Pit Stain Remover That Actually Works!

 Pit Stain Remover That Actually Works!  Amazing natural stain remover with only 3 common ingredients.  {thegreeningofwestford.com}

If you own any white shirt you know those awful disgusting yellow armpit stains that develop over time.  Especially on T-shirts. 
Well, we have some of those shirts in our house.  Eventually, they get too disgusting and must be used for something else.  I had just accepted that this was part of the life cycle of a white T-shirt.  Until now….
I saw a post in Glamour magazine for “The Only Spot Remover You’ll Ever Need” so I decided give it a go.  The original post calls for 1 part Dawn dish washing liquid and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide.  I altered it slightly as this original recipe didn’t seem to work as well as claimed.  Based on another bloggers experience, I added baking soda to the mix.
1 part Dawn Dishwashing liquid
2 parts hydrogen peroxide
½ part baking soda
  1.  Mix everything together.  I wasn’t too scientific on the quantities, I eyeballed it. 
  2.  Using a brush (an old toothbrush works great) brush the mixture on the stains.
  3. Then let it sit.  I had intended on checking every half hour or so to figure out how long it took, but I got busy and forgot!  Somewhere between 1 and 3 hours does the trick. Probably depends on the stain.

Note:  You should mix this recipe fresh each time you use it.  Hydrogen Peroxide looses some of it’s power when exposed to light.  Guess you could trying storing it in an opaque container…

OMG!  It works.  Why am I not surprised that baking soda boosted the cleaning power!  This stuff is awesome.
before and after eco-friendly stain remover
These pictures do NOT do it justice.  Please take my word for it!
I also tried some other random stains.  It worked!  Ring around the collar – gone!  I have only tried white shirts so far, but based on both sources above it should work on colored fabrics as well.
For the first test, I specifically bought Dawn.  I couldn’t find just plain old Dawn rated in Good Guide so I don’t know what the health score is.  But I was happy to see that some of the other Dawn products had a score of 8 out of a possible 10.
Still I would rather use something a little more natural.  I had some Kirkland Environmentally Friendly Dish Soap that I am trying out.  Honestly, I have no real clue as to how environmentally friendly this really is.  The claims on the bottle seem nice, but may not mean anything.  I’m still researching how “green” it is.  But for now, I just wanted to see if you REALLY needed Dawn.  The results:  I don’t think so.  It seemed to work just as well with my Kirkland dish soap.
So, armed with dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and a toothbrush you can rid some of those stubborn stains.  I’d be really interested to see how this works on baby spit up!
You can do so much with simple household ingredients.  You really don’t need all those fancy cleaners.  TO find out how to use my old friend’s baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and a few others to clean the rest of your house, take a look here.

Update 4/23/12:  Many people have tried this and commented on how well it has worked.  Here are a few examples:
  • cooking oil from a cotton, lavender sweatshirt
  • chocolate milk from a cream colored, cotton, blouse
  • some pretty nasty ring around the collar from a yellow, cotton t-shirt.
  • white carpet freshly stained with V8 strawberry/banana juice

What are your favorite stain removers?

This post is part of Frugal Ways Sustainable DaysYour Green Resource, Healthy 2Day Wednesday.

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49 Responses to Pit Stain Remover That Actually Works!

  1. groovygreenlivin.com February 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    LOVE the title of this post! You are so funny! I have to admit that some of the natural cleaners don’t get stains out very well. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Michelle February 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    Good tip. I’ll have to try it, but will try using Dr. Bronner’s instead of the Dawn. Dr. Bronner’s is wonderful, and it’s organic and fair trade too.

    Peace. 😉

  3. Small Footprints February 13, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    Wow … what a great tip! I love natural laundry detergents but have to say that they don’t always get the stains out. I’m trying this. I hope you’ll post with an update on how other dish liquids work … I have some tropical traditions that I might give a try.

    By the way … don’t know if you’ve been by yet but … you are this week’s featured blog at Reduce Footprints’ Meet & Greet. WhooHoo! 🙂

    • The Greening Of Westford February 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      Yeah! Yes I just saw that I’m featured this morning. Thanks!!!!
      Let me know if you try this stain remover and how it works. I need to update the post to say that you need to mix it up fresh – hydrogen peroxide tends to loose it’s power when exposed to light.

  4. The Greening Of Westford February 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    I thought that title would grab some attention 😉 I don’t like that the more natural cleaners don’t seem to do a great job always. I wonder what my grandma used. Let me know if you try this out and how it works for you.

  5. The Greening Of Westford February 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    Michelle – I didn’t even hink to use my Dr. Bronner’s! Let me know if you try it.

  6. Good Girl Gone Green February 16, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    The title is catchy! Instead of dawn, do you think any type of soap would work in its place? My daughter drinks a shake every morning for breakfast and she gets it all over her clothing. I need to get those stains out! 🙂 🙂

  7. The Greening Of Westford February 16, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Hi Good Girl – I would try whatever you have on hand at first, as far as detergent goes. I had luck with the other detergent I used. Let me know if you have any luck.

  8. Jacqueline February 17, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    I am going to use this on my husband’s shirts! I wonder though what would work on silk. I was a bit shocked after using a regular deodorant (not anti-perpirant) that I had yellow stains on my new silk blouse and really don’t want to take it to the cleaners. Any ideas?
    I have so many recipes on The Organic Blonde but this one escapes me!

  9. The Greening Of Westford February 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Silk is a tough one. I have only tried this recipe on cotton. I’ll keep my eye out for one that works for silk.

  10. Amanda March 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    This is great! Does it also get white deoderant stains out of dark shirts?

  11. The Greening Of Westford March 29, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    Hi Amanda,
    I haven’t tried it on deodorant stains. I have heard that you can remove deodorant stains using pantyhose, you “scrub” it off. Never tried it though. Let me know if it works!

  12. Gloria April 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    Hi all,

    Over the weekend I gathered up a few previously washed and dried, yet still stained garments. This worked great! It did not work on a white, ribbed, synthetic shirt stained with chocolate milk. (At least, I think it was chocolate milk!) The stain remover took out cooking oil from a cotton, lavender sweatshirt, chocolate milk from a cream colored, cotton, blouse and some pretty nasty ring around the collar from a yellow, cotton t-shirt. Quite impressive!

  13. The Greening Of Westford April 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    Thank you sooo much for posting this update Gloria! Great to know that it works on other stains and won’t harm colored fabric.
    I have since used it on ring around the collar with great results too.

  14. Natural Mothers Network April 13, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    Fantastic tip and one I can try immediately with several items otherwise destined for the oil cloth bin! Thank you for sharing this on Seasonal Celebration. Enjoy a wonderful weekend! Rebecca @ Natural Mothers Network x

    • The Greening Of Westford April 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

      Thanks. This is proving to be quite the stain buster as you can see from Gloria’s comment. I have a stack of things to try too. Sorry I didn’t try this last summer before I decided that most of my white T-shirts could only be used as rags.

  15. Joyful May 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Do you think the dish soap is necessary at all? I know peroxide and baking soda will whiten teeth – so maybe it’s enough for clothes, too??

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) May 29, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

      Good point Joyful. It would be interesting to find out. I did recently try substituting castille soap for the dawn and it didn’t work as well.

  16. Rachel July 26, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    Since the peroxide can’t be exposed to light.. keep an old peroxide bottle! I normally have like 6 bottles floating around between bathrooms and first aid kits.

  17. Sarah Simpson August 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    WOW. Absolutely worked!! Amazing!!

  18. KPage August 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Great on ranch dressing spill on carpet.

  19. Krystina September 12, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    Love it!! Love it!! LOVE IT!!

    I had a pair of jeans sitting in my closet from two years ago that had who knows what stains on them from working at a Christmas Tree Lot carrying trees. The stains I felt were impossible and too much to handle. I figured I’d some day turn the jeans into something special but never got around to it.

    Found this through Pinterest and thought I’d give it but originally not for the pair of jeans. After making up the mixture I decided to give it a try on the jeans, which I had happened to come across in the closet again one day.

    I’m a believer and plan to use it again on the jeans to get the remaining stains out.

  20. Kimberly Koscinski September 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    Unfortunately this did not work on dog food vomit on my carpet. I think the stain has to be fresh and a certain type of stain.

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) September 21, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

      That’s too bad Kimberly. Dog’s do some damage! Don’t give up. I have successfully used this stain remover on other old (non dog-related) stains.

  21. Rebecca Cares September 30, 2012 at 4:30 am #

    Yes, it will be good to know if someone tries this with soaps other than Dawn. I don’t know what’s in Dawn but that blue color makes me suspicious.

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) October 7, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

      Yes me too! Dawn definitely has something special in it that cuts grease and cleans really well. Depending on the stain, I think other dish soaps would be fine. I did try it with Kirkland (Costco) dish soap and it worked just as well. Castille soap did not work.

  22. Jodi October 6, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    Question – do I need to rinse these before I throw them in my washing machine?

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) October 7, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

      Good question Jodi. I might have the first few times because I wanted to make sure the stain was gone before I washed the item. But I know other times I just threw them into the washer.

  23. Romina October 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    This is totally what I need. I’m going out to get Dawn today!

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) November 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

      It is amazing! I’ve tried it with other dish soap too and it still seems to work really well. I think Dawn is a great grease cutter, so if the stain is greasy – you might want the Dawn specifically. Let me know how it goes.

  24. Yes Girl November 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    I added a little bit of bleach to the mixture. We’ll see what happens. I had a few stubborn stains on there.

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) November 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      I’d caution about using bleach. It’s really not good for you or the environment – although I totally understand there are times when it is necessary. Try without the bleach first. I was amazed at how well it worked! The hydrogen peroxide and baking soda combination make a oxygen bleach -safer but still effective.

  25. shannon Ashcraft November 9, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    Sooooo, I was wondering….. Do you think this might work on carpet stains????

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) November 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

      Hi Shannon. I’ve never tried it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t. Just make sure to test a small spot. Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda create a bleach-like mixture that couldn’t change the color.

  26. Kath November 24, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    I wouldn’t mix bleach with H2O2 or baking soda.

  27. ensey7 January 15, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    All I have to say is white slipcover down cushion couches ;o)
    I use this with my homemade laundry detergent and wow I am so pleased!! It got out old pizza sauce stains that have been washed & dried a number of times with no results. Ink, pencil, icepop juice. The only thing it didn’t get out was one pinpoint spot of permanent black marker.

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) January 15, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

      Thank you for adding your experience. I have had great results with this as well. My only caution is with carpeting. I used it on my carpet on some stains that had been there for a long time, no idea what they were. It worked a little too well – I have slight bleach stains on the carpet now 😉 Good thing the carpet is a light beige to begin with. Oops! Should have spot checked but anything would have been an improvement for this carpet. I also forgot about it and probably left it on way too long. Not sure why the results were different on carpeting. Could just have been because I couldn’t thoroughly rinse it out. Anyway, be careful with carpeting.

      • Formetoknow November 9, 2013 at 12:11 am #

        You know it could just be that those spots are very clean now and the rest of the carpet isn’t. So it looks like they’re bleached but it’s really just the cleanest spot on your carpet. I had that happen when I spot cleaned the carpet with my mother’s carpet cleaner and I was stumped at first until I realized I needed to clean the whole thing. Once I did that the spots I’d cleaned before were the same as the rest of the floor. They’d stood out before because they were clean and I thought the cleaner I was using had somehow bleached them. So perhaps that’s all that’s really wrong. Our carpets collect all the dirt that comes through and they change a shade over time that we don’t even notice. Just a thought, I don’t know…. 😉

        • Kristina November 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

          You may be right! They have no blended and are the cleanest spots of my carpet! I’ll have to try to clean the rest of the carpet with this mixture as well.

  28. onebusymomma March 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    I can’t believe how well this worked on my baby clothes that had been stored for 4 years and had yellowed spit up stains on them! Most of them look brand new and a few (the really yellowed ones) you could hardly tell! Thank you so much!

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) March 7, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

      So happy to hear that onebusymom!!!! I have been wondering how this works on baby spit up. We are past that stage, but boy do I wish I knew about this then. Could have saved up a bundle!!!!! Thank you so much for adding your experience.

  29. Robin May 17, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    I guess this wouldn’t work on a sofa stain, I’ve had some grease stains I’ve wanted to get rid of forever.

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) May 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

      Try it Robin! Others have had good luck on other items besides clothing. Just be careful and test a spot first. I tried it on my carpet and as you can read a few comments up, it bleached it slightly. But again, I may have left it on too long or not rinsed completely. It’s not horrible though, since the carpet was light beige to begin with. And now, the some dirt has probably darkened up the bleach spots so it looks fine!

  30. Jamie December 10, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    I tried this on unsealed slate tile ( it was in the process of being laid and sealed) after my kitty, who was angry about the impending birth of my son, tinkled ALL OVER the tile! First I tried just scabbing with dawn and hot water to disinfect and get the smell out, but kitty pee smell is tricky to get out of ANYTHING, especially porous rock! Anyways, this worked fantastically and not only that, but he hated the smell of it, (i am guessing the hydrogen peroxide smell) and he never marked there again. I am amazed! And happy!


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