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Life-Changing Stain Removal Hacks That Every Mom Should Know

Stains are just a part of life as a parent. Every mom has walked in to permanent marker all over the walls or their make up smeared into the floor or their entire coffee spilled all over the carpet. (or maybe all three at once!) Our kids mean well but they love to explore and those explorations often end up in massive messes. It happens to all of us! Luckily there are ways to get these stains out! I’ll walk you through the best carpet stain removal hacks, my favorite stain removal tricks, and how to remove tough stains from clothes too! I’ll also clue you in on some of my absolute favorite stain removal products! 

This post is all about stain removal hacks that will save your favorite clothing and carpets from just about anything! I’ve even create a FREE printable cheat sheet of all these stain removal hacks too! You can find it on my free printables page in the “cleaning checklists & guides” section.

stain removal hacks

This post contains affiliate links. 

Stain Removal Hacks

Permanent Marker | Stain Removal hacks

No matter how many baby locks or how high the cabinet, kids have a skill of finding a sharpie somewhere. Before you even have time to turn around, it’s on something. These hacks should hopefully make that permanent marker a whole lot less permanent. 

On walls

Apply a thick layer of ARM & HAMMER baking soda toothpaste to the marker stains. Let it sit for 10 minutes before scrubbing them with a toothbrush and then wiping off with a wet paper towel or cloth. 

In carpet

Put either an oil free hairspray or rubbing alcohol on the stain and then blot it with a clean rag. Be patient and DO NOT RUB. If you rub the cloth into the carpet you can spread the marker around. Take your time and repeat the process as many times as needed. 

Off leather

Permanent marker stains must be removed from leather as quickly as possible so that the ink does not soak into the material. Simply let a little bit of distilled white vinegar sit on the permanent marker stain for a few minutes before wiping the stain with a damp cloth in circular motions. 

Marble counter tops & wood surfaces

Nail polish remover is the best way to remove permanent marker from your countertops or wooden furniture. Pour the nail polish remover onto a rag or paper towel and wipe the whole area. You may have to repeat this process or let the nail polish remover sit on the stain if rubbing it with the cloth doesn’t work. 

If you are worried about the nail polish hurting wood, you can also try baking soda toothpaste in the same way I recommended for the walls. 

On clothes

Wipe the stain with an alcohol based hairspray. Dab it with a paper towel or cloth and let it sit for a few minutes before laundering it as normal. A cold cycle is best. 

On skin

Rubbing alcohol or makeup remover wipes can do the trick when there is permanent marker all over yours or your child’s skin. If your child has sensitive skin and you want to try a less hard method, sunscreen can sometimes do the trick too. 

Pen | Stain Removal hacks

On walls

When it comes to walls, I recommend trying the least aggressive cleaner first to make sure you don’t discolor or damage any paint on the walls. So before you try anything else, I highly recommend trying a magic eraser or a baby wipe and gently wiping the area. However, don’t scrub for too long before moving on to a new method as this can also damage the paint. If these less aggressive methods don’t work, move on to rubbing alcohol on a rag or baking soda toothpaste and a toothbrush.

In carpet

If the ink stain is fresh, lightly blot up as much of the ink as you can without pushing more into the carpet. Pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto the stain and let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to let it sit longer so it doesn’t get into the padding of your carpet. After the 3-5 minutes, lightly blot the stain again. Continue to repeat this process if needed. If this still does not get up all the ink, you can also use a wet/dry vacuum to pull up the ink and rubbing alcohol.

On leather

Before you try any stain removal hacks on leather, I highly recommend trying it on a part of the furniture that isn’t visible (like the back or bottom). Since all leather is different, you will want to make sure that the leather will lose color from the stain removal method you are going to try. The first thing you will want to try for an ink stain on leather is dish soap on a rag. If this does not work you can also try rubbing alcohol. Be careful to blot and not rub the ink stain. Once you finish removing the stain, it is best to use a leather conditioner to replace any moisture that the leather lost in the stain removal process and keep it from cracking or losing color. 

On wood furniture

Mix baking soda and water to get a thick mixture that is also slightly abrasive. Spread the mixture onto the ink and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. After the time is up, wipe off the paste with a wet rag. If the ink stain is still visible, repeat this process. 

On clothes

Blot the excess ink off if needed, then apply rubbing alcohol, hair spray or hand sanitizer to help dilute the stain. Let the hand sanitizer, hair spray, or rubbing alcohol sit for at least 15 minutes before you rinse it with cold water. Repeat as needed and then wash in cold water. 

Quick Tip! 

Invest in these amazing eraseable pens! I recently bought them and was in shock that they erase COMPLETELY! Already, my toddler has drawn on stuff with them and now I can just erase it!

Grape Juice | Stain Removal Hacks

On clothes

Blot up any excess grape juice that you can with paper towels or a rag. Then, turn the clothing inside out and flush it with cold running water. Combine 1 tablespoon of dish soap with about 10 oz. of water. Dip a rag in the solution and blot the stain. Next, combine a cup of ammonia and a cup of water. Grab a new rag and blot the area yet again with this solution. Let is all sit for 15 minutes before flushing the stain with hot water from the unstained side and then launder. 

In carpet or on furniture

Blot quickly with paper towels to remove as much of the juice as you can. Combine 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol and 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar. Dip a clean rag into the solution and blot the stain. Keep blotting, using a clean part of the cloth each time. Once the stain is removed, rinse the area by blotting with a clean rag dipped in water. Let the area air dry. 

Grease | Stain Removal Hacks

On clothes

Blot the grease stain with a paper towel to remove as much of the grease as possible. Pour liquid dish soap onto the stain and rub it in with your fingertips. Let the dish soap sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it out thoroughly in the sink. Wash the garment in your washing machine as usual but make sure to line dry the item. Once dry, you will be able to tell if the stain is still there. If it is, repeat the process again or try  Dawn power wash

Grass | Stain Removal Hacks

On clothes

Mix one part distilled white vinegar and one part water. Pour the mixture over the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing it under cold water. Repeat as needed. Wash as normal. 

Blood | Stain Removal Hacks

On clothing

While the stain is still fresh, spray the area with WD-40. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then launder it as normal. Check that the stain is removed before drying. Repeat if needed. 

On furniture

Mix a tablespoon of dish soap with 2 cups of water. Dip a rag into the mixture and continue blotting the stain with a clean part of the rag until the blood is gone. Once the stain is gone, blot the area with clean cold water to remove the soap out of the fabric. 

Coffee Spills | Stain Removal Hacks

On clothing

Start by blotting the stain to remove any coffee that you can. Next, blot with distilled white vinegar. Sprinkle baking soda to cover the whole stain and let it sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing it with cold water or vinegar. Launder as soon as possible. 

On carpet or furniture

Start by blotting up as much of the coffee as you can. Mix ½ teaspoon of dish soap with ½ teaspoon white vinegar, and 2 cups of warm water. Using a clean cloth, sponge the stain with the mixture and blot frequently with an additional dry cloth. Continue applying more of the mixture and blotting until you can no longer see the stain. 

Wine Spills | Stain Removal Hacks

On clothing or carpet

Soak up as much wine as possible by blotting with a cloth or paper towels. Then pour white vinegar onto the stain and let it sit for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, blot the excess vinegar, sprinkle baking soda on top, and scrub with a wet toothbrush. Rinse everything with water. If the stain is in clothing, you can simply rinse it in the sink. If the stain is on carpet, blot with a clean rag that you dip in water to remove everything. You can also use a wet/dry vacuum to remove any excess if you have one.

Make Up | Stain Removal Hacks

On clothing

Mix a drop of rubbing alcohol with shaving cream and thoroughly cover the whole stain with it. Let it sit for a minute or two and then rinse with cold water. 

On carpeting

If there is a lot of makeup spilled, use a credit card or butter knife to scrape up as much of it  as you can without pushing it into the carpet. Then grab some dish soap. Since dish soap is designed to cut through grease, dish soap also works well to cut through tough to clean makeup. Combine a cup of cold water and about 5 drops of dish soap. Grab a clean rag, dip it in the mixture, and then slowly use the mixture and cloth to blot up the make up. Once the stain is gone, use a rag and clean cold water to remove the soap from the carpet. 

Baby Poop | Stain Removal Hacks

On clothing

As far as most baby poop stains go, I honestly cannot recommend Dreft stain remover spray enough. As long as I spray it on same day, it gets out every last bit of the stain. But, if you have a really bad blow out or don’t want to use Dreft, there are home stain removers too. First, rinse the poop off with dish soap and cold water. Then combine vinegar and baking soda to make a paste and scrub it in with a toothbrush. Rinse it off with cold water before you machine wash it. 

Note: If you can see any portion of the stain after washing and drying it, put it out in the direct sunlight to naturally bleach it. 

Ketchup & Mustard | Stain Removal Hacks

In clothing

Combine 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap, and a few drops of white vinegar. Pour this on top of the stain and let it soak until you see the stain has largely faded. Rinse with hot water and launder as normal. 

On furniture

Create the same mixture as above and simply use a cloth to blot the stain out rather than soaking it. Make sure to blot with clean cold water after to rinse out the soap and vinegar. 

Baby spit up | Stain Removal Hacks

On clothing and fabrics

A lot of spit up stains will come out with normal washing. But, I also like to add Dreft stain remover spray to spit up stains before putting in them wash just in case. However, if you find a spit up stain still there after you’ve washed the clothes, lemon juice can do the trick. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice on the stain and then let it sit out in the sun to dry. This is essentially an all natural bleaching method that works wonders on spit up!

Best Stain Removal Products for Moms

Oxiclean Powder

I personally use this Oxiclean powder in every single load of laundry I wash! I keep it in a cute glass cannister so I always know how much I have and it looks good sitting in my laundry room. It does so much for stains on clothing but it also makes our clothes smell clean every time! As a bonus, it also works great on upholstery stains and on red wine stains too! 

Dreft Stain Remover Spray

As you’ve probably realized by this point in the post, I really love my Dreft stain remover spray. Since it’s a plant based stain remover, I feel confident spraying it on my baby’s clothes and knowing it is safe for them. I sprayed it on all my now toddler’s spit up and baby food stained clothes and was able to actually save his clothing for our next baby! It’s also been great to eliminate stains and smells from our cloth diaper liners too.

Tuff Stuff

I’ve used Tuff Stuff for years and it is definitely one of my favorite carpet cleaners. Tuff stuff has worked great on all our tough carpet stains and also in our cars! This stuff has saved our carpets a few times when someone walks through with muddy boots! 

The Pink Stuff

There’s a reason The Pink Stuff is called, “the miracle cleaning paste.” This viral pink paste is slightly abrasive and it helps it do an amazing job removing stains and grease! It works especially great on stains in the kitchen, a place most moms spend a lot of time.


If everything else fails, I can always count on Fels-Naptha to do the trick on clothing stains. It works wonders on grease, oil, and sweat stains. My mom always used this on all my jerseys and sports uniforms growing up and now I always have it on hand in my house too! 

This post was all about the best stain removal hacks for everything from permanent marker to grass stains to wine stains too! Stains are a part of mom life but I hope these stain removal hacks make that part of life just a bit easier! 

-Beautifully Busy Mom

Don’t forget to download the FREE Stain removal hack cheat sheet on my free printables page!

stain removal hacks

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