DIY: Easy Homemade Stain Remover

homemade stain remover
Foto: Annie Granger / Utopia

Commercial stain removers can be harmful to the environment and harsh on skin. If you’re searching for an easy, natural and homemade stain remover, look no further!

All-natural or eco-friendly laundry products, including stain removers, use a combination of soap and alkaline in order to clean everyday grime and stains. You may already have products in your home that can act a natural ‘soaps’, such as baking soda, borax and lye, although it’s important to note that borax and lye should always be handled with extra care. These soap products must be washed away using a neutralizing alkaline, like white vinegar or lemon juice, for example

The following recipe for DIY stain remover calls for solid soap. You can either make your own soap,  repurpose a soap you already have, or purchase one if necessary. If you must buy a new soap, make sure to look for organic, ethically-produced and animal-friendly soap. This recipe also calls for essential oils. While they do make your laundry smell nice, they do not contribute any relevant cleaning properties of their own  and so can be omitted from the recipe if you wish.

Finally, this homemade stain remover is best for everyday stains such as non-oily food and juice stains. Here are some links to guides on how to remove more specific and tougher stains:

Easy Homemade Stain Remover Recipe

Everything you will need to make your homemade stain remover.
Everything you will need to make your homemade stain remover. (Foto: Annie Granger / Utopia)


  • Grater
  • Medium bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • Whisk
  • Spatula
  • Small jar or container


  • 1/4 cup unscented soap, grated
  • 10-20 drops essential oil (we recommend citrus or birch scents)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • Juice of half a lemon (organic and fair trade, in-season if possible)

This recipe makes about 1/2 cup of homemade stain remover. It will keep for 2-3 months in a cool, dry place. It does not need to be refrigerated. 

1. Grate the Soap

Grate 1/4 cup of soap.
Grate 1/4 cup of soap. (Foto: Annie Granger / Utopia)

Grate the soap using the fine side of the grater, as this will make it easier to work the soap into a paste later on. Place the soap curls into the bowl.

2.  Add Essential Oils

Add essential oil to soap.
Add essential oil to soap. (Foto: Annie Granger / Utopia)

Use 10-20 drops of essential oil and whisk together until evenly distributed over the soap curls. Add more or less oil as needed for a stronger or weaker scent. While oils are not necessary to this recipe, adding a lemony or birch scent will help freshen your laundry while the stain-buster gets to work.

3.  Add Baking Soda

Add 1/4 cup of baking soda to the soap and oil.
Add 1/4 cup of baking soda to the soap and oil. (Foto: Annie Granger / Utopia)

Whisk the baking soda, soap and essential oil together well to make sure the powder is fully incorporated. If the baking soda is not evenly distributed at this stage, you might find that you get a lumpy paste when adding the lemon juice later.

4. Add Lemon Juice

Slowly add the juice of 1/2 lemon.
Slowly add the juice of 1/2 lemon. (Foto: Annie Granger / Utopia)

Slowly add the juice of half a lemon a bit at a time. The baking soda will start to fizz up on contact. Stir between additions until the mixture becomes a smooth paste. Add more lemon juice if half wasn’t enough, but be careful not to add too much. A nice tip for a superb-smelling stain remover is to also squeeze some zest straight from the peel into the paste at this point.

5. Store in Cool, Dry Place

Here's how the finished paste should look.
Here’s how the finished paste should look. (Foto: Annie Granger / Utopia)

Using the spatula, place your homemade stain remover in a smaller jar or container with a lid and store in a cool, dry place until needed.

Using Your Easy Homemade Stain Remover

Finished easy homemade stain remover!
Finished easy homemade stain remover! (Foto: Annie Granger/Utopia)

The best way to use this stain remover is to apply it as soon as you notice a stain. Rub a small amount of the paste into the stain and wash normally. For best results, apply the paste before the stain sets.

For stubborn stains on whites, try multiple applications and drying your clothes in the sunshine.

Read on:

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