Homemade Super Stain Remover & Deodorizer: Fights tough Red Wine, Grease, Yellow Armpit Stains, and more!

stain remover

As excited as I am to share this stain removing/deodorizing DIY home cleaning recipe with you, I really wish I hadn’t had the opportunity to test it quite as thoroughly as I did.  But, if it can help clean and deodorize my son’s  tummy-bug mess from a new mattress and new carpet…rest assured it should work for most anything you’ll throw at it.  (Don’t worry–no before/after pics for this cleaner!)

In the aftermath of my kiddo getting sick, I remembered seeing something passed around on Facebook for using hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and our old trusty cleaning pal Dawn; all mixed together as a stain remover.  I thought I remembered seeing that it would deodorize too.  Considering I was facing both stains and odor, I thought it would be worth a try.

For the bed and carpet, I mixed about ¾ cup hydrogen peroxide, a few teaspoons of baking soda, and a little squirt of Dawn (maybe about 1 tsp–I didn’t take the time to measure!).  I swished it around, dipped my cleaning cloth in it, and started scrubbing.  (This was after I’d removed the rest of the…um…residue.  Sorry if that’s TMI, but figured that was important to mention!)

With a little scrubbing and blotting , I was able to get the rest of the stains out of both the carpet and the mattress, and more importantly, the smell too.  My guys have sensitive noses, and I was worried that either the smell of tummy sickness or the strong smell of a cleaner would bother them.  This ended up smelling slightly of Dawn, but mostly just CLEAN.  Hallelujah! :)

grape juice carpet

I also had the “opportunity” today to use this on a sizeable grape juice stain on my light tan living room carpet.  This was less than 24 hours after discussing with the kids why we don’t bring grape juice into the living room, even in sippy cups… but stuff happens and children ignore their mothers’ wisdom, so at least we have a good tool to deal with it.  I blotted as much of the grape juice as I could with dry towels, then scrubbed the mixture into the carpet.  It looked like it needed to be rinsed, so I squirted a little hot water onto the stain, the used my shop-vac to suck the water out (you could also use a carpet cleaner, or just some towels for that step).  After one round, the stain was pretty faint, but still visible, so rubbed on some more of the mixture and let it sit about 1/2 hour.  After rinsing and vacuuming again, the only problem was that the scrubbed area was a little cleaner than the rest of the surrounding carpet.  I’ll take it!  (and the preschoolers in the household breathed a collective sigh of relief…)

After I had a chance to do more research on this combo, I found out that hydrogen peroxide and dish soap are a bit of a dream team when it comes to stain removal, especially tricky ones like red wine.  Mix two parts peroxide and one part dish soap (many recommend blue Dawn, but most soaps should work fine), and use it to pre-treat stubborn stains on clothing.  Be aware that peroxide can be a bleaching agent, so if you’re concerned about color-fastness of clothing or carpet, test it on an inconspicuous spot.

dawn banner

The addition of the baking soda to the combo helps in both deodorizing and scrubbing for stain removal.  This is especially helpful in those yucky armpit stains that can pop up on shirts.  I tried my leftover mixture on some pit stains, and I was super impressed with the results.  (I’ll spare you the Before & After pics of those too…just use your imagination.  Before: gross…After: awesomely clean).  The peroxide/Dawn/baking soda has also proven useful for stubborn grease stains in shirts and tablecloths.

This is something you’ll want to mix up and use in smaller quantities as needed, because hydrogen peroxide is basically water with an extra Oxygen molecule attached (“H2O2” rather than “H2O”).  It can break down into plain water when it’s exposed to light or mixed with other ingredients for a while.  (That’s why peroxide bottles are opaque brown, so sunlight doesn’t cause it to break down!)  There’s also a chemical reaction that happens when you add the baking soda, so a fresher cleaning solution will be most effective at stain removal.

This will definitely be an addition to my stain-fighting arsenal.  And considering you can buy all 3 ingredients for less than $2 total (especially with a sale and a coupon for the Dawn), it’s not only effective, but also super frugal.

A quick recap:

  • Stain treater for clothes: 2 parts hydrogen peroxide to 1 part dish soap

  • Add a few tsp. of baking soda for extra deodorizing/scrubbing power, especially for pit stains and grease stains

  • Use a higher ratio of peroxide (3 or 4 parts peroxide to 1 part Dawn) for places you’d want less sudsing (like my examples above with the mattress & carpet, which are harder to rinse)

  • Mix it up as needed in smaller quantities, so the chemical reaction is fresh and most effective at fighting stains.

If you try it, let me know what you think!  I really hope you only need to try it on crusty undershirts or spilled juice instead of my other example…but if the need arises hopefully it’ll be a handy trick to know.

 Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 5.26.51 PM

Have you tried our other DIY Cleaning recipes?  They’re low in chemicals, super frugal, and do a great job.  Check them out:


Vinegar & Dawn: Soap Scum cleaner, Carpet spot treater, and much more!
DIY Dishwasher DetergentHomemade Dishwasher Detergent

How to Clean an Oven titleHow to Clean a Dirty Oven Without using Harsh Chemicals

Microwave cleaningEasy Microwave Cleaning with Dawn

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Wrinkle release
Homemade Wrinkle Release Spray

Versatile Vinegar: tons of uses for vinegar all over the house, plus a recipe for great-smelling Orange Infused vinegar

How to make washing soda from baking soda  www.sistersshoppingonashoestring.com Make your own Washing Soda from Baking Soda!

Natural weed killer
Natural Weed Killer: No Harsh Chemicals!

 Chemical Free Insect Control

Chemical-Free Insect Control

Pin this post so you’ll have it handy for later use, and don’t forget to Follow Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring on Pinterest to see all our best tips & tricks, along with the things we love from around the web!


  1. Sarah says

    I have been using the vinegar and dawn to clean my mouth guard for bedtime. The appliance gets a build up which does not want to disappear even after soaking in denture cleaner. I spritzed the mixture in a paper cup, dropped the mouth piece in the mess and two minutes later it was like brand new! Amazing!!!!

  2. naomi says

    This sounds amazing! but i have only one question – what is so good about dawn dish soap? do you think i can use any other soap ?
    i live in a country that doesn’t sell dawn dish soap.
    thank you!

    • Megan says

      I recommended it because it’s worked well for me…I think because it’s a brand name rather than a store brand which might be more watered down. Try what’s available to you, and I bet it’ll work fine. Good luck!

    • Ben says

      I know I’m late with this, but Dawn does not have other chemicals. It is safe to wash pets with. Other detergents may have chemicals that can harm carpets and other materials.

  3. says

    I love this cleaner. Here’s MY hint to you regarding armpit stains. Stop using commercial antiperspirant / deodorants! Use that same baking soda to do the job in your pits. You can simply wet the baking soda in your hand after a shower and apply the slurry to your pits. Works like a charm, and zero stains. No toxins in the body, either.

    • Vonnie says

      I did that for a short while as well as trying some homemade deodorants using baking soda, coconut oil, and cornstarch, but the baking soda caused chemical burns in my armpits (OUCH!). I have very sensitive skin so that’s probably the reason. I can use it now and then, but not every day. Baking soda does great at getting rid of BO, but it may be too strong for some.

      • Precious says

        I’ve been using Milk of Magnesia as deo for about a year and it works better with less mess than baking soda diys.

  4. says

    This worked wonderfully on our carpet. We have kids, cats, and a dog, so there are lots of spots to clean. This took care of them all, without awful chemicals, or $$$$$$ spent. Thank you!

  5. Megan says

    I spilled a 24oz iced coffee all over my carpet on my way out the door this morning, was in a rush and blotted up as much as I could. Came back tonight to the awful stale coffee stench, after forgetting about the stain all day, google and this recipe saved the day!

  6. says

    I spilled a 24oz iced coffee all over my carpet on my way out the door this morning, was in a rush and blotted up as much as I could. Came back tonight to the awful stale coffee stench, after forgetting about the stain all day, this recipe saved the day!

  7. Ronald Stafford says

    It works, I was skeptical, but had a dog go crazy and eat somethings that didn’t agree with him and this mixture worked, I did the eyeball measurements and no problem

  8. says

    I love this recipe! I used it for my pet stains and a few old grease stains I had not been able to get rid of before. This works better than commercial products, and it is so convenient. Thank you for sharing.

    • Megan says

      Hooray! So glad it worked for you! I just used it to rescue a pair of my husband’s khaki shorts that he’d almost ruined with black grease from the garage. Then we used it to help make sure we didn’t have any odors on a mattress when my little one had an accident this week. Such a great recipe!

  9. Nicole says

    Hi there! I have a 2-year-old little girl who vomited all over the carpet last night, which happens to be a light color. I used 409 carpet cleaner on it, almost a whole can, and scrubbed on it for a long time. I noticed this morning that it didn’t work very well and there was still a lingering, noticeable smell… Yuck. My mom suggested your stain remover so I am trying it right now and am keeping my fingers crossed that it works! We are renting this house and would love to get our deposit back when we move out in 2 weeks… Kids sure are hard on carpet, aren’t they?

    • Megan says

      So sorry your little one is sick–that’s the worst! It’s cleaned up several of those type of messes here, and took care of the odor. Hope it works for you too!!

  10. robin says

    Just tried this — worked like a charm on a (years old) stubborn carpet stain. Made a paste out of all three ingredients. Let it sit for about ten minutes. Scrubbed it a little. Then ran my shampooer over it a few times. No more spot! I can hardly believe it!

    • Megan says

      So glad it worked for you! I was just noticing that my living room carpet is due for another treatment–4 kids are doing a number on my light tan carpet, but at least I have this trick up my sleeve! :)

  11. Lauren says

    Ok, my mind is BLOWN! I’m glad I don’t know how to post pictures to this because mine are quite embarrassing lol. My mom moved to fl two years ago and me, my husband and our two kids moved in. We have a hound dog and a cat and we almost never take our shoes off (the only carpet in the house is two area rugs in the living room and playroom.) Needless to say, my area rug in the living room which was (with the exception of a dime sized ink stain) a pretty light tan when we moved in, its now almost black in front of my loveseat and a weird grey color everywhere else with little darker spots throughout. Only place that looks just like when we moved in is under the coffee table. I thought we were going to just have to throw the whole thing out. Tried this on the worst of it two nights ago and although it took me over an hour to do about a three foot area, it looks BRAND NEW! Did some more last night and am just baffled by the results. It even got up the 10+ year old ink stain! Now I’m just curious if this solution would work in a shampooer, I’m not familiar with them at all but this is an 8X10 area rug and every inch needs cleaning and its taking forever just doing it with a rag lol. Will definitely never buy carpet cleaner again though, I am so, so impressed! Thank you so much!

    • Megan says

      That’s so exciting! So happy it worked for you!! I’ve used it before as a pre-treater when we’ve borrowed my in-laws’ carpet shampooer…I spot treated the worst areas with it, then just ran the carpet cleaner over them. But I’m thinking you could probably mix it up and dilute it into the wash water just like you do the carpet cleaning solution. Not sure what the proportions would be, because you wouldn’t want it to get too sudsy with the Dawn. Planning to do a little testing next time we borrow their carpet cleaner (which NEEDS to be soon–lol!) Be sure to spot test for color fastness before doing a whole big rug, but I’m so glad it worked for you. If you find a ratio that works in the carpet cleaner before I do, let us know!!

  12. Sheryl R says

    Funny thing about this mixture is that it is what is recommended for washing a dog after being sprayed by a skunk! Our dog was sprayed this summer and we used this same mixture to get the skunky smell off and it worked beautifully! This seems to be a miracle mixture! I’m planning to try this in some set-in grease stains on a shirt of mine. It may mot work, but it’s worth a shot!

  13. Tammy Fannon says

    I just mixed some of this up, put in a spray bottle and spot cleaned areas of my carpet. I just sprayed a mist on the floor, waited about 5 minutes got a scrub brush and scrubbed it up. I have let it dry and vacuumed it back up again and WOW. It took all the light surface stains from the top of the carpet. I am letting a heavy stain sit now to see how well this works on a ground in dirt stain.
    But I will be using this often.

    • Megan says

      So glad it worked for you! Can’t tell you how thankful I am for this simple, effective recipe–apparently we’re total slobs around here, but we use this All THE TIME, and it works great. Hope it works well on your big stain too!

  14. Monique Philips says

    WOW! My puppy got “sick” and what a horrid stain…tried the peroxide and dawn (and baking soda) and it WORKED!!!! The stain was GONE!!!!!!! Thanks!!!!!

  15. Michele Worden says

    Do you have a recipe for homemade laundry detergent? I love reading your articles – they are great!!

    • Megan says

      I have used these ingredients in my carpet shampooer–you’ll want to go pretty light on the Dawn though, unless you want to be rinsing suds out of your carpet forever :) Less than a tablespoon of Dawn, maybe a tablespoon or two of baking soda, and a little peroxide (like 1/4-1/2 cup?) then fill the rest of the tank with water. Check for colorfastness on your carpet, since peroxide is one of the ingredients and it can be a bleaching agent!

    • Megan says

      I’ve used it on lots of different colors, including dark, but all fabrics are different. Just to be the very safest possible, I’d test it in a hidden area just to make sure your fabric is colorfast. I personally haven’t had any trouble with it, but can’t make any guarantees on all fabrics :)

  16. Linda says

    I just found a couple of places in our guest room where my dog had apparently upchucked a pomegranate! We have a tree just over the fence and I guess one fell into the back yard. I thought all bets were off – horrible red stains – but thought I’d give this a try. Voila! The red stain came right up. “Now I’m a believer!”

  17. Cory says

    I use this all of the time, I’ve used it to get dog / cat mess out of a lether couch, I’ve treated my wood flores after a cat pmessed on them, and it had turned black after we were on a small trip, and endless other things. Just the other day my wife asked me to make a large batch, and clean all the stained londry. I found it easyer to mix it in a 5 gal bucket, and go from there. I used 1/8 cup baking soda, and two bottles of h2o2 with three drops of dish sope. Ajax was the brand I had on hand, it was free, so I didn’t say no. I had to make the mix three times to treat it all, and just transferred it to a 20 gal bucket as I did it. I then rince them in the bath tub and transfer them back to the bucket to keep the mess down before taking them to the wash, so that I don’t make a mess in the house. It works outstanding. Just another thought, it gets the scume off blinds, and can get automotive grease out of a jump sute. I’m going to try it on an oial stane on a concreat flore today.

  18. says

    Thanks for these clever ideas! I just moved in my new place and realized I forgot to call to the cleaning company. Well, the situation is not so bad, but the carpet’s not in it’s best condition and I have to clean it immediately. Thanks for the recipes!

  19. Joe says

    That is not how you are supposed to do it you are supposed lay a heavy layer on the stain then gentley rub it in. THEN you use plastic rap and cover the stain over night. Remove the rap in the moring and let it dry then vacuum up the powder.

  20. says

    I’ve been on this site before for cleaning tips. Dawn is a household member around here (30 some years) and can’t imagine life without it. Vinegar, ammonia, baking soda and rubbing alcohol are the only other things I use for household cleaning. But peroxide isn’t something I’m very familiar with. So tomorrow, Hyd. perox. is the first thing I’m buying when I go to Kroger. I’m 60 years old and don’t have kids at home anymore (except my 10 year old grandson on weekends) so there aren’t too many stains I have to contend with on a daily basis these days. I’ve read many comments from young families and the perils of everyday life and my heart goes out to them. I wish I’d had all these wonderful cleaning tips back in the day when the kids, the dogs and the cats were a constant stream in and out of that slamming door. I think I’ll pour a little wine on the bedroom carpet tomorrow and use your solution to clean it! I really enjoy your site.

  21. ashlee c says

    Thank you so much! !! My carpets were so dirty and stiff and with a baby under a year I don’t want to use harsh chemicals so I used this and a rag. It took some time but my carpet is sooo much cleaner and softer. Amazing! !

  22. Gail ab says

    Hi, I used the peroxide, baking soda and Dawn formula for carpet stains. Took the stain out and the color too!!
    Any suggestions ?.

    • Megan says

      Yikes! So sorry to hear that–this is why we always suggest testing the colorfastness of your carpet or other fabric in an inconspicuous spot before treating out in the middle. Peroxide is a mild bleaching agent, so there’s always that chance.

  23. Alysha says

    I also used the dish soap (Clorox lemon dish soap in my case), peroxide, and baking soda. My daughters are five and four. Both went to bed straight from sleeping in the car. 3am rolled around and we has pee messes on our hands. I used this mixture. It was actually the only one I could find that would get the smell out of the memory foam. It’s a mattress you can’t remove the cover and I’m sure my apt complex would not want to see two mattresses sitting outside. It cleared up all the stains (even the old ones) and the pee smell was amazingly gone. I just left the beds treated went to work and vacuumed them around nine hours later. Best stuff ever… oh and I bought everything including spray bottles at the Dollar Tree (for anyone in the USA).

  24. Jennifer Eckert says

    Amazing! A mechanic got oil/grease all over our beige floor mats. It had been on there for quite a while. We were going to toss it and buy a new one. I tried this solution on it and it is now spotless. Unbelievable! wish I could post before and after pics.

  25. stacey says

    This does work very well, even on old stains. You need to use gloves because of the reaction of the baking soda and peroxide. My finger tips started burning and they turned white. I did my carpet in shorts and anywhere the soaked rag touched my legs it started to burn a little. i can’t imagine what it’s doing to my carpeting but I plan on getting new carpeting anyway, This is just a quick fix. It does work and thank you for the tip. I just hope my carpeting doesn’t fall apart. It’s almost like using straight bleach but not as bad regarding the burning.

  26. gwen says

    Second time to try this. It really, really, works. my fav light and white tops i thought were ruined, came out perfect. and unmentiables came perfectly clean. I do a lot of line drying and you dont want your stains flopping in the wind.or as they say, airing diry laundry even though it is clean.stuff you are ready to toss. now i dont have to. if they are still stained this time, they go out. if this doesnt work, they are not worth keeping.


  1. […] long. I googled it and what I read was Dawn, baking soda, peroxide but nothing about vinegar! Homemade Super Stain Remover & Deodorizer: Fights tough Red Wine, Grease, Yellow Armpit Stains, … Reply With […]

  2. […] This mixture by Sister Shopping on a Shoestring is a pro at  removing tough stains such as grape juice. Mix ¾ cup hydrogen peroxide, a few teaspoons of baking soda, and a little squirt of translucent dish detergent such as dawn. Apply to cleaning cloth and scrub stains away. To prolong the life of your rug or carpet, never spray cleaners directly onto this surface. […]

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