A natural stain remover that really works!

I found out a way to get blackberry stains off my little girl’s off-white blouse and pumpkin baby food off my little guy’s white/green shirt… without any heavy chemicals, and with minimal effort and cheap ingredients? Do I have your attention yet? 🙂

Here are the ingredients:

Ivory dish soap
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Liquid Dish Detergent, Glycerin, and water.

The glycerin I found in the pharmacy of my local grocery store, $2.00 for enough to make one good sized (1 L or 1 Qt) squirt bottle of the stain remover. You can buy higher quality, vegetable-based glycerin at health food stores, which I will seek out next time, but this worked for the time being. I looked up glycerin on the Skin Deep database, and it came up as a 2/10 for hazard rating, which is quite low.

The Ivory soap is not my first choice, but I needed a liquid dish detergent (being low on the natural one I use for my dishes and not wanting to waste it should this stain remover not work), and since I was just at the regular store, I bought Ivory, hoping it was one of the more natural ones out there. I also checked Ivory on the Skin Deep website, and the main issue with the bar soap is it’s fragrance (every other ingredient was a 2 or less, but fragrance rates an 8/10), so I assume that is likely the major issue with the dish soap. Anyways, it served the purpose for now, and I will buy a more natural replacement soon.

The Recipe:

1/4 cup liquid dish detergent

1/4 cup glycerin

1 1/2 cups water

Pour all into a squirt or spray bottle (I used a regular sized spray bottle, from a previous cleaner. This recipe half filled it, for about $1.25, or $2.50 for the full bottle’s worth).

The book I got this recipe from claims that this stain remover works well on ink, marker, newsprint, coffee, tea, juice, jams, bbq sauce and mustard. If it can handle those stains, it can likely handle most anything (though it may not do grease or oil stains- I haven’t been fortunate enough to be able to try it out on those yet. 🙂

The Verdict?

It really did work! There was not a trace of those berry or pumpkin stains left on my kids clothes, and all I did was give them a quick spray 5 minutes before tossing them in the (cold) wash. They weren’t incredibly fresh stains, either (as in, they might have been at least a day or two old, but certainly I didn’t catch them within minutes or hours of when they happened). I did laundry yesterday at my MIL’s house, and believe me, I was already missing my new stain remover!

The Source:

Clean house clean planet

Clean House Clean Planet. Clean Your House for Pennies a Day, The Safe, Nontoxic Way
By Karen Logan

This is a book that my husband just happened across in Winners, a local discount store (similar to Ross). It was marked down to $5, so he snatched it up, thinking it was bound to at least somewhat interest me. I’ve been perusing it, and so far have tried the “Go Spot Go” (her name for the stain remover), as well as the floor cleaners, and I can’t wait to try more of the recipes.

Her approach is very simple and common sense, and I love that she teaches you to add in essential oils for a lovelier smelling house (something I’ve never done, but loved trying on my kitchen floor). She also shows you how to pre-mix recipes or have your basics (ie. vinegar, baking soda, etc.) in very useful containers so that cleaning with natural, non-toxic ingredients is just as simple and quick as doing it with store-bought ones. She offers her own effectiveness rating for each recipe (and she tries to be really honest about it), as well as a price breakdown for how it compares to store-bought. I definitely recommend adding this affordable and useful book to your collection of natural home resources!

Has anyone else tried this particular stain remover recipe and what has your success been with it? Or other natural stain remover recipes that have been working well for you? Has anyone else checked out this book and what did you think of it?

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  1. I use just plain liquid dish detergent as a stain remover and it works very well, particularly on those grease stains that sometimes appear AFTER washing and drying clothing. I just dab some on and rewash. I also use it regularly on the collars of my sons’ white school shirts that, despite their daily showers, are always filthy.

    But I’m going to try your mixture in a spray bottle as I think it would work out to be somewhat less expensive.

    1. @Janet, Thanks-this is good to know! I have shirts that have to go in “that drawer” because of stains and are only worn around the house. If I can get them out, they can be worn away from home again!

  2. I’ve not tried this, but i will! I use glycerin for a moisturizing hand spray. I’d tried just about everything for our dry climate, & nothing seemed to work. I found a recipe online for glycerin & water. The lady who wrote it had brittle diabetes & nothing – including chemical prescription hand creams – helped.

    I make mine with 1 part glycerin, 1 part water, & 4 parts aloe vera juice. Put it in a spray bottle, & it is wonderful. I’ve shared it with others & some of them really like it alot. Others are used to more cream-based stuff & don’t seem to care for this as much.

  3. I use plain dish detergent as a stain remover, too. I would think your mix will work well with grease stains, since dish soap is supposed to cut grease. Glad it’s working so well for you!

  4. Hmm, I think I have some glycerin lying around for when I make homemade bath salts as gifts. I think this would be a much better use for it! Always love ways to replace commercial products with easy “natural” ones. Thanks for the tip!

  5. My sister had a tragic ballpoint pen incident with her wedding dress before her wedding. I researched on the internet ways to get it out gently without requiring washing it. I found the exact same solution as this. I think the instructions I found came from Martha Stewart. I first used a Q-tip to dab on the glycerin and then another Q-tip to dab on a dish soap/water solution. The glycerin lifts the stain from the fabric and the soapy water washes the glycerin out. It worked perfectly. You could not see any ink on the dress and my sister was so relieved 🙂

  6. Oh, thank you for posting this… Everyone I know thinks I am obessed with my homemade cleaners and I must say I get pretty tickled trying something new (I am also like this with new recipes – you should have heard me squealing with delight after my dd and I made our own hamburger buns yesterday… Quite a sight i am sure!). I will try this. I currently have two spray bottles for stains – one club soda and the other peroxide, I have been very happy with those, but I will have to make a batch of this to see if I notice any difference. Thanks for sharing…. You just made my day. Another frugal cleaning tip…. Life cannot get any better than that!LOL

  7. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve never had luck with stains in clothing with the store brand stuff. I’m willing to try anything. Got my youngest daughter a new shirt at Target Sunday. She wore it less than 3 hours and got spaghetti sauce on it. So I’ve got a spaghetti stain I can use this on right now.
    ♥ Joy

  8. I wonder if it would work on breastmilk stains that already went through the dryer. I managed to ruin about 8 of my shirts lately. I DID, however, find out (thanks for you earlier) that if I rinse them out BEFORE washing in really hot water and scrub at it, that it works. Just not if they are heat set already. Oh well.

  9. I’ve not tried this, but I do have that book and use it a lot … all the cleaners that I have made and used in there work magnificently!

  10. I meant to add that I always use the Alice’s Wonder Spray (general all-purpose cleaner), Merlin’s Magic Cleaner (antiseptic) and Club Clean (mirror and glass cleaner) and they are great formulas – I have large spray bottles in my laundry room always full of each. The book is definitely worth the full price, which I paid for it! getting it for $5 is even better :~)

    It’s nice to be able to NOT go down the cleaning aisle at the grocery store (unless it’s to buy Borax and washing soda!) …

  11. Great tip!! I am always looking for natural ways to take care of every issues like this! Thanks!

  12. Recently I tried something new…I have to double wash everything for my daughters exczema, so the first time I put in detergeant(All free and clear) and some vinegar. Then I wash it again and put in only vinegar the second time. Its the best I’ve done with stains in a long time. Not perfect, but much better than before!

  13. Here’s another idea for berry stains: My grandmother told me to pour boiling water through the fabric, and it lifts the stain right out. Works every time! I am so addicted to “Shout” for other kid stains though, I’ll be excited to try this more natural solution! THanks!

  14. I use ivory bar soap to make my liquid washing soap. I have really sensitive skin and our clothes come out smelling great and clean. Cheap too.

    My entire life my grandmother used bar soap to get stains out. She would save the slivers of soap that were left and put them in a small container with a bit of water, it breaks it down and you have a great paste to help with stains.

  15. Joy, she has some fancier mopping recipes in the book, but one of them is simply white vinegar in hot water, with a drop or two of essential oils (whatever scent you like) to make it smell pretty. I did this the other week, and I felt like my floor mopped up really nicely and smelled good to boot. I would recommend the book, though!

  16. Another good tip is using rubbing alcohol to get rid of ink stains. It’s not quite as harmless as this glycerin and soap mix, but it really does work when nothing else does… I’ve even gotten permanent marker stains out of a bedspread that way. Just use it in a well-ventilated area!

  17. A dab of Dawn dish liquid straight from the bottle has never failed me for any sort of stain. I don’t wash dishes with it but I keep a bottle by the washer!

    That book looks like a great resource!

  18. I have a very active seven year old daughter who always has stains on her clothes, and I have been VERY pleased with the results of this recipe. Really works!

  19. I’ve been looking for a replacement for the bottle of Zout I have sitting in the laundry room – I will have to give this a try! I’m also looking for something that will get stains out of cloth diapers. I haven’t tried CDing yet (baby’s due in a couple weeks) but would love any suggestions that you could pass along! Thanks!

  20. Hi! Thank you for sharing this frugal solution! It really works! It was my first attempt in mixing ingredients because I’m trying to clean my home from toxins and I am very pleased with the results. Thanks!

  21. I have this book too and all of the recipes are fantastic. I haven’t tried this one yet but after your review I can’t wait to try it.

  22. Ok, so I made this to try for all those toddler stains that happen, and the first thing I tried it on is a stain that I BELIEVE is from a dehyrated strawberry chip. Unfortunately I tried dish detergent before I found this recipe, and then tried Shout and still nothing is working. I’m not too sure if the stain is too far gone, or perhaps you might have another suggestion? Love all your ideas and recipes on this blog though. Thanks.

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