We may earn a fee if you buy via links in this post (at no extra cost to you). Read our Terms & Conditions to learn more.
The most effective way to eliminate stains is to treat them immediately after they happen.
But what if you don’t have a stain remover on hand?
I have good news—it’s easy to make a homemade stain remover using items that you already have in your home.
I’ve experimented with over ten different homemade stain remover recipes, and the four I share in this guide are by far the most effective.
So, if you accidentally spilled something on your clothes or carpet and don’t have time to run to the store, keep reading.
Use the links below to navigate:
- Dish Soap Homemade Stain Remover
- Scented Soap Homemade Stain Remover
- Best Stain Remover for Proteins-Based Stains
- Bleach Alternative Homemade Stain Remover
- Final Thoughts on DIY Stain Removers
Dish Soap Homemade Stain Remover
This recipe works on all types of stains, be it food, drink, baby stains, mud, or even grass stains. It’s good for colors, whites, and most fabrics. I always recommend testing on an inconspicuous area of your garment first to make sure it’s compatible.
This recipe only requires ingredients you already have in the house, so it’s easy to mix in a flash. Plus, it’s cost-effective.
- Dawn dish soap (or another brand)
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Airtight container (i.e., old jam jar)
- Old toothbrush or garment brush
- Remove the lid from your airtight container. Inside, mix one part dish soap and two parts hydrogen peroxide.
- Add in one tablespoon of baking soda. Mix to form a paste. If it’s still too runny, add in more baking soda until you have a thick paste. Keep the airtight lid on the container when you aren’t using it.
- Pour the paste directly onto the affected area.
- With an old toothbrush or garment brush, gently rub in the stain remover.
- Flip the garment inside out and repeat this process. This helps push the stain out or treat the stain if it’s bled through the garment.
- Let the stain remover sit for one hour.
- Wash the garment according to the care label instructions.
- Before you dry the garment, check to see if the stain is gone. If not, repeat the process.
- Do not dry the garment until the stain is completely removed; otherwise, this can set the stain.
- Once the stain is gone, dry the garment according to care label instructions.
Dish soap is designed to cut and remove grease and grime, making this homemade stain remover the best for food stains.
Although dish soap is usually colored, it won’t stain clothes. You can use this on white clothes without worrying about creating a new stain.
Keep the leftover stain remover paste in the airtight container for future uses. I recommend making a big batch to have readily available. Use within six months and store it in a dark cupboard.
Bonus tip: Use the stain remover on the underarms of garments to pre-treat sweat stains before washing.
Finally — try this on carpets. Just scrub it in with an old toothbrush, let it sit for about an hour, then rub it clean with a damp cloth. Of course, always test first in an inconspicuous area.
Scented Soap Homemade Stain Remover
This crafty recipe is excellent for pre-treating stains. It works best when used immediately after a stain occurs. If you have kids, this is a magical recipe for removing grubby stains with all-natural ingredients.
If you’re looking for a scented solution, add a few drops of lemon essential oil, which adds a citrus scent. But if you aren’t much into fragrances, skip the essential oil, and this stain remover works just as well.
- 1.5 cups of water
- ¼ cup of liquid castile soap
- ¼ cup of vegetable glycerin
- 5-10 drops of lemon essential oil (optional)
- Glass container
- Spoon for mixing
- Old toothbrush or garment brush
- Mix all the ingredients in an airtight glass container. Lemon oil can break down plastic bottles, so use glass.
- Shake well before use. Dip your old toothbrush or garment brush into the solution.
- Gently scrub the solution into the stained area, on both sides of the garment.
- Let it soak for one hour or overnight.
- Wash away the solution and check if the stain has been lifted. If so, wash it as usual. If the stain looks the same, repeat this process before washing the garment.
- Wash according to the care label instructions.
- Check the stain is gone before drying. Repeat the process if the stain is still there.
- If the stain is gone, dry as usual.
If you don’t have liquid castile soap, substitute with dish soap. However, castile soap is all-natural, whereas dish soap is made with synthetic chemicals. So if you’re looking for an all-natural recipe, stick with castile soap.
Why vegetable glycerin? Glycerin can loosen stains from clothes, so they are easy to remove in the washing cycle. Always make sure to use a cloth or paper towel to remove the excess glycerin before putting the garment into the washing machine.
Keep the solution in an airtight glass container to reuse when the next stain disaster happens.
Best Stain Remover for Proteins-Based Stains
This next recipe is ideal for protein-based stains. The enzyme cleaner within this stain remover breaks up organic proteins found in meats, sweat, milk, and other bodily fluids. Here’s how you can make it at home.
- Two tablespoons of water
- One teaspoon of enzyme cleaner
- One teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide
- One teaspoon of laundry detergent
- Two cloths
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Lay a cloth underneath the garment, so it won’t damage the surface if the solution leaks through.
- Spoon the solution directly onto the stain.
- Use the other clean cloth to rub the stain gently. Dip it into the solution if you need more stain remover. Continue until the stain lifts.
- Finish by blotting the stain.
- Wash according to the care label instructions.
- Check the stain is gone before drying. If it’s gone, dry as usual. If it’s still there, repeat the process.
Scrape as much of the stain off before using this method. For example, if you have a stain from meat juices, use the back of a spoon to scrape off excess before treating the stain.
This recipe is also perfect for removing stains caused by a pet. If you have a new puppy that keeps having accidents around the home, use this to clean up after them. Just make sure to test on an inconspicuous area to make sure it doesn’t harm the fabric.
Bleach Alternative Homemade Stain Remover
This homemade stain remover is a natural alternative to bleach that will remove yellowing and dingy stains from white clothes. Because it’s designed to brighten, I recommend this recipe for whites only.
- ⅓ cup of hydrogen peroxide
- ¼ cup of lemon juice
- 10-15 drops of lemon essential oil
- ¾ cup of baking soda
- Seven cups of water
- Airtight glass container
- Pour the baking soda into a large bowl.
- Add the essential oil.
- Next, add the lemon juice. Note that this will foam up for a few seconds before settling.
- Add the hydrogen peroxide.
- Lastly, add the water. Use your whisk to incorporate the ingredients while you’re adding the water. Mix until the ingredients are combined.
- Pour the mixture into an airtight glass container, like an old wine bottle.
- When using, add one cup of the solution to your detergent drawer or washing machine drum. Add your regular detergent if you wish. Run a hot cycle, and enjoy your fresh, clean, and stain-free clothes.
You can use this stain remover to pre-soak clothes before washing. Simply add half a cup of the solution to a few gallons of water in a basin, soak the garments for a few hours or overnight, then wash as usual.
If you have white carpets or upholstery with stains, soak a cloth in the solution and wipe down the items. Always test in an inconspicuous area.
Important note: store the bottle away from direct sunlight. Hydrogen peroxide can deteriorate if exposed to direct sunlight. I recommend keeping it in a dark cupboard between uses.
Safety tip: Never mix hydrogen peroxide (including products like OxiClean that break down into hydrogen peroxide) with bleach. Doing so creates a dangerous chemical reaction that releases toxic fumes.
Final Thoughts on DIY Stain Removers
With these four amazing homemade stain remover recipes, you can tackle any type of stain, whether it be on clothes, carpet, or even upholstery.
My top tips for creating homemade stain removers include:
- Always store your stain removers in airtight glass containers, especially if you’re using essential oils.
- Treat stains as soon as you notice them for better results.
- Before using a stain remover, always test it in an inconspicuous area of the garment.
- If you have sensitive skin, wear rubber gloves while preparing these recipes.
- Let the stain remover soak into the garment for at least an hour before washing.
- Never dry an item if the stain has not been completely removed. Heat can set stains, making them impossible to remove.
If you’re unsure which recipe to try first, go for the dish soap stain remover. It’s cost-effective, most of the ingredients are probably already in your home, and it works on most types of stains.
Let us know which recipe worked best for you! If you have any thoughts, tips, or advice, leave them below.
If you found this article helpful, you should also check out:
- OxiClean vs. Shout: Which Stain Remover Is Better?
- OxiClean vs. Tide: Which Detergent and Stain Remover Is the Best?
- Tide vs. Persil: Which Laundry Detergent Is Better?
- All vs. Tide: Which Laundry Detergent Is Better?
- Bona vs. Swiffer: Which Floor Mop Is the Best?
- Seventh Generation vs. Mrs. Meyer’s: Which Cleaning Products Are Better?
- The Ultimate Home Maintenance Checklist (Printable)
- E-Cloth vs. Norwex: Which Microfiber Cloth Is the Best?
- Clorox vs. Lysol: Which Disinfecting Wipes Kill More Germs?
- Tide vs. Gain: Which Laundry Detergent Is the Best?
- How to Remove Mold and Mildew From Outdoor Cushions (5 Simple Methods)
- Seventh Generation vs. Method: Which Cleaning Products Are Better?