There are poisonous, caustic, and downright messy ways to remove stains from fabrics, counter tops, tile, carpet or wherever. But in a home with small children, these products are strictly out of the question for most parents. Well, unless you store them under lock and key. Green stain removal is a much better option.

Before “green” meant anything but a color associated with the Irish, my baby daughter ate a bar of soap. I contacted poison control in a panic and was instructed in how to use my Ipecac Syrup. This added a whole new dimension to the term “projectile vomiting.”

After that, I began with green stain removal. At the time (1982), I called it being smart.

Here are some ways to remove stains that won’t kill anyone or anything — not even the cat. You can use these products while helping the planet and practicing good child safety.

Run-of-the-Mill Stains:

•Soak your laundry for one-half hour in your washer.

•If you are really ambitious, hang your light and white things out to dry in the sun. The sun is a good natural bleaching agent.

Fruit Stains:

•Bring a teapot of water to a rolling boil.

•Stretch stained fabric over pan and anchor down fabric.

•Pour boiling water over stain.

•Repeat if stain still lingers.

Red-Toned Fruit Juice:

•Soak fabric in 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water. (Make sure that your garment is bleach-safe before attempting this, or test for colorfastness on a part of the garment that doesn’t show.)

•Launder as you normally would.

Red Wine Spill on White Carpet:

•Before blotting stained carpet with towel, pour an ample amount of regular table salt over the wine.

•Now blot with several cloth rags or old towels.

•The salt will soak up the red wine.

Ink and Red Wine:

There are 4 ways to get out ink and red wine stains:

1.Sprinkle the stained area with salt and then soak in milk. Afterwards, launder as usual.

2.Combine cream of tartar and lemon juice to make a paste. Use a paint brush or sauce brush to paint the paste on the ink stain. Let set for 15-20 minutes. Then launder item as usual. (Be sure to test this paste on a part of your garment that doesn’t show before using the paste on your actual stain.)

3.Make the lemon and cream of tartar paste as in #2, and then lay item out in the sun for 15-20 minutes. Then launder.

4.Spread cream of tartar (only) on stain and then squeeze lemon juice over cream of tartar. Rub the ingredients into the fabric and wait for a minute or two before rinsing. Then wash as usual.


•On cotton or linen, soak the stained item in cold salt water for up to 60 minutes. Then wash in warm water and laundry soap.

•A new blood stain can be covered in salt, blotted with cold water and rinsed.

Perspiration and Other Ingrained Stains on Clothing, Pillow Cases and Sheets:

•Wet the stained area with laundry soap. (There are green laundry soaps that are also nontoxic.)

•Lay item on the grass so that it is exposed to direct sunlight.

•Keep cloth soaped and dampened while it is in the sunlight.

•Make sure that the item gets several hours of sunlight.

•The stain will begin working its way to top of the fabric.

•Rinse. The stain will simply sluff off.

•Launder as you normally would.


•Mix salt and vinegar into a paste and spread paste on stained fabric.

•Lay item out into the sun to bleach it -or- pour boiling water through the stained area. (This can be done by stretching fabric over a pan or bowl and securing the fabric before pouring on the boiling water.

•Let item dry on its own and then put it through the rinse cycle of your washing machine.

•Check stain and then launder as usual.

Coffee and Tea:

•Soak fabric in 1 part vinegar and 1 part water.

•Let fabric dry out in the sun.

•Launder as usual.


•Pour salt directly on stain to absorb grease.

•Brush off salt gently.

•If the stain is still there, blot spot with a dishtowel dampened with vinegar.

** This method also works on fresh gravy stains.


•Make a lemon-juice-and-salt paste and spread paste on stain.

•Lay fabric out in the sun.

•Rinse and dry.

** Alternately, you can make a paste of vinegar and salt and do the same procedure detailed above.

** Pour vinegar directly on stubborn stains.

** If the clothing still has a musty smell after washing, soak in lemon juice and water and let dry in the sun. Launder afterwards.

Grass Stains from White or Light Clothing:

•Soak item in undiluted vinegar for 15 – 30 minutes.

•Launder as usual.


•Soak clothing in distilled white vinegar and warm water. (For delicate fabrics, use cold water.)

•Let sit for 15 – 30 minutes.


•Launder as usual.

You will find the above ways of green stain removal to be extremely effective.