5 Homemade Stain Removers That Actually Work

There's a reason the word "stain" rhymes with "pain." Even the most fastidious housekeepers dread dealing with stains, and top-of-the-line stain removers tend to do far less than they promise. Store-bought cleaners can also be pretty expensive, and you'll need a different one for upholstery, clothing, pets, and other stuff.

If you're fed up with stains and fed up with paying too much for lackluster results, then make your own stain remover! We've got five DIY recipes, all of which have ingredients that you probably have around the house. They're easy to make, and nice and cheap, too.

1. Miracle Cleaner

You may have seen this one passed around Pinterest, and if you haven't given it a try, then now is the time. The "miracle cleaner" is a simple concoction of one part dishwashing liquid (preferably Dawn) and two parts hydrogen peroxide, which is commonly used as an antiseptic. The resulting mixture is amazingly tough on clothing stains, successfully removing everything from wine to blood to chocolate. It even takes out pit stains! As with all stain removers, test it in an inconspicuous spot before using. If the stain is extra tough, after applying remover, scrub with a brush and let sit for an hour before laundering. This cleaner also works well on carpets.

2. Homemade Carpet Cleaner

You can't just throw carpet in the wash and hope for the best, and that makes it extra tough to clean. If you don't own a clunky carpet cleaner and don't want to rent one every time you spill something, then try this homemade carpet stain remover. To make your own, add vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and warm water to a spray bottle. Working over a sink, add baking soda, and quickly screw on the lid. The combination of vinegar and baking soda will produce lots of fizzy bubbles, which are great for cleaning. Be sure to vacuum the area of carpet before and after using the cleaner to remove any residue.

3. Homemade Pet Stain Remover

A common cause of everyday stains are cats, dogs, and other animals. No matter how well-trained your pet may be, an accident is bound to happen from time to time. The next time you take a step into something wet that really shouldn't be, mix up some of this pet stain remover. The multi-step process is a great way to remove pesky stains, as well as the odor that goes along with them. Start by making a simple mixture of vinegar and water and applying that to the stained area. Dry well, and apply baking soda to neutralize odor. A final dose of hydrogen peroxide will help work out any remaining stain.

4. DIY Laundry Spot Remover

For a non-toxic and hypoallergenic alternative, this all-natural stain remover is a combination of castile soap, vegetable glycerine, baking soda, lemon essential oil, and water. It has a fresh smell, and won't irritate skin. Simply spray it on stained clothing, rub it into the affected area, and let sit for up to an hour before washing like normal. For extra stubborn stains, rinse and repeat.

5. Hard Water Stain Cleaner

Water stains can be especially irritating, and simple window cleaning just isn't enough — all of the scrubbing in the world doesn't seem to do any good. For a unique and effective way to clean the grime away, combine vodka and Coke. It might be tempting to pour it into a glass of ice instead of a spray bottle, but just go with it. Spray the cocktail on the water-stained surface and simply let sit. You may need to repeat two or three times, but eventually the dull stains will wear away to reveal shiny, clean glass, even without scrubbing. Be sure to fix yourself that cocktail once you're done.

What's your favorite DIY stain remover?

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Kelli B

Great homemade cleaner recipes. I hate having to shell out all the money to have a different stain remover for every surface and then store those bottles for the 1x per year I'll need them. Somehow multi-surface never seems to quite work as well on everything.