Homemade Stain Removers with Hydrogen Peroxide

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I’ve been seeing more and more recipes lately for homemade cleaners using hydrogen peroxide. Why? Because hydrogen peroxide is like bleach’s friendlier cousin. It can whiten and disinfect with a milder chemical structure than bleach. Hydrogen peroxide’s chemical formation is two atoms of hydrogen and two atoms of oxygen (basically water with an extra oxygen atom) which breaks down into water and is therefore a kinder alternative for the environment.

Oh, and it’s cheap too. You gotta like that when it comes to homemade cleaners.

So I gave a couple of homemade hydrogen peroxide cleaners a try and was pretty satisfied with the results. I tried one laundry recipe and one basic cleaning recipe.

Here’s the scoop:

Laundry Stain Recipe with Dawn & Peroxide

The basic laundry stain recipe is a mixture of Dawn dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. (You use the basic 3% hydrogen peroxide that’s available in drugstores or grocery stores). You use these two ingredients in a ratio of 1 part Dawn to 2 parts peroxide. I made a small batch of 1 teaspoon Dawn and 2 teaspoons peroxide and mixed them together in a small bowl. I used a small brush to rub it into the stained area and then let it set for a couple of hours before laundering in the washing machine.

I tested this out on two items – a white blouse that had yellow underarm stains, and a red sweater with a greasy stain (that had already gone through the wash a few times).

The white blouse saw great improvement with the yellow stains almost entirely disappearing. This was a blouse I was about ready to toss out anyway and now it’s been given a second life!

The old grease stain on the red sweater saw some lightening, but it did not disappear altogether. The most encouraging thing was this stain recipe did not in any way lighten the red color so it appears safe to use on colors too.

Although the before and after photos don’t really show the full impact, the results were very noticeable on the white shirt.

homemade stain remover

Using Baking Soda & Peroxide on Household Stains

Another way to use your hydrogen peroxide is to mix it with baking soda or cream of tartar for a household stain cleaner. I tried this on a really nasty spot on my tub. This is a spot where water pools and over the years it has broken down the porcelain and created a stain. This stain has been resistant to all regular cleaners I have used to date. Would the peroxide be any better?

Well, it really did lighten it a lot! I was happy! I knew it would not go away completely but the spot is much, much lighter than it was before and is much less noticeable. (Sooner or later we are going to have to re-glaze the tub . . . or something).

I tried this first with a mixture of 1 tablespoon cream of tartar with enough hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. This made a pretty tiny batch, but it did work pretty well. I tried a few more applications with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. I just dumped baking soda in a bowl and added enough hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. I spread it over the stain and then let it sit for several hours and then scrubbed.

Once again, the pictures don’t really do justice, but in real life it looks much improved. In the before picture I didn’t have the light on in the bathroom and in the second picture I did which is why the first picture looks more yellow (just in case you thought I was using some editing)

stain on bathtub

I’m definitely going to try this on a few more dirty things.
{{ I should be able to find a few of those in my house }}

Do you have a favorite homemade mixture with hydrogen peroxide? I’d love to hear your results too!

** Update: Here are a couple more stories of using the homemade Dawn dish soap and hydrogen peroxide stain remover. Stain remover success story #1 (a wine stain on a wool sweater) and stain remover success story #2 that someone shared with an oily stain on a coat. It’s pretty amazing stuff!

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  1. I love reading about what other people are using the Dawn/H2O2 concoction to clean! I soak our pillowcases in it occasionally. I was shocked by how much oil and sweat was removed from what appeared to be perfectly clean pillowcases!

  2. My mom used liter fluid that went into her Zipp lighter and got Greece and stains out of my white jeans. She just rubbed it in than washed them in the washer. They came out perfect

  3. I use hydrogen peroxide straight to clean my reusable earplugs which I use regularly while riding my motorcycle. I love it because it’s effortless. I buy plugs which come in their own case…then place them in their case and fill the remaining with peroxide. Let the bubbling action do the work for me for at least a few hours at least until it stops, but I usually let it go for several hours and basically forget about it for while at work or something. When complete, I rinse it out with fresh clean water and let it air dry in the case for a day or so. It is very important that it is completely dry before placing it in your ear and my plugs are shaped weird which could hold water you don’t see if you try to dry them with a towel. Once complete, the plugs look brand new with no physical effort whatsoever!

    FYI: Hydrogen peroxide actually breaks down both into oxygen and water not just water.

    Thanks for the helpful post!

  4. Peroxide is also VERY effective in removing blood stains. Pour a small amount of peroxide on the stain and let set for a couple of minutes. If it hasn’t disappeared, repeat the process.

  5. PLEASE stop telling people to use hydrogen peroxide on stains- it stains white clothing a much worse yellow that is nearly impossible to take out! I read your website to remove faint spots on white and now 4 of my favorite shirts are completely ruined!

  6. Oh, and another great stain remover is rubbing alcohol! This works brilliantly for ink stains – especially marker stains on plastic or fabric. If you have kids that have written on the floors or walls, try straight up rubbing alcohol. It might require a little elbow grease or soaking, but it usually works. I use this to label my plastic storage bins. I simply use a permanent marker to label it and then, if I change it’s purpose, I use rubbing alcohol to remove the ink and re-label it. Easy peasy!

  7. I just wanted to say that it doesn’t have to be Dawn dish soap. Most dish detergents will work as long as they don’t have weird dyes in them. I live in South Korea and have trouble buying clothes here, so stain removal is very important. Dawn isn’t a brand available, so for the past 10 years or so, I’ve just used whatever dish detergents brands are available (I change it up – but they are all “Lotte” products) with hydrogen peroxide. It is amazing the stains I have removed with this. Grease, mildew, blood, grass, pet stains, wine, etc. It even works on old stains – although it does require a longer set time for those. Fabulous stuff and so much better for the environment than really harsh chemicals!

    1. Good to know! Dawn has been my dish soap of choice for this stain remover because of it’s grease cutting abilities. But if Dawn is not available where you live, it’s good to know other dish soaps have performed well to. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I noticed that if I bleach anything that I used this hydrogen /Dawn solution on, that the area that was clearly affected came out a yellowish color. So now I tell all not to use this on something you plan to bleach later. I love this solution though.

    1. Thanks for sharing that Dawn. I haven’t used this mixture on anything that I’ve later bleached and didn’t know there could be possible yellowing.

  9. I did a google search as well and found your site and have to say I Love it! I have been using the 2 = blue dawn w H2o2, for months now and Love it! I was reading other posts and am glad I found out about the storage and using a dark bottle =) I was wondering why it quit working. lol My hubby thinks it’s the best stuff ever. Thank you for your great site. =)

  10. I am recovering from cellulitis. My doctor said I should cleanse the wound every day using Dawn dish washing liquid. Is there a medical connection in Dawn?

    1. I haven’t heard of that before Rosanne, but I would wonder if Dawn dish soap might be an antibacterial soap and perhaps that’s why the doctor would recommended it.

  11. Hi,

    I have never responded to anything like this before but I have the perfect fix for bathtubs and toilets. PUMICE STONES. They remove any and all stains, regardless of what they are or their age. It is definitely the best .95 I ever spent.

    Thank you.

    1. I think I will have to see if I can find a pumice stone at the store! Thanks for sharing that info Lana.

  12. Hello Bev,
    I found you doing a google serch!
    On my fav’s list after reading your blog.,,

    Thank you for your great insight and dedication.

    I just found the perfect dress, doing a little make over after losing 60lbs., however I found it at AmVets thrift store lots of grese stains, looks like some one had a great time eating, I do not know what!!! LOL
    It’s a top designer dress, for 4 bucks, I wanted to give it a try, if I could not save it, I am supporting my Heros’ ๐Ÿ™‚ ,crock pot with plastic still on cover for $2.50 great deals!!
    It’s a matte jersy,
    Can I send you a picture?…

    1. Hello Heidi – so glad you enjoying the blog! Feel free to send a picture ๐Ÿ™‚ You can always email me at [email protected] It would be great if the homemade stain remover could salvage this dress. I love a good bargain too!

  13. Hydrogen peroxide is great for getting pet accidents out of carpet. Our dog had diarrhea on our beige family room carpet. NOTHING has ever worked like H2O2! I’m a nurse and H2O2 just makes blood stains disappear. Besides touching up spots on my carpet (I just POUR the hydrogen peroxide right on the stains), I also put the hydrogen peroxide in my carpet cleaner to clean my carpets if I decide not to clean them with vinegar that day. I must say—test whatever you are going to use it on first. My friend tried it on her favorite pair of light blue jeans—and it took the color out of the jeans.

    1. A friend of mine clued me in a while back to H202 and it’s great ability to work on blood stains, but hearing it from a nurse seems to give it even more credibility! And good to know it can go to work on pet stains too. Thanks for sharing your experience ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I used this in a spray bottle to clean my sons rug from his college dorm room! Let me tell you that thing was dirty! But I’m a cheapskate and not spending $70-80 a year on a new rug! So we tried this on it and it worked great!! Looked brand new!!

    1. That’s awesome Misty! I can just imagine how dirty a rug from a dorm room might end up getting and it’s cool to hear this homemade solution saved you some $$.

  15. Does anyone know if you can make a natch of the dawn/peroxide mix and soak a piece of clothing if the stain is to big to spot treat? I have a white baby item that was stored away in a box and the orange from the box stained the whole front of the outfit so I’m wondering if I can soak it in a basin and if so for how long???

    1. Janet – this might be one of those situations where you really have nothing to lose by trying. The formula is 1 part Dawn dish soap to 2 parts hydrogen peroxide for a clothing stain remover. If you wanted to try a larger batch for soaking you could do 1/2 cup of Dawn dish soap to 1 cup hydrogen peroxide. However this sounds like a pretty tough stain situation that you have because of the orange color. I also have this recipe for a homemade solution for whitening whites that you could try: https://www.themakeyourownzone.com/2012/11/homemade-solution-for-whitening-your-whites.html

      1. I have some pants that was stained from being washed with something that the dye ran onto the light pants..how long would I leave the 1/2 cup of Dawn and 1 cup of peroxide soaking…. ? There is two pairs.

        1. I’m not sure if this mixture will get rid of a problem with dye that has run. If you do give it a try, I would let it set for at least 4 or 5 hours.

    1. Hydrogen peroxide slowly breaks down in the light which is why it is sold in the dark brown bottles. If you make this ahead of time, make sure you keep it in some sort of dark container, or keep it in a dark place so that the hydrogen peroxide stays at its full strength.

  16. I unfortunately used a dish detergent that we had (palmolive -green) and figured “no big deal” and added the peroxide for laundry stains. Used a sponge brush and ended up with neon green/yellow stains where I applied the stain remover. Now trying to use other store bought stuff to remove the neon green/yellow stain ๐Ÿ™‚ Items were ruined anyways with the stains, but I have to say the original stains are gone ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Sorry to hear the different brand of dish soap left color residue. It does seem that the original blue Dawn is the best (maybe only?) dish soap to use in this recipe. It seems to have a better grease dissolving ability and I have not had any problem with the blue color lingering around.

      1. Dawn dish soap is made from a petroleum derivative, so it binds better with lipids that are found in food and grease. This is why they use it to clean up oil spills.

    2. LOL. I did the same thing.. Used Sunlight dish soap here in South Africa. Neon yellow baby blanket! Better than brown I guess! Haha.

  17. This stain remover is great, but I add one step. I first sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the stain, then spray it with the Dawn/peroxide mixture. I rub it in with a toothbrush. The stains are gone within 15 minutes. Also, on grease and oil stains, I use regular blue Dawn by itself… gets them out every time!

  18. I used hydrogen peroxide and Dawn to get out suntan lotion stains out of two shirts…it did the trick was it was amazing to see the stains just go away. I honestly thought I was going to have to throw away the shirts as I had tried other things such as lemon, Oxiclean, and white vinegar. While each of the other remedies worked to a certain degree, the combination of hydrogen peroxide and Dawn did the trick!!

    1. That is so cool Melissa! Thanks for sharing your success story with this homemade stain remover.

  19. hydrogen peroxide is wonderful to get out blood on fabric or carpets.. i poured it on coouple blood spots on beige carpet and the blood just disappeared. like magic i had a nurse at the hospital tell me about this

  20. Fels Naptha soap is amazing I keep a bar at my washer for my baby clothes to get formula, spit up and other unpleasantries out of my 5 month old , 20 month old and 4 y.o clothes works like a charm ๐Ÿ™‚ and I use vinegar in my rinse to guarentee it rinses out.

  21. I've been using Fels Naptha in my homemade laundry soap, but I have never tried it directly on a stain. Guess I better put it to the test and see how that works. That would be awesome if it can get out oily stains.

  22. I had not thought of Bar Keeper's Friend, but my Dad uses that cleaner and thinks it's wonderful. Maybe I will pick up a can and give it a try. Thanks for the tip Marlene!

  23. Bev, have you ever tried Bar Keeper's Friend Cleanser on that spot in your tub? I use that a lot for rust/metal based stains. I even will make a paste with water and used it on a rust spot on cloth before I wash it. Recently I had a favorite pink shirt with an unknown stain on it. Tried the Dawn and Peroxide several times in a row with no luck. Ultimately I remembered I had been cleaning some stamps with permanent ink and probably that is what splashed on the shirt. I hate when I mess up favorite shirts!

  24. I've not done a lot yet with H2O2, but i'll give this a try. :)I had an oil stain on my favorite shirt. It wasn't very visible, so i kept wearing it. It has been thru wash/dry at least a couple of times when i attacked it with Fels Naptha To my amazement, that older oil stain (i think from mineral oil) washed out. My sis told me about this stuff, and it really is good.

  25. That's great Bev, I always love reading your website, so stinkin practical! I found that using Magic Erasers on my porcelain stains did wonders. The only problem was the cost. I found some at the dollar store and compared them head to head in youtube video.I should do a head to head video of the Make Your Own Zone way vs. Magic Eraser.However that being said, it got the rust stains out, but still left the underlying cast metal. I might just need to paint it with some enamel or something.FYI If you ever redo your bathroom, consider selling your old porcelain tub to the recycler, my n'bor did 2 weeks ago and got $60 for it (it was HEAVY!)