I hate stains. As you can probably imagine, having a baby and hating stains are two things that don't exactly mesh... until now! Friends, this DIY stain remover is MAGICAL. I think I've overcome my fear of my son wearing clothes. Yup, 99% of the time he's dressed in a diaper and nothing else almost exclusively because I'm afraid he's going to get stains on his clothes. And he has a LOT of clothes. Cute clothes. Clothes that deserve to be used and worn, regardless of the risk of stains.
When Finley outgrew his newborn clothes, I made sure they were in perfect condition before I put them in a sealed plastic container and stored them in a clean, cool, dark place. The other day, I took them out of storage to sort them and discovered that most of them had developed dingy yellow stains. I was horrified! I'd planned to save the clothes to use on future children, but who wants to dress their child in stained clothes? (First-world problem for sure!) I guess this "appearing yellow stain" phenomenon happens often, because I later found out that my sister-in-law had experienced the same thing. I'm not sure why it happens- I'm thinking it has something to do with milk residue that was still left on the clothes eventually turning yellow while the clothes sit in storage- but that's just a shot in the dark.
Anyway, I made this DIY stain remover and applied it to those yellow stains. I also applied it to mystery stains that I'd tried everything (including bleach) to remove. I applied it to fresh strawberry stains and I applied it to year-old "rusty" stains. The verdict? I don't think I'll ever buy a stain remover again. This stuff is THAT good! I can't say it removed every single stain I tried it on, but it did remove 90% of them and it removed things nothing else could even touch, so it's absolutely worth the effort it takes to make it and apply it. The stains in didn't remove were mostly stains that I'd washed and dried into the clothing time after time. It's definitely worth a shot to use this on older stains but I'm sure getting them while they're fresh works best!
2 parts Hydrogen Peroxide
1 part Dawn
1 part Baking Soda
(For example: 1 T hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 T Dawn, 1/2 T baking soda)
Mix ingredients together. TIP: I make only as much as I need at the moment because I've found that the mixture loses its potency when left in storage, even in a dark container. Apply mixture to the stain and rub it in using something like a toothbrush. I recommend letting the garment sit overnight (or even longer) before washing. I honestly think it works better if it sits for a few days! Then, launder as usual. Check to see if stain has been removed before drying. If it hasn't, re-apply the stain remover and repeat the process again. Dry in the sun for extra stain-removing magic!
Hydrogen peroxide has the potential to bleach dark fabrics, so beware! Apply in a hidden spot to test before applying in an obvious spot. You COULD try a dish detergent other than Dawn, but I'm going to be honest: like Tide, I think Dawn has something other detergents just haven't got. Petroleum-based detergents like Dawn just seem to be tougher, so a plant-based detergent (and most "natural" dish detergents probably are) likely wouldn't have the same power. I don't use Dawn for our dishes because it definitely doesn't resonate with me as being non-toxic, but I'm happy to use it for small jobs like stain removal especially if it works!
Before and After Photos
The "after" photos may look a little blue, but it's because my computer was reflecting onto them when I took the photos, not because the Dawn stained them! I promise. My mistake! I was MOST impressed by how well this DIY stain remover got rid of the very last stain. I still remember the day that stain appeared on EVERYTHING in a certain load of laundry I did. To this day I have no idea what it is, and nothing I've tried has removed it until now!
DISCLAIMER: You really shouldn't use dish soap in a washing machine, and here's why. Consider rinsing the stain solution away in a sink before washing in a washer.