Unexpected Helpers for Laundry Stains


Sometimes I take a little breather and stop and think a bit about why I like finding ways to make my own stuff.  And when I think about  it, one word always keeps popping up that’s important to me:  Resourceful.  I love to be resourceful!

Homemade solutions are often resourceful solutions, and being resourceful is very empowering.  Instead of being dependent on only one way to solve a problem, (usually the expected way or the traditional way) you begin to think outside the box and look around for new alternatives. You begin to see a whole new wide world of possibilities and knowledge that you may have been missing before.  Time after time, I notice how a homemade solution adds to my good feelings of resourcefulness by helping me use what I have to make what I need.

A Resourceful Laundry Story

I was reminded of resourcefulness again the other day when a friend told me she had been trying to get rid of some kind of oily stain on a piece of her college son’s clothing.  They tried the homemade stain remover I’ve written about before, but this time it couldn’t get rid of the stain.  So as a last ditch effort she tried WD-40.  And it worked!

Now maybe at first glance this doesn’t seem like a homemade solution, and yet it IS a way of being resourceful and using something else that was available to “make” the stain remover that was needed.  Instead of just giving up and tossing the clothing out, the problem was solved and a favorite piece of clothing got a new lease on life.

Hearing her story put me in the mood to go searching for one of the books in my “Home Resource Library” also known as “That shelf where I stick all the quirky books I find at thrift stores and garage sales”.  And I found what I was looking for  – a little book I picked up a couple years ago called Talking Dirty Laundry With The Queen Of Clean.  Sure enough – WD-40 was listed in this book too along with a bunch of other interesting ideas for dealing with laundry and stain problems.

So today in the interest of helping us get our resourceful groove going, I’m sharing some of these unexpected “homemade” stain removers, most of which I found flipping through the book mentioned above.

I do want to disclose that I haven’t personally tested these ideas, but instead offer them up as a way to use something else that might be around the house to solve a problem, or as a “nothing else has worked” final attempt to save a piece of clothing.  If the item is stained and you’re not wearing it anyway, you don’t have much to lose and you might just discover a great new resourceful trick to add to your laundry stain fighting knowledge!

Let’s take a look:

Laundry Stain Removers

1.  WD-40

Amazon link: WD-40 – 3 oz.

As I found out from my friend, WD-40 might be just the thing to come to the rescue if you have an oily or greasy stain.  You may have learned back in chemistry class that “Like Dissolves Like” and that’s the theory with using WD-40 as a stain remover – you use something greasy and/or oily to get rid of stains that are also greasy and/or oily.    You can also try WD-40 as a stain remover for crayon or lipstick.

To use:  Spray the WD-40 on the stain and wait about 10 minutes.  Then rub in some dish soap and launder as usual.  Do not use WD-40 on silk.


2.  Coca-Cola

How about this one?  If you’ve got a washload of heavily soiled, greasy work clothes, try pouring a can of Coke in with the wash too.  Use regular Coke (not Diet Coke) as it’s supposed to be the cola syrup/sugar combo that makes it work.

To use:  Pour the can of Coke into the washing machine with the water and detergent and launder as usual.


3.  Go-Jo Waterless Hand Cleaner

Amazon link: Gojo Heavy Duty Creme Hand Cleaner

I received an email from a reader a while back sharing that she uses a mechanic’s hand cleaner (like the Go Jo brand) on oily stains with good success.  It was also listed many times in the laundry book mentioned above.  Even if you don’t have a mechanic (and his hand cleaner) in the family, you might want to search out this product to keep around the house for oily and greasy stains.

To use:  Rub some of the hand cleaner into the stain and then launder as usual.


4.  Meat Tenderizer

Amazon link: McCormick Meat Tenderizer Non-seasoned

Meat tenderizer can be used on protein based stains such as blood, milk, meat juices, and baby formula  Be sure to use unseasoned meat tenderizer or you’ll have a whole new stain.

To use:  Combine the meat tenderizer with some cool water to make a paste.   Rub it into the stain and let it set for about an hour.  Then launder as usual.


5.  Cheez Whiz

Amazon Link: Kraft Cheez Whiz

Ummmm, what now?  Really?  Cheez Whiz?  Yup, this one is also touted by some stain experts as a way to get rid of greasy stains.  Hard to believe but it might be worth a chance if nothing else has worked.

 To use:  Rub the Cheez Whiz into the stain (no need to let it sit) and then launder as usual.


6.  Spot Shot Carpet Cleaner

Amazon Link: Spot Shot Instant Carpet Stain Remover

I wrote about Spot Shot Carpet Cleaner once before in a post called 3 Store Bought Cleaners I Can’t Give Up.   I knew it was great on carpet stains, but never thought to use it as a laundry pretreater.  It’s said to be good to try on oily stains, pet stains, cola, shoe polish, lipstick, and blood.

To use:  Spray the stained area thoroughly, working it in a bit if needed.  Let it sit for 60 seconds and then launder as usual.  Do not let it dry on the stain before washing.  Do not use on silk or dry clean only fabrics.


7.  Non-Gel Toothpaste

An old fashioned white toothpaste (not the gel type of toothpaste) can be tried to remove a grass stain or an ink stain.

To use:  Rub thoroughly into the stain and then rinse.  Then launder as usual.


How about you?  Have you tried any of these unexpected laundry helpers or do you have others to suggest?  I’d love to hear your experience!



Need a few more bright ideas?
Sign up for the monthly email newsletter to learn about my latest content and tips for frugal homemade living.

Leave a Comment

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


    1. I have not yet found a homemade mixture for dry cleaning clothing. I just purchase the DIY kits from the store (a brand like Dryel for instance) and use that in my dryer instead of going to the dry cleaner.

  1. I made homemade laundry detergent. it leaves stains on the cloths. Do anyone have a recipe for heavy duty laundry detergent or what can I add to it?

  2. When my son was in little league he would come home with grass stains on the knees of his white pants. I rubbed a bit of clear Karo Syrup into the stains & let it sit a bit before laundering as usual. If the stains didn’t come out completely the first time I’d just reapply and wash again before drying the pants. Worked like a charm and he had the cleanest looking pants on the team!

  3. I worked for the Postal Sevice for many years and ink stains on clothing were always a problem. I found that hair spray usually took ink out of my cotton work blouses! I usually bought the cheapest brand and it worked great!