DIY Homemade Stain Remover Spray: Gentle on Clothes, Tough on Stains

A powerful all-natural stain remover made with just four basic ingredients! DIY Homemade Stain Remover Spray. Gentle on clothes, tough on stains! AMAZING before and after photos, including: ketchup, carrot juice, and pen marks.

Soon after welcoming my first born child, I decided white was not the color of motherhood. Spit-up, sudden diaper explosions in the middle of the grocery store, and bright green pea puree became my new accessories. How do you white-blouse-lovin’ mamas do it? Please share your stain-resistant secrets!

Feeling defeated, my white clothes either sat tucked away at the bottom of my dresser, or the few I actually chose to bravely wear in public were embarrassingly stained. Within minutes of changing into a white shirt or shorts, stain-inducing foods and products from near and far were summoned to come and attack! As if being sleep-deprived wasn’t enough for a new mom.

During my first two years of motherhood, I let the stains win. Yep, I raised my stained white flag of surrender. Between trying to move toward a more natural lifestyle, which meant giving up bleach (a chemical Dustin hated before we ever embraced real food or homemade cleaners), and just feeling beyond exhausted from being a new mom, I gave up on even trying to rid my clothes of stains.

Around Piper’s second birthday (as I started to feel like a functioning adult again), I made the decision that it was time to come out in public wearing clean, white clothes again.  I started researching natural stain-fighting ingredients in an effort to make an easy homemade stain remover.

A powerful all-natural stain remover made with just four basic ingredients! DIY Homemade Stain Remover Spray. Gentle on clothes, tough on stains! AMAZING before and after photos, including: ketchup, carrot juice, and pen marks.

After days of research, I discovered there are a number of very affordable ingredients that naturally fight stains: lemon, hydrogen peroxide, washing soda (thanks to a high PH level), vinegar, borax, glycerin, and castile soap. With a few basic ingredients I started to feel confident about motherhood and white clothes. I began using a homemade laundry soap for our every day washing, a super effective stain remover spray for those unpredictable mommy moments, a two-ingredient laundry booster, and a homemade color-safe bleach for soaking dull clothes. I love how the same single-ingredient products, when combined in different ways, create multiple different cleaners which fight everything from dirty clothes to stains and everything in between.

A powerful all-natural stain remover made with just four basic ingredients! DIY Homemade Stain Remover Spray. Gentle on clothes, tough on stains! AMAZING before and after photos, including: ketchup, carrot juice, and pen marks.

We’ll get to the homemade bleach and laundry booster another day, although I mention the laundry booster below. Today, let’s talk about Mom’s best friend: Homemade Stain Remover Spray. Give it up for the spray that’s about revolutionize your wardrobe. Say hello to white again! As we all know the proof is in the pudding (you’ll be so thankful for this spray after I share my decadent homemade no-cook chocolate pudding recipe next week), so let’s take a look at some stain-fighting evidence.

A powerful all-natural stain remover made with just four basic ingredients! DIY Homemade Stain Remover Spray. Gentle on clothes, tough on stains! AMAZING before and after photos, including: ketchup, carrot juice, and pen marks.

First up, an old pen mark. I’ve been walking around with a tiny little pen mark on my white shorts for a few weeks now. Finally, I decided it was time to kiss that old pen mark good-bye and document the results for you. POW!

A powerful all-natural stain remover made with just four basic ingredients! DIY Homemade Stain Remover Spray. Gentle on clothes, tough on stains! AMAZING before and after photos, including: ketchup, carrot juice, and pen marks.

Second, freshly juiced carrots. Three times a week I make fresh juice usually with beets, carrots, turmeric, celery, lemons, and apples. The perfect recipe for staining clothes and countertops. To show the “WHAM” power of this homemade stain remover, I poured carrot juice on my shirt and sprayed homemade stain remover on the spot.

A powerful all-natural stain remover made with just four basic ingredients! DIY Homemade Stain Remover Spray. Gentle on clothes, tough on stains! AMAZING before and after photos, including: ketchup, carrot juice, and pen marks.

Next up, a fresh pen mark. Say, “hi!” And then, “ZAP!” No white flags of surrender here, Mr. Pen!

A powerful all-natural stain remover made with just four basic ingredients! DIY Homemade Stain Remover Spray. Gentle on clothes, tough on stains! AMAZING before and after photos, including: ketchup, carrot juice, and pen marks.

Finally, let’s talk about ketchup. Yep, a kid’s best friend and mom’s worst nightmare! Just for fun I drew a smiley face…why not? Even after the stain remover was applied a slight yellow tint remained, so I decided to toss the shirt in the laundry with my homemade laundry booster: 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 cup washing soda (not baking soda). WOW!

A powerful all-natural stain remover made with just four basic ingredients! DIY Homemade Stain Remover Spray. Gentle on clothes, tough on stains! AMAZING before and after photos, including: ketchup, carrot juice, and pen marks.

Save that bright white flag of surrender for another battle, Mom! We know there are many on this journey of parenthood. I’ve got your back with the laundry.

Homemade Stain Remover Spray
 
Author:
Serves: ¾ cup
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup glycerin (where to buy)- I keep this one on hand for body-related products. You don't have to use organic or a specific brand name.
  • ¼ cup water (Clean tap water is fine for short-term use. Use distilled or boiled and cooled water for long-term use.)
  • ¼ cup castile soap (I like orange, tea tree, or peppermint)
  • 1 TB hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • 40 drops lemon essential oil (where to buy)- Lemon is the key ingredient. Since a fresh-squeezed lemon would cause this solution to expire quickly, I go with lemon essential oil. Feel free to use 1-2 juiced lemons if you plan to use the spray within 1-2 days.
Instructions
  1. In a dark spray bottle (or a clear bottle that's covered with a dark bag, tape, or stored in a dark location--due to the hydrogen peroxide), combine all the ingredients.
To Use: Blot a liquid stain with paper towels or a cloth. Gently shake the stain remover spray bottle, then spray or pour the stain remover on a stain (preferably a fresh stain). Let the stain remover rest for 5 minutes. Scrub the soaked stain with a scrub brush or cloth until the stain has been lifted. Rinse the clothing in water or the washing machine. If a yellow tint remains (for example: from ketchup) place the clothing in the washing machine with ½ cup washing soda and ½ cup hydrogen peroxide, along with laundry soap. From my experience, this solution is safe on colors. Always test a small area before applying this stain remover to a larger fabric surface. This stain remover may be stored at room temperature in a dark location (cabinet, etc.).
Notes
The “where to buy” links provide links to the actual products I use. As always, I recommend shopping around online and at local stores for the best prices and products you love. View my favorite DIY ingredients and tools.
A powerful all-natural stain remover made with just four basic ingredients! DIY Homemade Stain Remover Spray. Gentle on clothes, tough on stains! AMAZING before and after photos, including: ketchup, carrot juice, and pen marks.

More DIYs You May Like:

DIY homemade Bathroom cleaner

DIY All-in-One Bathroom Cleaner

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Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap



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PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.


36 Comments

  • JoAnn C. says:

    You put a smile on my face with this post. I didn’t know if I should be humming the theme song from Wonder Woman or Batman. Pow! Bang! Wow!

    Happy weekend to you!

  • Sandy says:

    Just want to make sure…I can only use this on whites?

    Thanks you for the recipe!

  • IthacaNancy says:

    Thanks for posting this – it’s one of the few products I still buy that is packaged in plastic. I have a vacation rental business, and our sheets and towels need to look brand new for every guest, so this one is important to me! I wonder about using citric acid rather than lemons? Any thoughts on it? It seems stable and it could be an extra boost even with the essential oil.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey IthacaNancy, I’m not sure about citric acid. It may work? Maybe a combo of citric acid and lemon essential oil? If you try it let me know if the combo works.

  • Katie Walker says:

    Thank you Kristin, you save my boy’s white shirts! I don’t know how many shirts i threw out! Love reading your blog so so much.

  • Madeline Brown says:

    Hi, Kristin!

    I was wondering … What does the glycerin do? And is there a difference between glycerin and vegetable glycerin?

    Thanks!

  • Carolyn Hatchell says:

    Hi Kristin, can you tell me what the TBS of peroxide does? I wondered about that with your tub cleaner as well which, by the way, still brings me joy every time I use it. I have tendonitis & cannot really scrub much so before, I used to Tilex but the fumes were truly horrible. Still makes me gasp to think about it.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Carolyn, I’m so glad you love the tub cleaner :). The hydrogen is a natural bleaching/whitening agent. In fact, store-bought bleach alternatives are made of hydrogen peroxide! So the hydrogen provides just enough “bleaching” without actually turning the clothes white–unless you pour hydrogen peroxide directly on the clothes. It’s used in a pretty small ratio here compared to the other liquid ingredients.

  • Sharon says:

    Have you used this without the peroxide? If so did it work? I am just worried about my colored clothes bleaching.

  • Baan says:

    First of all, I absolutely love your blog, the attention to detail and effort that goes into your posts and pictures, wow!

    I followed this stain remover recipe down to the T, we had a big spill on our fabric beige-coloured sofa and I sprayed some of this on and now it’s badly stained, I think from the glycerin because it’s sticky! Wondering if this works only if you wash the item afterwards? Not to spray and leave on?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Baan, Oh no! Is the sofa made with a special fabric? We have a cotton cream couch that I use this on a lot, but I also rinse the fabric with a bit of water after the stain remover has been sitting for a few minutes, similar to clothes and the washing machine. I recommend using plain water to wash the stain remover off, that should remove any residue that may have been leftover from the spray.

      I’m so glad you enjoy the blog :)!

  • Natalie says:

    Do you know about how big your spray bottle is? I have a really small dark colored one, but I’m wondering if I should cut the recipe in half or buy a new bottle or something depending on how much the recipe creates 🙂 Thanks!

  • Grace says:

    I was wondering if this could be used on colors? Just making sure it wouldn’t remove the color to!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Grace, I’ve used this on some colors (lighter colors, not blacks) and so far the spray hasn’t removed the color. Every color/garment is probably different, so I would try testing a small area first.

  • Danielle says:

    Curious about using lemon eo on my babies clothes? I already use hydrogen peroxide mixed with Palmolive dish soap and water on his poppy clothes but want to switch to chemical free. (No dish soap) but I’m worried about the essential oil.

  • Susie says:

    Do you have a recipe for removing grease stains from clothing?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Susie, I apply castile soap or Sal Suds (Sal Suds really works best) directly on the grease stain, and then scrub it with the soap. Let it sit for about 15-30 minutes, and then wash the garment. Repeat this step before drying until the grease is gone. This works with fresh grease stains. Once the garment is dried in the dryer, it’s really hard to remove a grease stain.

  • Ummali says:

    Hi Susie Was wondering what is the alternative to castile soap, could I use any soap?

  • Tessa says:

    This recipie solidified and did not work. Waste of time and money. 1/4 cup of water? Can’t believe I spent so much time ordering veg glycerin etc. Every time I add mor water and shake it up it solidifies and won’t spray. Super annoying post has been up for a year and no mention of this. Did u even make this?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Tessa, I’m not sure why this is happening to your spray. I can’t imagine why the ingredients would be solidifying since there’s nothing that would solidify. Were you able to use this right after making it? Or was the issue as the spray sat in storage? Which glycerin and spray bottle did you use? It sounds like maybe the glycerin was really thick, or the spray nozzle on the bottle isn’t working for this solution. For now, you could apply this directly on the stain, pouring it on versus spraying. The goal is to get rid of the stain, and this solution should do it :).

      I use this regularly on stains, and many readers use this, too, so I would love to help you figure out what’s going wrong. Every single recipe on the blog is tested and used in my own home–and the pictures in this post are real :). This issue hasn’t been addressed in the post, because I’ve never heard of or seen the spray solidify. I personally don’t gain anything from posting something that would be a failure. Feel free to email me with photos, and I’d love to help you figure out what’s happening! Seeing a visual is really helpful for trouble-shooting DIYs.

      Email: hello@livesimply.me

  • Carol-Ann says:

    Hi Kristin, looking forward to trying this solution. Does the 1/3 ounce Plant Therapy Essential Oil bottle give you the 40 drops your “recipe” calls for?

  • Kate says:

    This works so well! I put it in a clear glass spray bottle because I didn’t have a dark one. I’ve been storing it in the dark, but do you know how quickly the hydrogen peroxide breaks down when exposed to light? Should I get a dark bottle or tape something to the clear bottle?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Kate, I”m so glad you’re enjoying the stain remover. It will break down very quickly–I believe within a few hours. I would either tape the bottle, or purchase a dark bottle from the future.

  • Carrie says:

    Good post, Kristin. Thank you. I love it when I already have all the ingredients 🙂
    The “Find my favorite DIY ingredients and tools, here.” link says: Ooops! That page can not be found.

    Have a great day,
    Carrie

  • Lauren says:

    Hi,

    I am hoping you might have some help for me. We have a 9 month old and I am having so much difficulty getting the stains out of his clothes! I have tried your stain remover as suggested with the washing soda and peroxide in the wash to no avail, soda and peroxide soak, even soaking in tropical traditions all purpose cleaner overnight and they still remain. Its red/ purple/orange colors that are most problematic. Any suggestions?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Lauren, I would love to help you troubleshoot! By chance, do you know what is causing the stains? Knowing the source of the stains can help with knowing how to tackle them.

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