Apple juice and other fruit juices are a staple in most homes—especially in those with small children. And with the popularity of home juicing, you may encounter some exotic fruit and vegetable juice combinations that can offer some challenging juice stains to remove.
Washable Clothes and Linens
Juice stains appear on fabrics because of tannin, a plant component that often shows as a color in the fruit. Apples, pears, and white grapes have low levels of tannin while red and purple grapes, berries, and plums are high in tannin.
Immediately blot the juice spill from the fabric with a clean white cloth or paper towels. If possible, flush the stain with cold water by holding the wrong side of the fabric directly under a running faucet.
Fresh stains caused by low tannin level fruits can usually be removed by simply washing the garment or table linens with a heavy-duty detergent (Tide and Persil are brand names) with enough enzymes to break apart the stains in the hottest water recommended for the fabric on the care label.
One particular caution is to never use natural soap in a bar like Fels-Naptha or soap flakes to treat the stain because they can make tannin stains more difficult to remove.
Older juice stains or those from a dark-colored fruit like purple grapes or cranberries that are high in tannin will need additional treatment. If the stains are on cotton white garments and linens, you can use chlorine bleach to remove them. Follow the product directions carefully.
For stains on synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon and colored or printed clothes, color-safe oxygen bleach is a better choice. Mix a solution of warm water and oxygen-based bleach (Clorox 2 and OxiClean are brand names) following package directions. Completely submerge the stained items and allow them to soak at least four hours or overnight. Then wash as usual.
After any stain removal treatment, check the stained areas before placing clothes in a hot dryer. The high heat can set the stains making them very difficult to remove.
Dry Clean Only Clothes
After blotting up as much of the juice spill as possible, if the garment is labeled as dry clean only take it to a professional cleaner as soon as possible. Point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner so they can use the proper stain removing chemicals.
If you decide to use a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.
Carpet and Upholstery
Use a white paper towel or cloth to blot up as much of the liquid as possible. Keep blotting until no more moisture is transferred from the carpet to the cloth.
Mix a solution of two teaspoons of dishwashing detergent in two cups of warm water. Dip a clean white cloth, sponge or soft bristle brush in the solution. Working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center to keep it from spreading, work the cleaning solution into the stain. Blot with a dry cloth to absorb the solution, Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the stain is transferred.
Finish by dipping a clean cloth in plain water to "rinse" the spot. This is especially important because any soapy residue left in the carpet will attract more soil. Allow the stain to air dry away from direct heat. Vacuum to lift the carpet fibers.
If the stain is older or from a darker fruit juice, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach in cool water following package directions. Dip a clean cloth into the solution and working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center, work the solution into the carpet. Do not over wet. Allow the solution to remain on the stain for at least 30 minutes before blotting away.
Use a dry clean white cloth to blot away moisture. Allow to dry completely and vacuum to restore the pile of the carpet.
The same cleaning solutions and techniques can be used for juice stains on upholstery. Take care not to overwet the fabric because excess moisture in the cushions can cause problems.
If the upholstery is silk or vintage, it is best to call a professional cleaner especially if you need more stain removal tips. Home cleaning may result in water spots.