Best Stain Remover Ever

You’d never know that a toddler ate played with blueberries in this shirt.


When our white t-shirts start to look a little grungy by midsummer, it’s time to freshen them up.  For stains that don’t go away after trying other stain removers, here is what works for practically anything:

  1. Heat up some water in a big pot on the stove. Make it hot, but not boiling.
  2. Add 2 scoops of an oxygen base cleaner and a small squirt of liquid dish detergent.
  3. Put the clothes in the pot and cover it with the lid.
  4. Turn off the heat and soak for 4-6 hours, or more if needed.
  5. Wash clothes as usual in the washing machine.

Tip!  The generic brand of oxygen cleaner at the dollar store works just as well as Oxi Clean.  It’s the same thing.

I like that it doesn’t fade colors (but it wouldn’t hurt to test a small spot first, just to make sure).  It can remove the yellow storage stains from vintage linens.  It can even help to lighten perspiration stains.  I’m not kidding, I tried it.

What’s your go-to stain remover?

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I love your blog! I came here from simple mom. :)

    Have you found that any of your clothes have shrunk since the water is hot?? With 2 young boys I’ll definitely be trying this trick :)

  2. Ooh, I really needed this! I have no idea how my kids get their clothes so dirty…

  3. Carrie, I didn’t notice any of the clothes shrink, because usually by this time the clothes have been washed several times already. I was concerned about that too.

  4. I came yesterday from SimpleMom as well…and last night I read your entire blog start to finish! My only disappointment is that you only started recently.

    I love this stain idea and will try it. My daughter’s 3.5 and some of her favorite shirts are no longer the color they began. I’ll have to do this this weekend!

  5. I’m glad to have so many new readers from Simple Mom! Welcome.

  6. Good morning Rachel! My favorite is Kids ‘N’ Pets. It’s in the cleaner aisle in Wal-Mart. It is cheap and it works wonders on stains that should be treated with cold water (blood, urine, vomit). The only thing we have noticed it fading was black cotton. But do test it in a hidden area before using on your furniture or rugs.

  7. Thanks for this recipe! I will have to give it a try…

    I will do a post soon about one of my favorite “homemade” cleaners…not for clothes but for carpets.

  8. I can’t wait to try this! I always have mystery stains leftover after I wash clothes. I am hoping this will work on those, too. Thanks!

  9. thank you so much for the tip! I’m going to give it a little try later tonight, a lot of our kids whites aren’t so sparkly lately

  10. I just love the little picture you drew… too cute!

    If you ever need to remove ink – train pre treating with rubbing alcohol – works awesome.

  11. Hey there! I found your blog on Simple Mom! Great post! I love your blog!!

    This tip is AWESOME and I can’t wait to give it a try! Thank you for sharing! I LOVE your little picture…that is so stinkin’ cute, helpful too!! :)

  12. This is an awesome tip – thank you!

  13. I do love those powdered oxygen cleaners–they do some wonderful things for old baby clothes (since I do quite a bit of thrift store shopping), and this method sounds great!
    My two personal favorite stain removers, though, are the Spray and Wash stick (it honest to goodness takes out things that the liquid won’t) and the sun (which is amazing at fading stains on white clothes–and it’s free!).
    I’m really enjoying your blog, especially your month of no spending. I’ve done that off and on and it’s so pleasant to be able to say no to a trip to Target when I know I’ll wind up buying a few things in addition to the box of diapers I sort of need but husband can pick up on his way home.
    I’d be super interested in participating in a group ‘no spend month’ if you’ve thought of hosting one. It would be another great way to drive traffic to our fabulous blogs :)

  14. Love it! I think my hubby would like a No-Spend year! Lol.

  15. I saw your guest post on Simple Mom and was intrigued to check out your blog. I love your No-Spend idea, we may have to try that next month. It would definetely be a real challenge for us.

    And THANK YOU for this stain remover recipe/tip. I’ve been trying to get stains out of my 20 month olds clothes for a long time, I’ve used so many stain removers and it pretty much only fades the stain, never completely removes the stain. So Thank You.

  16. Oh, YES, I found you through Simple Mom. But who knows how on earth I got to her?! LOL.

  17. What a great tip!! I am a fan of the shout stick as well. Love your blog. It is exactly what I have been looking for. Good luck with your no spend month!

  18. haha! my daughter has the exact same shirt–and it’s been attacked by the “berry monster” as well!! that is so very funny–thanks for the tip!

  19. I just found your blog and totally relate! I am a new mom as well (I have one two year old) and struggle with being “good enough” instead of perfect. That is something I am always praying about/ working on. It’s a hard one for me to learn.

    I have recently decided to stay home full time so my husband and I are looking for ways to save and try and tackle some debt. It’s good to see others with similar goals!

    I’ll be adding you to my blog roll and checking back. Beautiful site :)

  20. Hello!
    Just wanted to say *hello* and that I’m really loving your blog! I can’t remember exactly how I found it–all that crazy blog-hopping I do, I’m sure:)
    Thanks for the great tip on stain removal!

  21. Another cleaner you should check out is “Folex” It has been around for years and works on anything (blood, oil, tar, red wine, anything a dog, baby, adult can produce. It is advertised as a carpet cleaner but it can be used on clothing or uphostelry. You can get it at Walmart or Home Depot. It typically runs about $4 for a 32oz. bottle.

  22. Red wine and white carpet: blot up the wine as best you can, then apply salt very liberally to the area. Then pour water on the stain and salt, wait a few minutes, then blot up. Only takes a few times before the stain is gone!

  23. Homemade *Shout* recipe:
    SprayBottle (old shout or spray&wash)
    1Cup of Wisk Detergent
    1Cup of Vinegar
    1Cup of Ammonia (low suds)
    1Cup of Water

    shake gently before spraying or use a 1/4 Cup in a soaking pan. this stuff works!

    *do not mix with bleach!

  24. I would die if I didn’t have any Oxiclean on hand! :) well, maybe not death but I would be pretty desperate! I can’t imagine how many outfits I would give away because they had stains and having to buy new clothes for the next babe.
    I’m pretty laid back until it comes to looking atleast halfway decent, it drives me crazy to see my 15mo old daughter in mismatched dirty/stained clothes! (unless there is a purpose – such as photos with a giant sticky lollipop in a beautiful white dress! and yes! oxiclean got it ALL out! amazing!!!)

    LOVE your blog! I’m planning a no-spend month! Keep up the great writing!

  25. Hello,

    Found you site looking for a homemade carpet spot cleaner…does anyone have a recipe from products in the kitchen?

  26. smallnotebook says:

    Hey Nicole, once I had a carpet cleaner over at my house, and he suggested simply using really hot water to get out carpet stains. Sometimes I’ll heat up water on the stove and use that with a rag if I don’t use a product.

  27. Genius.

    Sarah@Life in the Parsonage´s last blog post..Oh I Dare…

  28. Rug cleaner home made
    rub spot with mens shaving cream and after that rub in orange cleaner the one men use when they are done fixing cars to get the greese off there hands then brush stain away!

  29. I use a similar but safer technique for delicates.

    In the sink, get the garment all wet, but let the water out.
    Sprinkle the Oxy cleaner liberally over the stain. Leave for a few hours, and wash as normal.
    If it’s a greasy stain you can pretreat with dish soap. And then, depending on the colour of the garment, use a half a can of cola or gingerale/lemon-lime/tonic water. The cola really seems to work, but I can’t bring myself to put it on whites. The gingerale seems to work just fine for light-colored items.

  30. Rachael Jere says:


    Cannot remember how or when I found your blog. But one thing I do know – it is a balm. The necessary injection of simplicity in a life at times crowded with the unecessary. Countless times I have clicked onto smallnotebook, wondering what nugget would lay in store, and each time I come away smiling. Stay simple, stay blessed.


  31. Quick question – do you keep the heat on the pot for the 4-6 hours? Thanks. :)

    bean´s last blog post..canadian swim cap

    • I turn the heat off and then let the clothes soak. I use a big, heavy stainless steel pot that keeps the water warm. Sometimes I let the clothes soak overnight, and it’s ok if the water doesn’t stay hot.

  32. I stumbled upon your site searching for a way to get yellow “storage stains” out of several white Strausburg dresses. I’m wondering: since I have quite a few to clean, and no way do I have a big enough pan, what if I used my washing machine as the pot, and poured the water heated on the stove into it?

    Thanks! Now I’m off to read about this no-spending month…

    • Hi Emily, I’m sure that would work fine. Some people may even have water from the tap that is hot enough as it is.

  33. Just to let you know…..this works great but will remove iron on numbers/names from uniforms. I learned the hard way. Also certain detergents will react to the intense heat and change the color of the garment.

  34. That is a great result, especially with blueberry stains which are a bear to get out. I also recommend using liquid hydrogen peroxide, which is basically what oxyclean is in powdered form. I love that (generally) hydrogen peroxide is safe for colors, because who just stains white stuff that you can bleach?

    Taylor at´s last post…Removing Lime Stains – Lime Stain Removal Tips

  35. I don’t have any Oxy Clean (or anything of the like) but I did see someone mention that liquid hydrogen peroxide would work. How much liquid would be comparable to the powder?


    • I’m not sure, I haven’t tried that personally.

    • I wouldn’t do that. Peroxide bleaches hair, colored clothes, anything. If you can’t find the Oxy-type powders in your grocery, order it online.

  36. Sounds awesome! What about bleeding though… i.e. any bleeding during this process or how to treat “bleeds”?

  37. Jacobsmom says:

    So I tried this and it works great! Made my son’s onesies whiter than ever.. and those stained dish towels are now new again.
    Only downfall is that I used my calphalon pot to soak and it left a white residue all over the inside. Total bummer since it wouldn’t scrub off. Now I do the soaking in a bucket and cover the top with a folded towel to lock the steam.

    • Oh no, I hope the residue came off eventually! I tried it in a teflon pot and a stainless steel pot and didn’t experience that result.

  38. I am a new reader and have so enjoyed what I have read so far. For blood stains, use human spit and it takes out the blood. It works great.

  39. I am not an adult, I am a teenager, but I have an old hand-me-down Abercrombie sweater, and it has a bunch of old brown stains all over it, and I was wondering if I use this solution, will it leave like bleach marks or anything where it removed the stains?

  40. Ananya Shrivastav says:

    well my little girl got chocolate milk all over this white dress of hers and it stained real bad.the problem is it has red stars and a red and blue heart on it (fourth of july dress) what could i use to get the stain out? or is the dress doomed lol thanks guys!!

  41. i just tried your method to remove some Mio from a blouse and skirt. I thought my blouse was ruined due to the concentrated red dye in the Mio water enhancer. I sprayed Oxi-Clean on it and left it overnight to find that it only lightened it a bit. I found your website and tried the method explained above and it removed all of the stains from my blouse! I am so excited! Thank you so much for sharing

  42. The best stain remover I have tried is gall soap. You have to rub it in a little with water then let it sit for about 30 minutes. It gets rid of odors too( white vinegar is great for that as well).

  43. For the lady who thinks the Caphalon pot is ruined…..MAYBE this will work. It’s worked on everything EXCEPT teflon pans for me. At WalMart and some homes stores, like Home Depot, get Bar Keeper’s Friend. In a canister like Comet powder…but way way better! You burn something in your stainless cookware…this will make it like new! Aluminum too. Also remove tea/coffee stains from ceramic cups too. Just make a paste with a smal amount of it and use either a paper towel (like on the mugs) on one of those PLASTIC pot scrubbers Ilike from the dollar stores. I’ve even rescued stainless pots from the thrift stores that were “hard” burned and made them like new.Good luck.