Berries are among the healthiest and most delicious fruits, but did you know that they can leave tough stains on clothes and other fabrics?
Most berries contain a chemical compound called tannin. This compound has strong colors that make it a great natural dye for yarns and different types of fabric, but that’s not the case when it accidentally gets in contact with your favorite white shirt.
If you love eating berries, it’s inevitable not to get your clothes stained at least once. Thankfully, removing berry stains on clothes is possible. We’ve prepared a guide to help you.
How to Get Berry Stains Out of Clothes
The best tip on how to get berry stains out of fabrics is to have tons of patience. With the help of the right tools and instructions, you’ll restore clothes and other fabrics to their pre-stained conditions.
What You’ll Need
Most of the tools and materials you’ll need can be found at home. They include the following:
- Soft-bristled Toothbrush
- Dull-edged Butter Knife
- Washing Machine
- Strong Laundry Detergent
- Stain Remover
- Chlorine and Oxygen-based Bleach (Optional)
When it comes to berry stain removal, one of the important things to know is that tannin-based stains become harder to remove when not addressed as soon as possible. Once berries get in contact with your clothes, here are the things to do:
1. Remove the Solids Immediately
To prevent staining other parts of the garment, remove berry solids as soon as possible. Using a dull-edged butter knife, lift away the berry particles gently. Avoid rubbing as it can push the stain deeper into the clothing fibers. If you don’t have a butter knife, you can use other items, such as an old credit card or a ruler.
2. Wash the Stain with Cold Water
After removing all the solid particles, hold the stained part under cold running water. The wrong side of the fabric should be the one facing the faucet. Doing it this way pushes out the stain.
3. Pre-treat the Stain
In case that you weren’t able to wash the stain with cold water, use stain removers to pre-treat it. Gently apply the stain remover directly into the stained part using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Leave it for about 15 to 30 minutes before washing. If you don’t have stain removers at home, you can use a heavy-duty type of laundry detergent.
4. Wash with Strong Laundry Detergent
The next thing to do is toss the stained garment into the washer. Wash it with a strong laundry detergent that contains enzymes that can break down the stain. Set the temperature of the water to the warmest setting as indicated on the garment’s care label.
5. Check for Stubborn Stains Before Drying
Before putting the garment into the dryer, make sure that the stain is completely removed. High temperatures inside the dryer may cause stubborn stains to set permanently. If there are berry stains left on the garment, try other stain removal processes.
6. Treat with a Bleach and Soak in Water
Some tannin-based stains remain even after pre-treating and washing. If that’s the case, you can use bleach to remove them.
For white garments and fabrics made from natural fibers, use chlorine bleach. Combine 1/4 cup of chlorine bleach with a gallon of water, then soak the stained garments for about 15 to 30 minutes. After doing so, rinse them well.
Use oxygen-based bleach if you’re dealing with berry stains on colored garments and fabrics made from synthetic materials. Follow the recommended ratio on the package, then soak the garments for four to 24 hours. Wash the garments as usual after soaking.
How to Remove Berry Stains from Upholstery and Carpets
The berry stain removal process for clothes differs a bit from the process for upholstery and carpets.
What You’ll Need
Here’s a list of the tools and materials you’ll need:
- Dish Detergent
- Warm Water
- Paper Towel
- Dull-edged Butter Knife
- White Cloth
- Dropper (Optional)
- Chlorine and Oxygen-Based Bleach (Optional)
- Hydrogen Peroxide (Optional)
For upholstery and carpets, here are the steps to follow:
1. Remove Berry Solids and Liquids
To remove berry solids from upholstery and carpets, use the same removal technique needed for clothes. Use a piece of white cloth or some paper towels to blot out the remaining liquid on the fabric. Work from the sides of the stain toward the center to prevent it from spreading.
2. Prepare a Cleaning Solution and Blot the Stained Part
Combine one teaspoon of dish detergent with two cups of water. Get a new piece of white cloth, paper towel, or sponge, and use it to blot out the stained area. Do this until no stain is transferred to the cloth.
3. Rinse Properly
The next thing to do is to rinse the stained part of the upholstery or carpet well. Perform the same blotting technique from the previous step, but this time, use water instead of the cleaning solution.
4. Tackle Stubborn Stains
In case there are stains left, use bleach to remove them. Similar to clothes, use chlorine bleach for upholstery and carpets with white colors or those made from natural fibers. Otherwise, use oxygen-based bleaches. Leave the bleach for 30 minutes before rinsing again.
If you have no bleach at home, you can also use hydrogen peroxide. Apply a few drops using a dropper, then leave it for an hour. Air dry or use a vacuum for drying.
How Kelly’s Dry Cleaners Can Help
We, at Kelly’s Dry Cleaners, provide top-notch laundry and dry-cleaning services. Aside from completely removing berry stains, you can expect us to handle your clothes, carpets, and other textiles with the best care they need. We promote eco-friendly washing and dry-cleaning techniques, and we take pride in our Green Earth cleaners in Durango. Call us for any inquiries or questions!