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Do home remedy stain removers actually work?

We tested baking soda, lemon juice, washing-up liquid, white vinegar, salt and meat tenderiser powder on a variety of stains to find out the truth

Do home remedy stain removers actually work?

Whether it’s advice passed down from generations or tips discovered on social media, a number of home remedies are rumoured to be excellent stain removers. 

These include baking soda, lemon juice, washing-up liquid, white vinegar, salt and meat tenderiser powder.

All are low cost and most can easily be found in your cupboards, but how do they handle a variety of stains?

Watch our video below to find out:

Stain remover home remedies tested

Home remedy stain removers

As well as testing nine branded stain removers from Dr Beckmann, Astonish, HG, Shout and more, we tried out six stain remover home remedies.

Of course, not all home remedies work on every type of stain. Here is a breakdown of the home remedies we tested and what we tested them on.

Home remedy What we tested it on
Baking soda All stains: red wine, curry, chocolate, tomato ketchup and blood
Lemon juice All stains: red wine, curry, chocolate, tomato ketchup and blood
Washing-up liquid All stains: red wine, curry, chocolate, tomato ketchup and blood
White vinegar Blood and curry stains
Salt Red wine, blood and curry stains
Meat tenderiser powder Bloodstains only

To see the full results of all the products and home remedies we tested, check out the best fabric stain removers guide. 


How to clean stains with washing-up liquid

How to clean stains with washing up liquid

Easily the best home remedy we found. This method cleaned up everything, quickly and easily. The only downside was the amount of elbow grease you needed.

Preparation and usage Squirt a small amount of washing-up liquid onto the stain and leave for about 20 seconds.

Then with a cloth, hot water and plenty of muscle, work the liquid into the fabric. You might need to wash the fabric in the washing machine as well, but you should find it’s as good as new afterwards.


Washing-up liquid reviews: find out if Fairy or supermarket own-brand liquids come top in our tests


How to clean stains with baking soda

How to clean stains with baking soda

On tougher stains, you may need to clean the stain more than once with baking soda, but you should see a stark difference even after the first application.

Preparation and usage Make a thick paste with baking soda and a little water and apply to the stain.

Leave it to work for a bit and then use plenty of elbow grease.

How to clean stains with lemon juice

How to clean stains with lemon juice

Lemon juice can bleach, which is why it’s an effective stain remover.

But it’s best to only use this method on white fabric you can wash in the washing machine.

Preparation and usage For this home remedy, you want to coat the stain with lemon juice and leave it for 30 minutes, before popping it into the washing machine.

How to clean stains with white vinegar

How to clean stains with white vinegar

Vinegar will make the stain fade away, but you will need to put the fabric in the washing machine to get rid of the eye-wateringly strong vinegar smell.

Preparation and usage Mix some vinegar with warm water and then apply to the stained fabric with a cloth.

How to clean stains with salt

How to clean stains with salt

Salt works as a stain remover, but avoid using it on delicate fabrics as the granules can pull on them and cause damage.

Preparation and usage Pour enough salt to completely cover the stain, and then leave it for 15 minutes. Wipe away with a damp cloth.

How to clean stains with meat tenderiser powder

meat tenderiser powder

 

In our tests, meat tenderiser powder was the most effective product at removing tough bloodstains.

It can be found in the world food aisle of any well-stocked large supermarket or in specialist Middle Eastern or South Asian supermarkets, usually for less than £2.

Preparation and usage Dampen the stain with water using a cloth or sponge. Apply the powder and leave for 30 minutes, then wipe away with a damp cloth.


Need help removing a stain from your sofa? Find out how to clean your sofa.


 

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