Easy DIY Stain Removers to Erase Three of Your Most Dreaded Smears

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Let me share with you my most dreaded nightmare: I’m enjoying a peanut butter sandwich - my favorite snack! - and next thing I see is a blob of goo on my shirt.
True scenario.
Or, how about this one? That heavenly burger is just amazing, so juicy and all. Until, well - I notice the ketchup smear on my skirt. My lunch is ruined! (Not to mention my clothing!)
But fear no more: I have a remedy to fight stains.
Cost: $8Difficulty: Easy
Regardless how careful you are, sooner or later you’ll get a spill on yourself, a table cloth (if you’re that fancy) or worse, on somebody else.
It’s just a matter of time.
So today I want to share my weapons against three of the most aggravating stains:
— COFFEE & TEA
— OIL, PEANUT BUTTER & BUTTER
— KETCHUP & other TOMATOEY INCARNATIONS
I bet you can’t remember how many times you’ve spilled these either!
STEP 1: GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS
Believe or not, the fight against stains comes down to just a FEW simple ingredients:
— Dawn liquid dish soap, preferable blue classic, Fairy if you're in Europe & Australia
— Borax
— Baking Soda (preferable) or salt
— Rubbing Alcohol - at least 77%
There are also two more weapons to try after everything else has failed. I’ll be covering these a little later.
You’ll also need:
— Cup
— Tablespoon
— Cup or Measuring cap
— Container or bucket to wash your clothing
— Tap water
So take a trip to your cleaning cabinet, or the supermarket, and get ready for the battle!
STEP 2: ONE WORD: CONTAINMENT
Before you panic and put your cloth under running water, it is key to CONTAIN the mess.
As soon as the spill happens, grab paper towels (ideally very absorbent kitchen towels) or napkins and try to get as much of the stain out. Don’t rub, just gently press and let the paper suck the mess in.
TIP: If possible - especially with a large spill - put the towels in both sides on the fabric.
With wine or other liquids, you can use baking soda or salt: both great to absorb wet stains.
TIP: You want to remove as much as possible before you wet the fabric: Water will make the stain spread!
CAUTION: BEFORE you wash your fabric, always check the LABEL FOR CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS. And don’t use hot water with delicates or color items.
Wash the item as you would after applying the treatment, according to manufacture’s instructions.
Wait, we’re not ready to wash yet!
STEP 3: SCRAP THE GOO OUT BEFORE WASHING
A gooey paste - like ketchup or peanut butter - won’t spread as much as a liquid, but you’ll need to remove as much as you can off the fabric before washing it off.
TIP: Grab a spoon or a knife to scrap the excess. Remove as much as you can.
Then get a paper towel or other absorbent tissue and gently tap the stain, until no more of the stain is transferred to the paper.
TIP: Turn your fabric over and repeat tapping on the back of the too.
Now, let’s get started. Coffee anyone?
STEP 4: REMOVING COFFEE & TEA STAINS
METHOD 1 - If the stain is OLD, or the water didn’t remove all of it, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of DAWN to 1 cup of lukewarm water and let the stain soak for 15-30 min.
STEP 5: REMOVING OLD COFFEE STAINS IS EASY WITH BLUE
METHOD 2 - For stubborn stains, mix 2 tablespoons of borax with 1 cup or water and pour it over the stain. Leave it for 10 minutes before you rinse.
Borax is an oxidizing agent that sometimes can break the links that holds olds stains to fabric.
METHOD 3 - Finally, another method (I didn’t try) is EGG YOLK: Mix the yolk with a few drops of alcohol and warm water. Apply the mixture to the stain with a sponge. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and rinse.
TIP: Remember to ALWAYS CHECK CLOTHING CARE LABEL for CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS
I used METHOD 1 > dishwasher and lukewarm water and my coffee and tea stains were - almost - gone in a few minutes.
The coffee however left a faint yellowish stain, so after rinsing with water and METHOD 2: Added 2 tablespoons of borax to 1 cup of water, pour it over the fabric and left it for 10 minutes.
It worked!
If you yours is even more stubborn stain, you can try the EGG YOLK + ALCOHOL/WATER remedy after the others.
Now that we’ve taken care of the coffee, let’s move to the grease!
STEP 6: CONTAINING GREASE STAINS
Cooking grease and butter stains are tough! Not to mention peanut butter.
But - once again - I have a secret BLUE WEAPON that will win me the battle against grease.
TIP: If you spill any of these, first CONTAIN the spreading of the grease as quickly as possible! Again, use paper towels or other absorbent fabric to suck in as much of the oil. Or scrap the peanut goo off the fabric first.
CAUTION: RESIST RUNING YOUR FABRIC UNDER WATER > Water may set the OIL STAIN PERMANENTLY into the fabric!
STEP 7: READY? LET’S GET RID OF THE GREASE!
Here a few things to try:
METHOD 1: Use DAWN dishwashing detergent directly onto the stain and use a soft brush or toothbrush to scrub the spot.
CAUTION: if your fabric is delicate, you can use your finger for a more gently rub.
Either way, get that BLUE MAGIC well onto the stain. Leave it for 5-10 minutes and rinse in hot water - as hot as your fabric allows.
STEP 8: STILL A LIL GREASY? LET’S TRY ALCOHOL NEXT
If you still have a faint stain, try the following:
METHOD 2: RUBBING ALCOHOL. Pour directly onto the stain and rub gently. Get it from your medicine cabinet, or use a hand sanitizer (which is mostly alcohol.)
METHOD 3: Finally you can try a WOOD SOAP, like MURPHY. They are designed to remove grease out of wood, and should work here. Dilute in water (preferred) or apply directly onto the fabric. Leave for 10 min and wash normally.
TIP: Remember to TEST first in an inconspicuous area, especially with delicate garments.
Once again, I used DAWN dishwasher (METHOD 2) followed by alcohol (METHOD 2) and that removed completely off all my stains.
If yours persists after applying DAWN and alcohol you can do a second pass, or just try a WOOD SOAP, like MURPHY.
Hope you’re able to get them out!
Let’s move to the last, and most dreaded: TOMATO!
STEP 9: GETTING RID OF TOMATO STAINS IS EASY!
There’s only one place where I can’t stand tomatoey sauces: that is in my clothing! But now I’m ready for the next smear.
Once you’ve removed the excess sauce off the fabric - see STEP 3 (SCRAP THE GOO) - start with METHOD 1.
CAUTION: First and foremost: DO NOT USE HOT WATER to treat them! Heat sets the stains permanently.
Here’re a few things to try:
— METHOD 1: Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid to COLD water - 1/2 cap would make. The less water, the more concentrated.
Soak time is important, so let the mixture work for at least half an hour (I left mine for 2 hours.) Rub the spot to help release any lingering discoloration. Rinse.
TIP: If the stain is still there, repeat with a more concentrated solution. As long as you haven’t used heat, you can still get it off!
— METHOD 2: You can also try the DIY approach with WD-40, a spray lubricant you may have in your garage. TEST A SMALL INCONSPICUOUS AREA of the material first.
Make sure to remove any oily residue in cold, soapy water - or repeat METHOD 1 at a more diluted proportion - after applying WD-40.
TIP: Follow the manufacturer's directions for presoaking, and the label garment for cleaning instructions.
METHOD 1 was successful for me, though I kept it for a while and rubbed the stains a few times. I hope you’re able to remove stains & smears as easily as I did - Happy cleaning!
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If you enjoyed this post, and want to receive updates, follow me. And for more cleaning recipes with these ingredients:
— Check my No-Rub DIY DEGREASER FOR YOUR KITCHEN HOOD:
http://www.hometalk.com/23159738/diy-no-rub-magic-cleaner-degreaser-for-your-kitchen-hood
— Easy GROUT CLEANER - http://www.hometalk.com/22765530/neat-swifter-hack-4-ingredient-diy-bathroom-tile-grout-cleaner
— 3 INGREDIENT SOAP SCUM REMOVER for your shower doors: http://www.hometalk.com/21433429/3-ingredient-green-diy-soap-scum-remover-for-your-glass-shower-doors
Next week I’ll be cleaning our pipes with two of my favorite ingredients - can you guess which?
Stay tuned to find the answer! :)

Suggested materials for this project:

  • DAWN, blue (preferable) or FAIRY  (Supermarket, Drugstore)
  • White Vinager  (Supermarket, Drugstore, Dollar Store)
  • Borax  (Supermarket, Drugstore)
See all materials