A close up of a rug

How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Remove Stains

Faithful readers will recall a reader tip from a past post, in which Julie shared her simple homemade carpet shampoo of hydrogen peroxide, hot water, and a tiny bit of liquid laundry soap.

That tip set off a semi-avalanche of responses requesting specific details, and many of which cautioned, wisely, that hydrogen peroxide can have a bleaching effect on some types of fabrics and carpets that are not colorfast.

A close up of a rug

Carpet cleaning details

Mix HOT water, and a few drops of Blue Dawn, or Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap. Add enough hydrogen peroxide to make the overall solution from about 1/2% to about 2% hydrogen peroxide*. Fill carpet cleaner reservoir.

(*Use 1 3/4 cup   3% hydrogen peroxide per 1-gallon water; or 3% hydrogen peroxide mixed 50/50 with water.)

In theory, hydrogen peroxide could alter the color in the carpet, depending on the kind of dye. However, this is unlikely using 3% peroxide. I have poured 3% hydrogen peroxide directly onto the carpet in my home and have not had any problems.

For the best result make sure you are using fresh hydrogen peroxide (no older than 6 months) that has been stored in a dark place. Hydrogen degrades quickly when exposed to light.

Caution: You should ALWAYS test any kind of stain treatment or cleaner in an inconspicuous area to make sure the item to be cleaned (carpet, upholstery, garment) is colorfast and you will not be making things worse.

White grout cleaner

In a bowl, mix fresh hydrogen peroxide (you will get the best results using 12% hydrogen peroxide), baking soda, and a few drops of Blue Dawn to form a thick paste. Using an old toothbrush, apply the paste to the grout and give it a good scrub. Allow to sit on the grout for a few minutes or until you achieve your desired results, then rinse very well.

Stubborn carpet stain cleaner

Interestingly, I’ve heard from quite a few readers who have used the white Grout Cleaner above as a last result treatment for an ugly, stubborn carpet stain—even the worst, which is red wine on the light-colored carpet—with great results. Adjust the amount of hydrogen peroxide to make a thinner slurry and of course, test first.

Becky writes: “We had tenants in our house for a few years and we got new carpets in all but one room after we moved back. The one-room was one we didn’t use much and the carpet was fairly new but the tenants had made a big stain in a very obvious location. I’d tried everything to get that stain out.

“Today I mixed up a recipe of that stain remover (see above as White Grout Cleaner), scrubbed it into the stain, left it for over an hour, then rinsed well with boiling water in our Hoover SteamVac. The stain is GONE! That stain had been there for several years at least. I just wanted to thank you because it saved us from having to replace the carpet. I’ll be sharing the recipe with everyone I know.”

Updated 5-2-21

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4 replies
  1. Debra says:

    I have been using hydrogen peroxide for stain removal for years with great results. I have swapped the cap with a sprayer and store it next to my laundry detergent. It works wonders on organic stains. Following a heart attach, my husband had stints inserted, which necessitated blood thinners. He’s somewhat clumsy and cuts and pokes himself regularly making everything morph into a band aid. It’s the only thing that has saved my white towels and sheets. Love this stuff!

  2. margaret alterton says:

    I’m confused regarding the strength of the hydrogen peroxide for these two carpet cleaners. Do you buy 35% hydrogen peroxide? Or do you buy 3% hydrogen peroxide and then make it 35% of the mixed solution?

    • Mary Hunt says:

      Buy 3% … this is simply an explanation. While 35% is available, it is more costly and given that you need to use it within 6 months, that only complicates things. Hope that helps!


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