10 Budget-Friendly Household Items that Remove Laundry Stains


We all have experienced spilling something to our favorite clothes. And if your family is an active one, with kids running here and there, expect stains to be a part of your life. So it’s always handy to be knowledgeable about removing stains from clothes, especially if you are a busy mom.

Here’s how you can clean out those stains by using ten items that you already have in your home.  And without the harsh chemicals.




When I first learned about this, my initial reaction was… “Really?!!”

I thought then that vinegar could only be used for food. Turns out that it’s actually a very practical solution for stained fabrics.  Here’s how you can use it:

Tomato and berry stains – Saturate the stain with vinegar and allow it to soak in. Then wash as usual. Or rinse the stain first before soaking it in vinegar and water. You can leave it overnight if you wish.

Coffee and tea stains – Soak it in a mixture of 1/3 cup vinegar and 2/3 cup water. Then hang to dry. Wash as usual.

Sweat stains – Soak it in a bit of vinegar. You can also make a paste of vinegar and baking soda, rub it on the stain, then allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes before washing.

Rust stains – Make a thin paste of vinegar and salt, then spread the paste on the stains. Let the fabric dry. Wash it then check if there is still any stain remaining. Repeat the process until there’s no stain left. Here’s a DIY vinegar-based rust and stain removal recipe from How Stuff Works

Caution: Don’t use it on protein stains though (fluids from animals and humans) like blood, dairy products, eggs and meat juices. Vinegar has acidic content that can set protein stains.



I use baking soda in some of my baking recipes.  Glad to know that it’s also a fabric cleaner especially for white clothing! (Coz I have lots of white shirts. Lol)

Here’s how to use baking soda on clothing:

As a deodorizer – Mix 1 cup of baking soda with 1 gallon of water. Soak your clothes in them overnight.  The baking soda will remove the bad odor in your laundry. Wash it as usual the next day.

As a pre-treat solution – Make a soda paste using a 2:1 ratio of baking soda and warm water. Example: Mix 1 cup of baking soda and ½ cup of warm water in a bowl. Apply it to the stained clothing.  Let it dry. Then wash as usual.

You can also mix baking soda with hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar.  This works well for sweat stains, blood stains and vomit stains as well as stains caused by oil, grease, food and dirt. The baking soda will also remove any bad odor due to the stain.

For fruit and wine stains, you may need to treat that right away. Pour a little baking soda on the stain, then later run hot water through the back of the stain.



You probably purchased this for your first aid kit. Amazingly, this is another budget-friendly solution for stains that are greasy and oily in nature.

Alcohol is a degreasing agent that works best as a spot cleaner.

This is very good for juice, oil, grease, lipstick or makeup stains, mustard, gravy, gum, permanent marker stains and all other stains that are greasy and oily in nature.

To remove a stain, simply apply a spot of the alcohol to a cotton, towel or cloth and dab it on the stain. Depending on the stain, it should be gone in just a couple of minutes.

Just exercise a little caution though because it can cause discoloration on some fabrics.  So to be sure that it is safe to use, test it first on a hidden part of the garment and let it dry. If the color doesn’t fade, then go on and apply it directly on the stain. Just don’t saturate the fabric.



I love lemonade. So I always keep a few lemons in the fridge. When I learned that lemons are not only good for lemonade but it can also make some stains go away, I loved it even more!

Here’s how to use it:

Rust stain –  Make a paste from lemon juice and cream of tartar. Rub it over the stained spot. Rinse after 30 minutes. Then wash as usual.

Grease stain –  Rub lemon juice over the stained spot. Let it dry. Then wash as usual.

Dried stains –  Soak the garment in cold water.  Mix 2 cups of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of salt. Soak the stained spot in lemon juice for 15 to 30 minutes. Let it dry. Wash as usual.

Lemon has bleaching effect because of its acidity. So just like alcohol, test it first on an inconspicuous spot to see if it won’t affect the fabric’s color. Don’t use it on silk material, though.



Another item in your first aid kit can be used to fight clothes stains – the 3% hydrogen peroxide.

This is very effective for protein stains like blood and plant-based stains like grass, fruit and vegetable stains.  It’s not effective for oily stains, though.

Here’s how to use it:

Pour or spray a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on the stain. Let it soak into the fabric for about 10-20 minutes. Then wash it as usual.

You can also use it cream of tartar, especially if you don’t know what stain it is. Simply mix a teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide with a little cream of tartar. Rub the paste on the stain. Then rinse. The stain should be gone. Wash it as usual.

It’s a mild form of bleach so it’s friendly even to your colorful clothes. However, it is still best to test it first to make sure that no discoloration will happen.



Table salt’s home is the kitchen. We use it to cook. I find it amazing that it can also help us remove stains from our clothes! And the fun thing about it is that salt is common, non-toxic and natural! If you hate harsh chemicals, go for the salt! So don’t forget to store up some in your laundry room.

Here’s how to use it to remove stains:

Wine stain –  Works very well if the spill is recent. Sprinkle stained area with enough salt. Let it soak up the liquid. Then soak the fabric in cold water for about an hour. Wash as usual.

Mildew stain – Make a thin paste of salt and lemon juice. Spread the paste on mildew stains. Let it out under the sun. Wash as usual.

Sweat stain – Mix 4 tablespoons of salt and 1 quart hot water. Blot this on to the stain. Soak the garment in the salt solution for more stubborn stains.

Grease stain – Cover the grease spot with salt. Wait for the salt to absorb the grease. Then gently brush away the salt. Repeat this process until the stain is gone. Then wash as usual.



I can’t help but remember the good old days at school, when we used to write (and play) on chalkboards.

Today, chalks may be just a relic of a bygone era in schools, but it still proves itself handy when it comes to the laundry room.  You may find it weird at first (as I did) but this little white thing works very well on pre-treating greasy stains like lipstick and oily foods.

To use it, simply rub the chalk onto the greasy stain. The powder absorbs the grease. Then wash as usual.

Easy, right? So don’t forget to keep some in your laundry room.



We use it to keep our teeth clean and our breath fresh. But toothpaste’s benefit extends beyond the bathroom.  You can also use it to remove stains caused by grass, make-up, ink and blood.

To remove the stain, squeeze a small amount on the stain. Get a toothbrush and dip it in clean water. Then rub the stain with it. Repeat this process until all the stain is removed. Wash as usual.

You will have to stick with the old fashioned white toothpaste though – the PASTE variety, not the gel. So consider this the next time you buy a toothpaste.

You can also use it to whiten (brighten back up) your white clothes that now have a dingy look.



Apply this for red wine stains only.

Here’s how:

Blot the excess liquid with a clean cloth or kitchen roll. Don’t rub it. Then, apply white wine on the stain. This will help neutralize the stain.

If you get your hand on a table salt, I advise that you use it instead of white wine because white wine stains too. Then you will have to deal with the white wine stain later.



It turns out that dish soap is more than just for dishes, pots, and pans. It can also treat clothes stains. Because it’s mild, it’s a better choice over harsher chemicals.

To remove the stain, rub a little dish detergent into the stain and rinse with water. Then wash as usual.

Combine it with hydrogen peroxide for maximum effect. Here’s a DIY recipe from Tidy Mom that you can try for yourself.

Mix 1 part Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid (example 1 cup) and 2 parts 3% hydrogen peroxide (example 2 cups for every 1 cup of the dish soap). Pour or spray directly on the stain. Then wash as usual.


Tried any of these? What results did you have? Feel free to drop your comments!

Do you have a laundry stain removal solution? Share it in the comments too. It will be much appreciated.


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30 thoughts on “10 Budget-Friendly Household Items that Remove Laundry Stains


    oh I can swear by baking soda for stain removal. My mom used that for us for all our childhood. I dint know about salt/alcohol though. Thanks for sharing

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      You’re welcome Kapila! Glad to have given you more ideas you can apply. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Wendy

    I enjoyed reading this because I suck at doing laundry. Good to know some alternatives, especially for first-time moms like me.

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      Glad to help you Wendy! Don’t worry if at present you suck at laundry. We can always strive to get better each day. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Marjie Mare

    OMG, who knew that stuff that I have at home could remove stains. I am saving your post. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      That is exactly how I reacted too the first time I learned about these! Glad to help! Thanks for commenting!

  4. Stephanie

    This is so great, my boys are always spilling something on their clothes. I’ve used a regular stain stick and dish soap, but didn’t realize so many other products can be used for laundry.

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      Yes, feel free to try them out. Glad to have given you more ideas. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Tara H.

    Wow I am definitely keeping this list on hand, we are always battling stains with 2 kids.

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      Glad to help! Thanks for the comment Tara!

  6. Lois Alter Mark

    This list is a total game changer- I wish I had known all of these helpful hints when my kids were growing up! I’m going to print this out and hang it in my laundry room. Thank you!

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      You’re welcome Lois! Glad to be of help. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Rachel

    My one friend is a chemist. She is constantly telling me to use alcohol to get almost any kind of stain out.

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      Alcohol really works. Thanks for the comment Rachel!

  8. Marcela

    These are amazing tips. In my household we use these ingredients often. We rent apartment and not all of guest are careful. 😀

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      Glad to be of help Marcela! Guess no need to worry anymore about your guests spilling something. Bring them on!

  9. Melanie

    This is great! I never knew that you could use vinager or baking soda x

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      Yes they work great on stains. Glad to have given you some idea Melanie. Thanks for the comment!

  10. Kara | Dollar Mommy Club

    I use baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide and dish soap to get stains out of my daughter clothes! I have never tried vinegar before. I will have to try that sometime!

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      Glad to have given you more ideas. Thanks for the comment Kara!

  11. Holly

    Wow..what a great product suggestions. I love this. I totally want to try them out too.

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      Glad to help Holly! Thanks for the comment!

  12. Eloise

    these are awesome and natural solutions to our stain troubles… I will definitely be using this guide! Vinegar is amazing with all of it’s uses (found that out last year)

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      Glad to have given you more ideas to try Eloise. Thanks for commenting!

  13. Vy Nguyen

    I often put all my clothes to the washing machine. But, some of my clothes are not totally cleaned. Thanks for this information. I’ll try to use baking soda to clean stains.

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      Glad to be of help Vy. Thanks for your comment!

  14. Angela Tolsma

    White chalk and table salt aren’t ones I’ve heard before and definitely will be trying. I am happy that my wardrobe is mostly black and stains are uncommon!

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      Thanks for commenting Angela!

    1. Em Gumba Post author

      Glad to help Michele. Thanks for the comment!


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