Stain Remover DIY: The Best Homemade Stain Remover

My homemade stain remover is easy to make and works on almost every stain.

The stain remover DIY featured in this post is one of many, many formulas I’ve experimented with throughout my blogging career. Though it contains just two ingredients, this stain remover recipe has proven its ability remove tough stains time and time again. 

So what gives this DIY stain remover the power to get stains out of just about anything? Just two simple ingredients: Dawn dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. Together, these miracle cleaners form a stain remover that’s not just easy and cheap to make, but that can handle everything from yellow armpit stains to grease and oil spots on dark fabric.

In my opinion, not only is this the best DIY homemade stain remover out there, but it’s one of the most effective laundry products of any origin!

My ultimate stain remover has just 2 powerful ingredients: hydrogen peroxide and Dawn dish soap.

What’s In This Homemade Stain Remover?

As I mentioned earlier, combination of dish soap and peroxide so effective? A concentrated dish soap like Dawn Ultra is a surfactant that can emulsify oil and water. This unique ability makes it excellent for treating oily stains, as it makes it easier for the wash water to combine with the grease stain and dissolve it.

The other ingredient, hydrogen peroxide, is an oxidizer. Oxidation changes the chemical structure of the molecules that make up stains, including those responsible for its color, helping to break down colorful stains (such as rust stains or red wine stains) in the wash. (It’s also what makes hydrogen peroxide so effective at removing blood stains!)

I’ve been using these two ingredients in my laundry room for years now, but I used to apply them separately. Luckily, it eventually occurred to me that I could save myself a step by combining them into a ready-made DIY laundry stain remover spray! Here’s how you can make it at home.

Store this DIY Stain Remover in a brown bottle to keep the hydrogen peroxide from degrading.

How To Make My Ultimate Stain Remover Spray

Ingredients:

  • 1 part Dawn dishwashing liquid
  • 2 parts hydrogen peroxide (3%)

Note: You don’t really need to use a recipe here — just aim to use twice as much peroxide as soap when you mix it up!

Use a measuring cup to add the Dawn to an amber spray bottle for your DIY Stain Remover.

Directions:

Add the Dawn and peroxide to a dark-colored spray bottle, replace the top, and tip gently side to side to mix.

It’s important to store this spray in a dark, cool location, as hydrogen peroxide will break down if exposed to light. I’ve got the perfect amber spray bottles in my shop. Made from durable PET plastic, they’re lightweight but still super sturdy (and safe for essential oils). OGT reader Jan R. called them the “best spray bottle I’ve ever used.”

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This homemade stain remover couldn't be easier to use -- simply spray and wash!

How To Use This DIY Laundry Stain Remover

Spray enough of the soap and peroxide mixture on the item to saturate the stain. (You may want to do a spot test on dark fabrics to make sure they’re colorfast, but I will say that I’ve used this spray on all kinds of dark and colorful clothing without any discoloration issues!)

If you’re treating stubborn stains, like underarm stains or ring around the collar, scrub a bit of baking soda into the stain after spraying it using a small scrub brush or old toothbrush. Leave the baking soda on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before laundering the garment. (If you want to treat a stain now and wash it more than a few hours later, my homemade laundry stain sticks are great for that!) 

Note: I recommend using this spray for laundry stain removal only, as it generates too many suds to easily rinse out of carpet. If you’re interested in a DIY recipe for carpet stains, see my DIY carpet stain spray with white vinegar and borax. For pet stains, there’s a great baking soda and vinegar trick I can recommend!

Ketchup, oil, chocolate, blueberries, and even ink are no match for this homemade stain remover.

See The Results For Yourself!

To demonstrate just how effective this easy homemade stain remover is, I purposely soiled a t-shirt with several common stains, then sprayed them thoroughly and gave them a quick scrub with a small brush.

These before and after photos show how well this homemade stain remover works on different stains.

After washing the t-shirt as usual, I couldn’t find a single trace of the original stains. Check out the before and after pictures — I think those are the kind of results that speak for themselves! :-)

Try my bottle labels that have recipes for my best DIY cleaners and stain removers - the recipes in white lettering show up perfectly on amber spray bottles.

Keep This Recipe Handy With A Set Of Spray Bottle Labels!

My ultimate stain remover is one of the four recipes included in my set of laundry recipe spray bottle labels, along with my favorite spray starch recipe, a DIY wrinkle release spray, and my homemade lavender linen spray. These clear, self-adhesive labels are printed with white text, so they’re easy to read when applied to my amber spray bottles. With these labels, you’ll never lose track of the recipes for your favorite homemade laundry products! OGT readers love them just as much as I do:

Thrilled to death with the bottles and labels with directions for filling!

Andrea D.

Love these labels! I’m a sucker for anything that helps me be organized. These don’t cost much, but they keep me straight on what’s in which bottle and how to make refills for my favorite cleaners.

Kitty B.

I love that I don’t have to look for the recipes…they are right on the bottles!!

Donna B.

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My DIY laundry detergent is another recipe you might want to try.

More DIY Laundry Products To Try

This homemade laundry stain remover is just one of many laundry DIYs you can find on my website! I’ve been making and using homemade laundry detergents (including powder, tabs, and liquid) for years, both because they’re effective and much less expensive than store-bought laundry soap.

The same goes for other DIY laundry supplies too, including homemade fabric softeners (and fabric softener crystals), laundry whitener, homemade oxygen bleach, and more. Another benefit to making your own laundry products is that once you have the basic ingredients, you can make a number of useful cleaning solutions for other household tasks!

Do you have a go-to stain remover?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Spray Bottle Labels: Laundry Recipes

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42 Comments

  1. sorry but I forgot to add that I make this in the original brown plastic hydrogen peroxide bottle. Add a sprayer to the top.

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  2. The only spot cleaner that I have used for years is what you mentions above.
    I won’t be buying any brands again.

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  3. I started making a cleaner of my own about 20 years ago. It is not for inhaling, but boy does it work. 2Teaspoon dawn, 2Tablespoons HOT water. Swish in a one gallon Kraft Mayo jar (has a wide mouth), Split the remaining space between 90% alcohol and clear ammonia. Then pour it into spray bottles. I use it on all my stainless appliances, counter tops and windows.

    For carpet I use HOT water and a tablespoon ofdawn. I put it in an empty syrup squeeze bottle. I pick up what solids I can with a paper towel, soak the spot and let stand while I hook up the carpet shampoo machine. Use the machine to rinse it out of the carpet. While I am getting out the shampoo machine the stain almost always is gone when I come back. I just have to suck up the cleaner and use the rinse cycle to get anything that didn’t come up. I have used it on Berber and synthetic pile carpets…NEVER on wool.

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  4. Hi! I made this but the recipe I was looking for was for a homemade version of the Clorox bleach pens that we can’t find in stores anymore . Your picture shows bleach and cornstarch but when I click I got the Dawn h202 recipe. Do you also have a Clorox bleach pen replacement recipe? Thanks!!

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  5. I wonder if this would work on a wooden spoon? I made spaghetti yesterday and one of my wooden spoons has a sauce stain on it. I sprayed it with peroxide only but the stain didn’t come out. I’m going to try this again with dawn too. If it works I’ll come back and let you know. Thanks Jillee.

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  6. I usually wash my clothes in cold water. Would it still be worth using the Ultimate Stain Remover? Or do I need to do a separate load in warm water to use it?

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  7. Will the hydrogen peroxide remove the color of thread on a cross stitched tablecloth? I have tried soaking for 6 hours in Oxy clean and it didn’t hardly phase the stains. Also, the ink from the pattern did not wash out. Any suggestions?

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  8. Nurses have been using peroxide and any handy detergent to get blood and body fluid stains out of their white uniforms for decades. I never thought of using that for everyday clothing.

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  9. will this product remove stains after clothing has been washed and dried? thank you

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  10. I would like to know how to get hard water build up on my glass dessert bowl I have tried everything I guess it is from washing in dishwasher thanks Barb

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  11. I love this article because, this article gives me more ideas for my home cleaning services, and i just learned new things. Great article! Thanks and God bless :)

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  12. Does this work on stains that have already gone through the washer and dryer? Thanks!

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    • Absolutely! Once in a while you may need to apply it more than once… but don’t give up, because it ultimately will remove the stain!

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  13. Does this stain remover work better than your homemade “Shout” stain remover? Is there a stain situation in which you would prefer one over the other?

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    • I’ve been using this one more often lately, but they both work wonderfully! It’s just a matter of preference. :-)

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  14. I have a question on a lot of these cleaning mixures…. Should you use glass bottles over plastic?

    Will the plastic absorb the essential oils, cleaning solutions>?????

    Thanks
    Carol

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    • Yes, essential oils should be stored in glass bottles because they can eat away at the plastic over time. :-)

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  15. My 80 year old husband still works nearly every day restoring antique cars and motors. Some of the oil that he gets on his jeans is 50 years old. I have tried everything to clean the oil stains out of his blue jeans and nothing really worked. I made your stain remover, sprayed it onto his jeans and rubbed it quickly with my fingers, washed the jeans in hot water and was amazed. The stains were gone. I then tried it on a pair of jeans that he had worn while bead blasting, the jeans were covered with a dark oily stain. The stain remover worked wonders on them. Thanks so much—you have helped me send him off in the morning looking clean. He loves doing what he does, and I love sending him out in the morning looking clean. Thank you so very much–Loneta

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  16. I’ve had a bottle of this mix in my laundry room for a few years now – it hasn’t failed me yet and I have boys that play football and red dirt.

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  17. I tried it last night on some wash cloths that had been stained for a couple of weeks, in and out of washer and dryer. Worked! Will try colors next.

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  18. Does it have to be Dawn, or will any dish soap work?

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  19. Absolutely! You should see a pink button that says “Pin This” when you hover over any of the pictures :-)

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  20. This stuff really does work. I’ve been using it for a year now and it’s succeeded in getting out all my stains, including cooking grease. I love it and won’t ever consider buying any commercial brand again!!

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  21. Dawn is the best, but any dish soap will get the job done :-)

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  22. My first experience with this wonderful stain remover was at a dinner party a few years ago when i spilled a glass of Merlot on my jeans. Our hostess loaned me a pair of sweatpants, mixed a batch of the Dawn/peroxide and we saturated the stain on my jeans. I washed them when i got home and there was not a single bit of the wine stain on the jeans. I was really worried that the color would fade, but you couldn’t tell even where the stain had been. I’ve used it on several occasions since, though i didn’t really have a ‘recipe’ for the ratio. Thanks! I found plain Dawn (not Dawn Ultra) at the dollar store, so got several bottles, as i didn’t think that the Ultra was the correct formulation. I didn’t think about mixing a batch though, or the amber bottle. Thanks for the suggestions!

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  23. This is good. I occasionally will use the dawn and peroxide on tough stains. I’ve also used the baking soda with this too. I think maybe if you stored this somewhere dark, it might not need the dark bottle. In our house the laundry room is in the garage.

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  24. Alcohol and lemon juice seem to do a good job on ink. Dawn just by itself is great on grease stains, but I will try adding the peroxide since that may increase stain blasting power. Thanks for the tip!

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  25. This is also my favorite (and actually only) stain remover. I have used this combo for some time and have never had it fade any colored clothes. I have even gotten set in stains out with it. My tip is this..I buy a bottle of spray peroxide and use that empty bottle to store my mix in. Perfect dark colored spray bottle.

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    • I’ve found the peroxide at Walgreens in a dark bottle. I’ve saved the bottle and I refill it.

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