Zero-Waste Stain Sticks That Are Far More Eco-Friendly Than Tide Pens

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Sep. 3 2021, Published 2:54 p.m. ET

Eco-Friendly Stain Sticks
Source: Getty Images

You have zero-waste laundry detergent, a high efficiency washing machine, and you hang all your clothes to dry — but what about a quick-and-easy, low-impact stain remover?

While stain sticks like Tide pens and Shout sticks can be effective, they’re not cruelty-free (meaning the companies test their products on animals), they can contain toxic ingredients, and they are made of plastic. Fortunately, there are many zero-waste stain sticks on the market, as well as easy recipes for DIY stain removers.

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Here are a few options, all of which are completely plastic-free, cruelty-free, and vegan.

Juniperseed Mercantile’s Laundry Stain Stick

The Laundry Stain Stick from Juniperseed Mercantile is essentially a concentrated bar of soap, made of natural ingredients and packaged in paper. To use, just lightly wet the stain and one corner of the bar, and use that corner to scrub the stain. Then, throw the garment in the wash. This stain stick is also multipurpose — you can grate it to add to a homemade laundry detergent recipe, or even use it as dish soap. The bar costs $4 for a small or $7 for a large.

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ovellaWool’s Verde Stain Stick

Etsy shop ovellaWool makes the Verde Stain Stick out of just one ingredient: saponified organic coconut oil. Similar to Juniperseed Mercantile’s stick, this one also resembles a bar of soap, and simply needs to be wet before rubbing it onto your stain. You can also buy it in tube form, which is less messy, but made of hard plastic. You can buy the zero-waste stain bar for $9 from either Etsy or the Package Free Shop.

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Bestowed Essentials’ Laundry Stain Remover Stick

Zero-waste brand Bestowed Essentials makes a Laundry Stain Remover Stick out of coconut oil, water, sodium hydroxide, and baking soda. Like the above options, simply dampen the stained fabric and the stick; then, rub the stick on the stain like a crayon, let sit for 10 minutes, and put in the wash. You can buy one from The Collective — completely package-free, besides shipping materials! — for $5.

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Ethique’s Flash

Ethique is a zero-waste company that sells just about every personal care and home cleaning product in bar form — and the stain stick is no exception. Ethique’s Flash, aka the Solid Laundry Bar & Stain Remover, can be used to pretreat stains, hand wash delicate clothing, and even wash dishes and hands in a pinch. However, Ethique does not recommend using it as laundry detergent. Buy a bar for $6.

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Dropps’ Stain and Odor Laundry Detergent Pods

If you’re not into scrubbing your stains, and prefer to let the washing machine do its thang, you may be interested in Dropps’ Stain and Odor Laundry Detergent Pods. These zero-waste, biodegradable pods can be used as laundry detergent for loads featuring super dirty or stained clothing. While lifting stains, the pods also supposedly clean your clothes, brighten colors, and add a refreshing natural scent. Buy directly from Dropps ($18 for a 56-count box) or via EarthHero ($14.99 for a 32-count box).

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Distilled white vinegar

White vinegar has numerous uses around the house — one of which is pretreating stains! Simply dilute some vinegar with water, and apply the mixture directly to your stain using a rag; then, put the clothing in the wash. Click here for more all-natural, DIY stain removing ideas.

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