Make Your Own DIY Laundry Stain Remover, Save Your Budget and Your Laundry!

Recipes for DIY laundry stain remover s are floating all around the Internet and there are quite a few on Pinterest.  I have donned my lab goggles and rubber gloves and mixed up several of the formulas promising miraculous results, only to be disappointed by the cost to make them, the lack of results, the bleach spot they left behind or all of the above.  That’s why I’m so excited about this recipe.  Would I call it miraculous?  Probably not.  To me miraculous would be not getting the stain in the first place.  What I will say is that this is the stain remover I will be using in my laundry room, from this day forward, to have and to clean, ’til death do us part.  :)

DIY laundry stain remover

My DIY laundry stain remover. I used a one quart spray bottle, previously purchased at Walmart. I mixed it right in the bottle.

Why do I like it?

  1. It works!  My arch nemesis when it comes to stains is not grass, chocolate, blood or ground in dirt. Until discovering this stain remover, it was yellow mustard.  No matter how quickly I was able to get to the stain, nothing seemed to take it out.  The most expensive detergents and stain products, to the very cheapest, have been tried with equally disappointing results.  There always remained a yellow shadow to taunt me.  Today, I can tell you that I’m no longer afraid of mustard stains.  It took sitting overnight, but this DIY laundry stain remover did something nothing I have ever purchased has been able to do.  It removed a mustard stain.

    stain remover on mustard

    As I sprayed the stain remover on the mustard spot, it immediately turned red. I’m not gonna lie. It freaked me out a little. But, after 15 minutes, I went ahead and rubbed the towel back and forth over the saturated stain and, then, rinsed it under warm water in the kitchen sink.



    A LOT of the stain was gone, but I was sad to see there was still that tell-tale yellow shadow that I have experienced so many times before. I decided to give it the same shot I have given all the others. I sprayed the shadow (same red results) and left it to sit overnight. The next morning I, again, rinsed the stain under warm water at the kitchen sink.


    stain gone

    This clean towel is my end result! I couldn’t be more pleased. Keep in mind, this hasn’t even been run through the washing machine, yet. I’m excited at the potential to salvage some clothing that we thought was lost and the money we will save in doing it!  This recipe is the bomb!

  2. It’s easy to make.  There are no toxic fumes and nothing to eat the skin off my fingers.  It only has three ingredients, plus water, and they may already be in your house; especially if, like me, you make your own laundry detergent.  It took less than five minutes to mix a batch and start using it!
  3. It’s inexpensive.  Name brand stain removers can be upwards of $4 or $5  for a bottle that is less than 1 quart in size, depending on the brand you purchase.  Some are even double that depending on where you shop.  My homemade stain remover made a one quart batch and it only cost me $0.88!  Score!
Because I already make my own laundry detergent, I already have Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (This is not the same as baking soda.  You will normally find it in the detergent aisle in your hometown grocery store or Walmart.  Trust me when I tell you that baking soda is not as powerful and can’t clean laundry a fraction as well as Arm and Hammer Washing Soda.  My first attempt at DIY laundry detergent taught me that.)  So, my total out of pocket for ingredients was just under $4, on this shopping trip, and I have enough ingredients,now, to make several batches.  When calculating the price per quart, I included the cost of the washing soda, even though I didn’t need to purchase any, this time.  For one batch, I used .63 worth of Dawn, .16 worth of washing soda and .09 worth of ammonia. The cost could probably be cut even more by using a generic equivalent of Dawn.  Since I wasn’t familiar with how effective one of those might be, I stuck with the name brand, for now, but may try a generic on a future batch.  For the time-being, I’m thrilled with .88 for a quart!
This recipe is adapted from one I found over at One Good Thing.  I’m so grateful to Jillee for sharing her experience and now, having successfully tweaked it to work for my family’s laundry (and mustard stains!), I’m ready to share my version with you.
DIY Laundry Stain Remover
  • ⅔ cup Dawn dishwashing liquid
  • ⅔ cup ammonia
  • ⅓ cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
  • water to fill to one full quart (a little over 2 cups)
  1. Place all the ingredients in a one quart spray bottle or glass jar.
  2. Screw on the lid and shake it up to mix thoroughly. After it sits awhile, the mixture will start to separate. (See the picture below, from just before getting ready to re-spray my "shadow".) Just give the bottle a quick shake before using and you'll be back in business.
  3. Spray the stain, rub and rinse the stain out. Then wash it as usual. Or, for really tough stains (like my mustard), spray the stain and let set overnight. Rinse the stain out. Wash as usual.
DIY stain remover

Enjoy savings and fresh clean, stain-free clothes!

I haven’t tried this on a colored fabric, yet, as the towel was off-white.  Once I test it, I’ll post an update to let you know how it works on colors.
I’m anxious to hear how this works for you and how much your family is saving!  If you want to save even more, start making your own laundry detergent, using my DIY Laundry Detergent recipe, which costs a fraction over 20¢ per 75-load bottle!  You’ll be amazed at how much money you leave in your family budget with all you save!


  1. Betty Baez says

    I also found my own remedy for removing stains I use shampoo surprisingly it breaks down oily stains easily, I’ve used it for blood, dirt, grease, and food stains

  2. says

    How exciting. I have an empty bottle so I think I’m going to get these and try it. My family does not know the difference between good towels and wipe up your mess towels either. I want to see it turn red lol. Great post.

  3. Tori says

    I agree about mustard. It, too, has been my arch-nemesis. Thx for the recipe…I can’t wait to try it. Also, never heard of making your own laundry detergent. I’m gonna give that one a try too!

  4. Lacy says

    I wonder how well this works on old stains. I have an old coffee stain on a sweater I used to love and have never been able to get it out, hopefully this will at least fade it, going to give it a try…

  5. says

    I have used the same formula and love it.I also got it off of Jillee’s sight.I do use it on colors.No problems with fading or anything.I have actually removed some old spots on my husbands shirts.No one uses paper towels,they use their my granddaughters have actually used the couch arms.Cleans those also.I love it and the homemade detergent.I like that you yours broken down some.Once I use my 3 bottles,that’s what I will be doing.Now if I could find a good hand dishwashing soap I will be set.I have tried a few.All are good,just not right yet.

  6. Carol L says

    I love this tip. Just amazing when you think of the cost of Stain Removers. Thank you so very much. I’ll be passing this on to my 5 daughters :). Thanks to Barbara’s Beat for sending me over.
    Carol L

  7. amber says

    I made this yesterday and the washing soda didn’t dissolve. Went to use it today thinking it just needed to sit for awhile and it was a solid lump at the bottom of the bottle. The washing soda I bought says “All Natural Super Washing Soda” by Arm and Hammer. Is this the right one? Or can you tell me what I did wrong?

    • says

      That’s exactly the right product, Amber. I’m not sure what to tell you, as I just threw all the ingredients in the bottle and shook them up. We have softened water at our house. I don’t know if that would make a difference or not. I know water quality has affected some people being able to make the laundry detergent from their tap water.

      Can you “crunch” up the lump of washing soda by dumping everything into a bowl and then pouring it back into the spray bottle?

    • says

      April, I have never actually tried that, so I’m not sure how it would work. They are both very different products, so my gut instinct is no. Let me know what happens if you try it and thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. Jenny says

    Do you have to rinse before you wash? I have two teen boys in sports and am looking for a pretreater/stain remover that i can spray and toss in the wash – even if it sits overnight.

    • says

      Yes, Holly. A quart is 4 cups. The water that is required is added after the other ingredients have been measured into the bottle and it only requires a little over 2 cups of water to bring the contents up to a full quart. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. M. Rodriguez says

    Is it safe to use on anything that will be washed with chlorine bleach due to the ammonia?
    I just made it but I’m a bit hesitant so I would like to know before I use it, cuz with 2 boys under 5 everything gets stains, color or white :)

  10. Demi-Anna Loos says

    I made this mix and although it has done well to remove stains, I also can’t use it as a spray. It simply crystallizes and the washing soda remains hard so I use it more as a paste. The smell of ammonia is really over powering so I may try to use less next time!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe: