How to Remove Stains on Kitchen and Bathroom Surfaces

When you want to do some environmentally safe stain removal in the kitchen and bathroom, the first things that should come to mind are baking soda and vinegar.


Stains on Kitchen and Bathroom Surfaces – Green Stain Removal Reference Guide

When you want to do some environmentally safe stain removal in the kitchen and bathroom, the first thing that should come to mind is baking soda and something acidic such as distilled white vinegar or lemon juice. There are other homemade green cleaners, but you will find that baking soda and vinegar are often the go-to solution. Sometimes you need something a little different to fight stains on particular kitchen and bathroom surfaces so find more natural stain removing tips here.

Ceramic Tile

Sprinkle baking soda on the stain (or on your sponge) and gently scrub it with the wet nylon sponge. Dry it with a soft cloth. If that doesn’t work, use a paste made of powdered oxygen bleach and water. Let it sit on the stain for a while, and then, using protective gloves, wipe it up with a moist rag.


Butcher Block

Dab dark stains with a hydrogen peroxide soaked cotton ball until the stain gets lighter or hopefully disappear! You may have to let the peroxide sit for a few hours. Cover light stains with salt and rub them with the fleshy side of a lemon half. After several hours, rinse it off with water. White wine may remove red wine stains. Stubborn stains may require light sanding and a coat of vegetable oil.


Corian comes in three different finishes, but for most stains, soapy water should do the trick. If not, try a 50/50 solution of distilled vinegar and water. The manufacturer recommends ammonia, but it is unsafe for the environment and living beings. Ammonia should be used as a last resort only, if you want to be a green cleaner.


Combine 10 drops of mild dish detergent and a cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray the stain, and after a few minutes, wipe it away with a wet rag. It may take a few times. You can also add water to baking soda until it makes a paste, and then apply it to the stain. After it dries*, wipe it up with a wet rag and dry it. You can also make a paste out of mild, liquid dish detergent, a tablespoon or so of flour, and just enough water to make the paste. Use the same procedure as for the baking soda paste.

*TIP These pastes may take from several hours to a couple of days to dry.

Limestone and Slate

Make a paste out of ¾ cup of flour and just a little hydrogen peroxide. Cover the stain with it, and let it completely dry. Use a scraper with a soft edge to remove the paste.


Wipe the counter with a damp rag and mild detergent. For stubborn stains, use the paste of baking soda and water and a nylon brush. Rub them gently to avoid damaging the surface. For even tougher stains, undiluted oxygen bleach. Rub it gently on stains with a cotton ball for a few minutes. Wipe it with a damp rag, and dry it with a soft cloth. You may have to repeat the process.


Marble is one of the exceptions to using acidic cleaners. Don’t use acid based cleaners like vinegar or lemon on marble. Dark colored marble is tough to get stains out of. Install at your own risk and take manufacturers advice about how to remove stains from dark colored marble counters.

For light marble, use hydrogen peroxide to remove stains. For greasy stains, make a paste of baking soda and water. For food-based stains such as coffee and tea, mix the baking soda with hydrogen peroxide. Apply the paste to the stain, and use tape to seal the area with plastic wrap. Let it dry for a day or so, and then blot out the stain rather than rubbing it.

Plastic Laminate (Formica)

Make a paste out of baking soda and water. Put it on the stain, and then cover it with a paper towel. After a couple of hours, gently wipe it off with a moist rag. Don’t rub it because the abrasive soda may scratch the counter. For tougher stains, you might have to use a solvent such as denatured alcohol or paint thinner. Environmentally safe paint thinner is available from sources such as Sunnyside Green Envy Paint Thinner.

Porcelain Enamel and Stainless Steel

Moisten the stain and cover it with baking soda. Squeeze lemon or lime juice on it, and let it sit for a few hours. Scrub the mixture off with a sponge. You may have to repeat the process. If they are rust stains, put salt on them, and then squeeze the juice on them. They should go away after a two or three hours. Rust will also come off stainless steel when rubbed with wadded up aluminum foil.

If the stains are on the side surfaces of a stainless steel sink, make a thicker baking soda and lemon juice paste by adding some flour to it. For brushed stainless steel, use white vinegar and baking soda. You may have to lightly sand the brushed stainless steel surfaces with a very fine sand paper going with the grain to regain a smooth finish.


Avoid acidic cleaners here, too. Instead, use a soft cloth to wipe it down with water and mild detergent. For stubborn stains, you might have to resort to super fine sandpaper that is barely abrasive.

Stove Burners

You can naturally remove stains from stove burners by applying a baking soda and water paste. After a half hour, scrub the burners.

Stains on Particular Bathroom Surfaces

Chrome Fixtures in the Bathroom

Use a lint-free cloth and a few drops of olive oil to wipe stains off of chrome bathroom fixtures.

Sink and Tub

Rust and hard water stains can be rubbed with a sponge dampened with white vinegar or lemon juice. You can also sprinkle borax on the stains and rub with a wet sponge.


Your toilet is probably made out of porcelain. If your stain is a hard water stain, turn off the water to your toilet, flush toilet, then fill the bowl with vinegar. Flush it after several hours. Unbelievably, people have reported having the same success with cola or a couple of Alka-Seltzers.

If that doesn’t work, the Pumice is a hunk of pumice stone on a handle that can be used to scrub rust and mineral stains off of porcelain. You have to soak the stone is water to make sure it is soft and then scrub away. You may fear that the Pumice will scratch your porcelain but the fact is that porcelain is a harder substance than pumice, so you’re fine!

You have probably figured out by now that if you stock just a few items, you can do a whole lot of environmentally safe stain removal in your bathroom and kitchen. There is more good news: Some combination of these cleaners will work on most cleaning chores around your home.

Welcome to my website!

Julia has been practicing green cleaning for several years as the owner of As You Like It Home Cleaning and organic gardening for almost 20 years running Julia Houriet Custom Gardening. She studied landscape design at Radcliffe Seminars in Cambridge Massachusetts. Her expertise is gleaned from education and years of experience.

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