A Homemade Stain Remover

updated May 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Quentin Bacon)
(Image credit: Lindsay Ribe)

Let’s be honest — kids are dirty little creatures. They spill everything. Plus there are paint stains from the budding artist, and grass and dirt stains from the future soccer star. And, my favorite, potty training stains.

Between these and the spaghetti sauce stains from the — you know — adults of the household, a good stain remover is a must-have. Here’s my go-to formula for getting tough stains out.

Tons of stain remover recipes on the web use Dawn dish soap with hydrogen peroxide, but I banned the blue liquid when I made the switch to an eco-friendly dish soap, and a natural dish soap or Castile soap seems to work just as well in stain-fighting.

Hydrogen peroxide gently bleaches out stains, Castile soap (or any vegetable oil-based dish soap) gives sudsing action, and lemon is an excellent degreaser.

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Ingredients for homemade stain spray. (Image credit: Quentin Bacon)

How To Make Homemade Stain-Removing Spray

What You Need

1/4 cup (3%) hydrogen peroxide
2 tablespoons natural dish soap or Castile soap
2 tablespoons glycerine
10 drops lemon essential oil

Measuring cup and spoons
Dark-colored squirt bottle


  1. Combine all ingredients: Combine all ingredients except the essential oil in a measuring cup and stir together.
  2. Transfer to a bottle: Pour into a squirt bottle or bottle with a cap or lid. You can also use a spray bottle, but it’s easier to apply by squirting or pouring the solution directly onto a stain. Just make sure the container isn’t clear — hydrogen peroxide loses its potency when exposed to light, so it needs to be stored in a dark container.
  3. Add the essential oil: I like to add the essential oil straight into the bottle, otherwise too much of it seems to get left in the measuring cup.

To Use the Stain Spray

  • Shake gently before each use: Before each use, shake gently to disperse the essential oil. Apply to fabric and saturate the stain.
  • Test first! Test in an inconspicuous spot before using on colored clothing. And if the stain is grease-based, you can douse the stain in baking soda to absorb some of the oil before treating.
  • Gently scrub the stain: Use a toothbrush or other gentle brush to scrub out the stain, and then launder as usual.
(Image credit: Lindsay Ribe)

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