

Candle Wax

Got some candle wax on your best table cloth?  Try placing brown paper on top of the the waxy stain and iron the paper with a warm iron.  This should draw the melted wax out of the fabric.

Chewing Gum

Put the offending item of clothing in your freezer for a few hours.  The gum should then be quite hard and brittle, allowing you to scrape the gum off easily with a knife.

Cooking Fat

Create a paste of bicarbonate of soda or soda crystals and equal parts water to spread over the stain.  Then leave the paste on for 30 minutes and then wash in your usual laundry detergent.


Similar to chewing gum, freeze the item of clothing for a few hours to harden the crayon, and then scrape off the excess with a knife.  You can then place the stained area of clothing between two clean paper towels, and press with a warm iron.  This should transfer the wax on to the paper towels.  Depending on how bad the stain is you may need to do this a few times.  Then wash with your regular detergent and a large spoon of soda crystals in the drum to help shift the residue.

Natural Stain Removal Tips

Faded Whites

Although not strictly a stain, half a cup of lemon juice in with your usual detergent should help keep whites bright.


Remove the crusts from a slice of white bread and roll the bread into a ball (trust me on this!).  Then use the ball of bread to blot the lipstick stain, which should lift the lipstick from the clothes, and then wash as normal.  Apparently white play doh also works for removing lipstick stains but I haven’t tested that particular method!


Pre-soak muddy clothes in a bucket of warm water with a quarter cup of bicarbonate of soda or soda crystals for three hours.  Then wash your item of clothing as normal.  Don’t be tempted to leave muddy clothes sitting – it works best if you soak straight away.

Perspiration Marks

Yellow perspiration marks can easily be removed by soaking your clothing in white vinegar, rinsing in water and then washing as normal.

Red Wine

Make a paste using bicarbonate of soda and equal parts water and and apply to the stain.  Leave for a few hours, then rinse under the tap and then wash.  Sparkling or soda water will also help remove a red wine stain if bicarbonate of soda doesn’t cut the mustard.

Tea & Coffee

Mix one cup of soda crystals into a pint of hot water, and pre-soak your clothes for an hour before washing as normal to effortlessly remove tea and coffee stains.

Any natural stain remover tips I’ve missed?  Do share your favourites in the comments below!

 * Ecover sent me a bottle of their laundry liquid to try out and I’ve been mighty impressed with it’s cleaning abilities.  

Energy Saving, Home and Garden

Get Smart About Smart Meters

smart meter roll out

Disclosure: this post is in partnership with Smart Energy GB

Regular readers may remember that in October last year I wrote about Big Energy Saving Week and ways in which you can reduce your energy consumption and bills.  As part of that post I talked about smart meters, and how they can help keep an eye on your energy consumption.

Smart meters are going to be offered to us all over the next few years, free of charge, so today I wanted to share some more information on smart meters and some research that has been released about how they are being received by those who have already upgraded to using smart meters.

What are smart meters?

A smart meter is just like your normal gas and electricity meter except that they transmit your actual meter readings direct to your supplier allowing them to prepare an accurate bill.  As part of the upgrade you will be offered a smart meter display free of charge from your energy supplier, who has a legal obligation to offer you one.  

The smart meter will sit in your house and shows you in near real time how much energy you are using and how much it is costing you in pounds and pence.

As well as that the good news is you won’t have to deal with any more estimated bills, and there will be no need for you to submit meter readings (especially handy if your meter is in an awkward place!) and you will have no more unexpected callers asking to read the meter.

free smart meter

Do people like them?

Householders who already have them installed have rated their smart meters massively higher than those still using the old analogue technology.  Smart Energy GB surveyed over 10,000 people across the country and it is clear that overwhelmingly, people feel more in control of the energy they use and are saving money by using the smart meter display to monitor and reduce their consumption.

Here are some of the key facts from the survey:

  • More than half (52%) of people with smart meters say their new meter is helping them save money.
  • Eight in ten (80%) of people with a smart meter have taken at least one step to reduce how much energy they use.
  • Eight in ten (79%) of people with a smart meter would recommend them to others.
  • 85% of those using smart meters say they have a better understanding of what they are spending on energy.
  • 81% of people using smart meters are more confident in the accuracy of their bills compared to those with traditional meters (64%).
  • 75% of people with smart meters say that they understand their energy bills, while just 61% of people using traditional meters said the same.
  • Nearly three quarters (72%) of people with a smart meter say that they have the information they need to choose the right energy tariff, far higher than those with traditional meters (57%).

Does having smart meter fitted save me money?

The smart meter itself doesn’t save you money, but by seeing your energy in real time and the actual cost the theory is it should nudge you along to stop wasting energy.  Think how many times you have boiled a kettle only to walk away and then re-boil it a few minutes later when you remember – hopefully the smart meter will make you more aware of how much energy is involved in boiling a kettle (hint – it’s a lot!).

By being a very visible reminder that using energy costs money the technology can help us all be more energy conscious, and that can’t be a bad thing.

Over two million smart meters have already been installed, and you can read about the experiences of real people here.

Where can I get one?

They come at no extra cost, so your supplier will not make any charge for the device when they come to install it.  They are paid for through our standing charge, in the same way that maintenance of analogue meters is paid for now.

Between now and 2020 every home and micro-business in England, Scotland and Wales will be offered the chance to upgrade to a smart meter.  Your energy supplier will get in touch with you when they are installing in your area, but you can preempt this by registering your interest by visiting your suppliers website or giving them a call.