Homemade Natural Fabric Stain Remover – Non-Toxic and Frugal!

A quick and easy recipe for a non-toxic stain remover for non-toxic laundry care that is safe, hypoallergenic and effective!

Homemade Natural Fabric Stain Remover

I’ve been wanting to make a non-toxic stain remover for a while, and just finally got around to it! This will join my non-toxic and gentle laundry detergent and natural fabric softener that I’ve been using for over a year and half. I’ve been noticing that when I used my go-to fabric stain remover on the clothes, they would have the artificial fragrance comes with the chemicals, especially since I use no artificial ingredients in my homemade laundry detergent. Plus, it just started to be too expensive – about $7.98 for a 21.5 ounce bottle and it didn’t even work all that well unless applied immediately after something fun (like dirt, poop, markers, paint, chocolate, spaghetti sauce…you get the idea) gets on the clothes.

How To Use

Best practice – when something gets on your laundry, rinse it out with water as soon as you can. If that’s not possible, then rinse out when it is. Then, spray the stain remover on the spot(s) as soon as you can (immediately is best) and rub in with your fingers. Let it sit for 10-30 minutes to an hour. Natural solutions DO work, but they take more patience and time to do the same job a harsher cleaner does.

I love that this one smells fresh with the lemon essential oil in it and doesn’t leave an artificial scent on the clothes, plus its totally hypoallergenic and safe for our family’s sensitive skin. I got the original recipe from Prairie Homestead (which is an awesome site!) and then added my own touches like more lemon oil and some baking soda. I also tried it with orange essential oil and LOVED the scent, but it does have a yellow tint to the oil, so I’d be careful about using it on light colors. It didn’t stain my clothes, but I’d hate to get unlucky. The lemon oil doesn’t leave a residue on the clothes or stain them at all (believe me – I spray a ton of it on my boys’ really dirty clothes and there’s nothing left behind, even after it sits on the clothes for days at a time sometimes!)

The Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup liquid castile soap (I buy Dr. Bronner’s in Peppermint (where to buy)
  • 1/4 cup liquid vegetable glycerine (vegetable glycerine)
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda (where to buy)
  • 10-15 drops lemon essential oil or Purification (where to buy high quality essential oils)

When something gets on your laundry, rinse it out with water as soon as you can. If that’s not possible, then rinse out when it is.
Then, spray the stain remover on the spot(s) and rub in with your fingers.
Let it sit for at least 10 minutes, but 30 minutes to an hour is best.
Remember, natural solutions DO work, but they take more patience and time to do the same job a harsher cleaner does.

You can use the Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap for tons of other recipes – see all my recipes for it here!

How to Purchase High Quality Essential Oils through My Merry Messy Life

About Sara McFall

Sara is the owner and founder of My Merry Messy Life, which started in 2011 as a way to chronicle her journey to a natural, chemical-free lifestyle and to share her passions of mothering, real food, homeschooling and crochet. She is a mama to three precious and energetic little boys and wife to a university professor who loves to sing, dance ballet and ballroom, and live simply and naturally.


  1. Stephanie says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now and I love it! I do have a question though. What is the glycerin in this recipe used for?

    • Great question! I was curious myself (since I adapted the recipe) and found through some research that glycerine is a humectant and attracts water to itself. So, it helps to clean by attracting water to clean the stain.

  2. Betty Winkelman says:

    How much glycerin?

  3. Rosalie Sisneros says:

    Do you have any tips on how to lighten yarn? I used different lots not noticing that it was somewhat darker. Now I’m stuck, finished baby blanket and a part of it is a little darker than the rest.

  4. Joanna Hogan says:

    Is Oreck one of your “sponbsor’s”? I had an Orcck one time for about an hour and reurned it. It is rated as a terrible vacuum by all Consumer Rating Compaines and I certainly agree; Consumers Union and Consumer News? All a person needs to do use it once and its’ performance is obvious!

    • No, they aren’t. I’ve never worked with them. I grew up using my mom’s Oreck and it is so lightweight and powerful that I just recently got one myself. My mom and two aunts all have Oreck’s and LOVE them! I’m surprised you had a bad experience. My mom has been buyin Oreck’s for over 20 years with not a single problem. You’ve must’ve gotten the one bad apple, I guess! I actually like to vacuum because my Oreck is that fantastic!

  5. Lari-anne Milosavljevic says:

    Does this stain remover work on grease stains? I seem to get a lot of them while cooking and find that no matter what I use as a stain remover that it doesn’t work. Thanks

    • To be honest, I haven’t tried it on grease stains yet. I do get oils on my shirt from all the natural products I use, but I haven’t used the stain remover on it. I would probably add more baking soda by rubbing it on the shirt and that will help boost it and might get it out. I’d love to know if you have success with that!

  6. I was reading what the glycerin was used for in the questions. I have an almond oil that is the the brand now solutions that you can buy on amazon for the glycerin. Just wondering if this would do the same thing or should I buy the glycerin?

  7. I meant to type I hate to support them not have to.

  8. cameron clark says:

    can other ess. oils be used like lavender?

  9. Hi there,

    Do u need to dissolve the baking soda, so it doesn’t clog the spray?

  10. Does this stain remover work on stains at white fabric couches? After I clean the couch some areas have a “clear yellow” line and when it dries looks like a dark stain line . Thanks

  11. I’m always looking for new organic and chemical free cleaning recipes. I haven’t seen this before so I’m putting it in my cleaning toolbox. Will give it a try for sure.

  12. How quickly do clothes need laudered after spraying? For instance, can you spray clothes on Monday and leave in basket till you do laundry on the weekend?

  13. Hi, i was so happy to find this recipe; however, some of the clothes I used it on came out with white spots. I’m a little afraid to keep using it because I don’t want to permanently stain anything. Have you ever had this happen? Any suggestions? Thank you!

    • Hi Jeannie! No, I definitely haven’t – strange! It could be that the soap in it got gunked up and left residue on the clothes? Will it wipe off with a washcloth?

      • Hi Sara, no it won’t. I tried it again in another load, and it left spots on one of my shirts that look wet. I’m so bummed. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I haven’t tried to wash it again to see if they come out. Unfortunately, since the spots just look wet, I didn’t notice them before throwing the shirt in the dryer. I’d love any suggestions!

        • Hi Jeannie! Huh, you’ve got me stumped! I’m not sure what’s going on – you’re sure you used the same ingredients I did? It could be that you have hard water – I think our’s here is pretty soft. That can make a difference.

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