We’ve all been there: you’re rushing to finish your makeup before heading out with friends, when suddenly you realize you’ve got a lipstick stain on the collar of your nicest shirt. Once you’ve gone through the trouble of hurriedly changing, you’re likely to toss that shirt into the ever-expanding “to be laundered” corner of the closet for a while because, well, laundry is a pain, and stains can be just plain depressing. Not to mention store bought stain removers can be a major blow to your budget. Not to worry, it just so happens you’ve probably got more stain-removing power in your cupboard than you may realize. Below you’ll find a few tried-and-true stain removal methods using ingredients you’ve likely already got at home.
General stain remover for everyday stains
To remove everyday stains like grass, dirt, and grease, try this homemade stain remover courtesy of Tiffany, blogger at Don’t Waste the Crumbs.
-1 T baking soda
-4 T dish soap
-8 T hydrogen peroxide
Combine all the ingredients in a small jar and stir well. Allow the mixture to sit overnight so all dyes in dish soap dissipate (optional).
A bit more detail depending on what kinds of surfaces you’re treating:
If you’re treating clothes, use 2 parts hydrogen peroxide and one part Dawn dish soap
To fight tough odors, add a few tsp of baking soda (especially for pit stains).
If you’re cleaning a hard-to-rinse surface like a mattress, couch or carpet, use a higher ratio of peroxide to decrease the soap suds.
Now onto some specifics.
It turns out milk baths aren’t only good for soft skin. Milk is also great for removing ink stains, per Reader’s Digest. This removal method contains only milk and nothing more. The directions are simple too: just soak the garment overnight and wash as usual the next day.
If you’ve ever woken up to a permanent marker message scribbled on your arm—or face—by an unruly prankster, you’ll want to try this other method of removing ink, which is also great for clothes. It too contains just one ingredient: hairspray. It doesn’t have to be the pricey stuff either, any hairspray will do. Just spray it on the cloth and allow to set a while before laundering.
We’ve all got at least one favorite white button-up or dress that, after months or years of love, can now only be worn with a matching cardigan to cover the noticeable armpit stains. Not to worry. Robin Shreeves has a method she touts as effective in removing even tough set-in sweat stains like these, as well as stains from red wine or dirt. Aside from being much kinder on the skin compared to bleach, it’s also ridiculously easy and only includes two ingredients.
Here’s how she explained getting rid of a stain on a favorite white shirt:
1) Wet the stain with water
2) Squirt lemon juice (straight from the lemon) onto the stain
3) Pour salt over the lemon juice
4) Rub the material together so the abrasion from the salt cooperates with the lemon juice to get into the stain.
5) Rinse with water
6) Squeeze on some more lemon juice
7) Line-dry the item in the sun for as long as possible. The natural bleaching power of the sun may not be great for colored clothes, or paint, but it is great for white materials.
8) Once dry, wash as normal if necessary.
Tomato sauce or ketchup
Pasta, particularly spaghetti, is arguably one of the most difficult foods to eat properly without getting it on your clothes at least once en route to your mouth. Not to worry. You can have your noodles, and plenty of sauce too, without concern over ruining your favorite attire. Just spray on some non-gel shaving cream and rub it into the stain gently, then launder as usual afterward. Shaving cream is also pretty great for cleaning countertops for a nice smooth and stain-free finish.
Many women know hydrogen peroxide is a must-have for removing blood stains. But it turns out cola can work just as well.
Whether you’ve nicked yourself cooking or crashed your bike on a particularly nasty pothole on the way to school, stained clothing is one less thing you’ll have to worry about in the aftermath.
Soak the garment in cola overnight and the stain will disappear. As usual, washing afterward is generally recommended to remove any residue.
Some sources also note that unflavored meat tenderizer can work for protein-based stains, including blood, as well. To use this method, just rub the tenderizer into the stain, let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse and launder as usual.
Have some DIY stain-fighting concoctions of your own? Share them with us in the comments!