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

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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.

DIY Homemade Stain Remover Spray
5 from 6 votes

Homemade Stain Remover Spray

Homemade stain remover that WORKS!

Course DIY, Homemade
Cuisine Cleaning
Keyword Stain Remover Spray
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 3 /4 cup
Author Kristin Marr


  • 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.


  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.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

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.

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


DIY Homemade Wool Dryer Balls


Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Join the Conversation


  1. says: JoAnn C.

    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!

  2. says: IthacaNancy

    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.

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      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.

  3. says: Madeline Brown

    Hi, Kristin!

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


  4. says: Carolyn Hatchell

    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.

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      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.

  5. says: Baan

    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?

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      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 :)!

  6. says: Natalie

    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!

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      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.

  7. says: Danielle

    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.

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Danielle,

      I don’t think the lemon essential oil will be an issue, particularly because you’ll need to wash the garment after using the stain remover. While this list from The Hippy Homemaker is meant for topical and diffusion purposes, versus a washable stain remover, it’s really handy to bookmark: You may even be able to get by without the essential oil, and just use the other ingredients in the stain remover spray.

    2. says: Jenny

      Lemon essential oil is cold pressed from the rinds so it does not contain the acidic juice. It should be safe to use on your baby’s clothing and non-irritating to skin.

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      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.

  8. says: Tessa

    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?

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      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.


  9. says: Carol-Ann

    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?

  10. says: Kate

    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?

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      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.

  11. says: Carrie

    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,

  12. says: Lauren


    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?

  13. says: Amanda Migliaccio

    Hello, I really like the stain remover and although I have it in a taped up bottle (so it won’t let in the light) it starts to have a funny smell after a couple of weeks. Is that the peroxide? or does it just have a really short shelf life? I used boiled and cooled water and lemon essential oil. Thanks!

    1. says: Rachel Cooley

      Hi Amanda, Kristin is travelling outside the country at this time, but I will make a note of your comment for her so she can respond when she returns. ~Rachel

      1. says: Amanda Migliaccio

        Thanks! I have since also tried it in a spray bottle like the one pictured and after one week smells bad again. Thanks, Amanda

        1. says: Kristin Marr

          Hey Amanda, It may be the hydrogen peroxide changing. The product does have a shorter lifespan than other sprays, due to that ingredient. You may want to reduce the amounts and just mix up a small amount.

  14. says: April

    5 stars
    I’ve been making this for 2-3 years and since we eat a keto diet we seem to get grease stains on our clothes. I began using sal suds instead of Castile soap and it works great at getting the stains out. I spray and give a little scrub with an old toothbrush

  15. says: Tiffany

    Great recipe!
    I’ve tried a couple that called for baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap. One of them worked really well, and became my go-to. But then, for some reason, it back fired one day when i used it on several pieces of clothing. All of my colored shirts were soon bleached. So, I had to go back to the search for the perfect stain remover. This one looks great. I don’t think 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide mixed with everything else would do much damage to colors, so i think I’ll try it that way first. I don’t wear much white because I am always staining my clothes, and I’ve always hated bleach.
    I still haven’t found the perfect recipe for homemade bleach. I’ve tried whitening my pillows with several recipes, and nothing seems to work, and they’re not that old. I’ll check out your recipe for that too. Thanks!!

  16. says: Kat

    I really want to love this but haven’t had much success with it yet. I tried it on two items: (1) The grayish yellow armpit discoloration of a white top and (2) A white satin back tablecloth with leftover stains after being washed already (tomato and grease stains). On the top, it didn’t seem to do anything at all but on the tablecloth, it left more discoloration, like grease almost, from where I sprayed it. I sprayed and washed twice and now have stains all over that tablecloth.

    Also, when I spray the solution, it comes out half gloopy and half misted like you’d expect. I did shake it prior to spraying so I’m not sure if this is an issue. For context, I also used sodium percarbonate in addition to my regular laundry soap. I have a front loader machine which uses less water (this affected how I used soap nuts). The first time I sprayed, i just let it sit without scrubbing but the second time I did agitate the fabric. Both times I let it sit for about 45 minutes before washing as there was another load in the wash.

    Please let me know if you see an error in the way I was using it!

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Kat, I’m sorry you haven’t had success with this. I use this for fresh stains (grass, food)–that’s what I’ve had the greatest success with. For armpit stains, I’ve had good success with making a baking soda paste, along with lemon essential oil, applying it to the area and letting it rest for a while. Then scrubbing the area and washing the garment.

  17. says: Robyn Costanzo

    I like to treat stains before I put clothes into hamper. This way on laundry day I can just throw them in the washer. Can this stain remover be sprayed on, left for several days, and still be effective once clothes are washed?

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Robyn, This stain remover is best used ASAP, and then washed off clothes. You could probably wash it off in the sink and then let the clothes rest on the side of the hamper until you’re ready to wash everything.

  18. says: Crystal

    5 stars
    This stuff is awesome! For years and (unknown reasons) I stuck with Shout, I guess maybe because my mother used it. Then I switched to just plain vinegar which worked great. Last night I decided to make this and used it on my husbands dress shirts, particularly on the neck line. I didn’t have time to let it sit because I had already started the washer, I kind of just rubbed it in quickly. I was floored when I took the shirts out of the dryer. The neck stains almost completely GONE! Next time I will definitely let it sit the 5 mins so I can see the magic! Thanks Kristin!

  19. says: Angelina Gardner

    Hi! I just found this video and subscribed to your blog. Looking forward to seeing what new ideas you have! I’ve been doing the natural thing for years but this is one area I hadn’t shifted into DIY.
    My concern is that I’ve only used hydrogen peroxide to bleach things… how is it not ruining colored clothes???

  20. says: Deborah Douglas

    5 stars
    I am just about to make the stain remover as can’t find anything to get rid of my grandsons football stains or general kids stains now long will it keep if use boiled cooled water I’ve tried my own laundry soap which consists of laundry soda baking soda shred up soap and borax and that doesn’t even shift.can you use on coloured clothes

  21. says: Laundry Services Bunbury

    Had an interesting time reading this. If there is one chore that is inevitable it is laundry. Just as the washing basket is empty, it no sooner is full once again.

  22. says: Sylvie

    Hi Kristin, Thank you SO much for all your recipes. I now use your stain remover (which I make in double batches), your soft scrub (BTW, you may already know this but I find rubbing a little lemon oil on the porcelain sink/tub keeps it cleaner quite a bit longer), your laundry soap AND your whitening formula. I use a recipe from Dr. Bronner’s for all purpose spray I really like (so simple and super effective for every surface). All the recipes you have provided are fantastic, I am so so pleased with how well they work and that I am reducing my plastic waste. I can not thank you enough. The reason I am writing here is I am wondering whether I could use your stain remover on silk. I’m sorry if I missed this somewhere. Thanks for your help! Best everythings, Sylvie

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Sylvie, Thank you SO much for sharing your kind words. I’m so happy that you’re enjoying all the recipes and that they’re working so well for you. I’m not sure about satin with this cleaner. Satin can be a tricky one and I’d hate for the solution to do any damage to the fabric. If there’s a way to perform a small spot test in a discrete area, that’s what I would do.

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