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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Next up, a fresh pen mark. Say, “hi!” And then, “ZAP!” No white flags of surrender here, Mr. Pen!
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!
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
- 1/4 cup vegetable glycerin I keep this one on hand for body-related products. You don't have to use organic or a specific brand name.
- 1/4 cup water Clean tap water is fine for short-term use. Use distilled or boiled and cooled water for long-term use.
- 1/4 cup castile soap I like orange, tea tree, or peppermint
- 1 TB hydrogen peroxide 3%
- 40 drops lemon essential oil 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.
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.).
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.
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