How to Remove Berry Stains From Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery

How to Remove Berry Stains

The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 10 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 8 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0

Strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blackberries, cranberries, and blueberries can leave stains on fabric that are tough to remove. The tannins in berries are so strong that they are used to create natural dyes for yarn or fabrics. Never put a berry-stained item through the clothes dryer; high heat can set stains. Address the stain as soon as possible since older stains are much more difficult to remove. Read on to learn how to remove berry stains with laundry detergent, bleaching agents, and solutions from home.

Stain Type Tannin-based dye
Detergent Type Heavy-duty laundry detergent
Water Temperature Cold to warm
Cycle Type Normal

Before You Begin

If the item is labeled as dry-clean-only, remove any solids and blot the area with a white paper towel or cloth to remove as much of the stain as possible. Then, as soon as possible, head to your dry cleaner and point out and identify the stain to a professional cleaner.

If you decide to use a home dry cleaning kit, treat the berry stain first with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

If you get berry stains on vintage or silk upholstery, do not attempt to clean it yourself. Call a professional.


Click Play to Learn How to Remove Berry Stains From Clothing

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools


  • 1 Soft bristled brush
  • 1 Dull-edged knife
  • 1 Soaking basin
  • Washing machine

Carpet and Upholstery

  • 1 Dull-edged knife
  • 3 White cloths
  • Sponge
  • Eye-dropper (Optional)



  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Stain remover
  • Cold water
  • Chlorine bleach (optional)
  • Oxygen-based bleach (optional)

Carpet and Upholstery

  • Dishwashing soap
  • Warm water
  • Oxygen-based bleach (optional)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (optional)
  • Paper towels


How to Remove Berry Stains From Clothing

materials for removing berry stains
The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  1. Lift the Solids

    Lift away any berry solids from the fabric's surface with a dull knife or the edge of a credit card. Do not rub because that will press the stain deeper into the fibers. If you can't wash the garment immediately, dip a paper towel or white cloth in plain water and blot the stain.

    using a knife to lift stain solids
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Flush With Cold Water

    Hold the stain under a faucet of running cold water. Flush from the opposite or back side of the fabric to force out the stain.

    flushing the stained garment with cold water
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Pretreat the Stain

    If the berry stain has dried, use a stain remover to pretreat the stain. Work the stain remover into the stain with a soft-bristled brush (or old toothbrush) and allow it to remain on the stain for at least 15 minutes before washing. If you don't have a stain remover, dab heavy-duty liquid detergent on the stain to pretreat it.

    pretreating a berry stain
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska


    Never use natural bar soap or soap flakes for cleaning berry stains since they make tannin stains more difficult to remove.

  4. Wash With Heavy-Duty Detergent

    Wash the garment using a heavy-duty detergent (Tide and Persil are considered heavy-duty and contain enough enzymes to break apart the stain). Use the hottest water recommended on the item's care label.

    putting a garment in the washer
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Check the Stain Before Drying

    After washing, always check clothes to ensure no stains remain before putting them in the dryer. The high heat of the dryer may permanently set the stains. If a stain remains, use a bleach soaking method.

    making sure the stain has lifted
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. Soak Tough Stains

    Some berry stains may need to be treated with bleach to remove lingering color. You can use chlorine bleach on natural white fiber (cotton and linen) garments and table linens. Mix 1/4 cup of chlorine bleach per 1 gallon of water. Soak for 15 to 30 minutes before rinsing well.

    For white synthetic fabrics or colored clothes, use oxygen-based bleach instead. Following the specific product's directions, mix a solution of warm water and oxygen-based bleach. Completely submerge the stained items and allow them to soak for at least four hours or overnight. Then wash as usual.

    bleach and water soak
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

How to Remove Berry Stains From Carpet and Upholstery

To remove berry stains from carpet and upholstery, use the same cleaning products and instructions. Take extra care not to over-saturate the cushions with the cleaning or rinsing solutions, which can cause moisture or mold problems in the future.

materias for removing berry stains
The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  1. Remove Any Berry Solids and Liquids

    Use a dull knife or the edge of a spoon to lift any solids from the carpet. Do not rub since it will push the stain deeper into the fibers. Next, use a white paper towel or old white cloth to blot up as much of the liquid as possible. Try to work from the outside edge of the stain toward the center to keep the stain from spreading and getting larger.

    lifting berry stain solids off of a rug
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 
  2. Mix a Cleaning Solution and Blot the Stain

    Mix a solution of 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid with 2 cups of lukewarm water. Dip a white cloth, sponge, or paper towel into the solution and blot the berry stain. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the stain comes out of the carpet.

    blotting the berry stain
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Rinse by Blotting With Water

    When no more stain is transferred, dip a clean white cloth in plain water and "rinse" by blotting the stain again. It is important to rinse the detergent out of the carpet because it can attract soil.

    bleach solution and a clean cloth
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Treat Persistent Stains

    If the stain remains, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach in cool water following package directions. Dip a clean sponge into the solution or use an eye dropper to apply it to the stain. Working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center, work the solution into the carpet. Do not overwet the area. Allow the solution to remain on the stain for at least 30 minutes before blotting away with a dry towel or cloth.

    Instead of oxygen-based bleach, you can also use hydrogen peroxide to remove the berry stain. Place a few drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide using an eye dropper onto the stained area. Let it work for one hour and then blot away. No need to rinse; hydrogen peroxide converts to water once exposed to light. Repeat if necessary.

    rinsing berry stain with soapy water
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Air Dry and Vacuum

    Once the stains are gone, use a dry clean white cloth to blot away moisture. Allow the carpet to air dry completely and vacuum to restore the pile.

    vacuuming the rug
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

Additional Tips for Handling Berry Stains

If you'd rather use natural bleaching agents instead of commercial bleach products, substitute 1 gallon of water and 1 cup of white distilled vinegar for the bleaching soak for white clothing items. For colored fabrics, use equal parts water to hydrogen peroxide. Always test an inconspicuous spot first to be sure there is no unwanted change to the carpet or upholstery color.

If you don't have any products on hand, try using boiling water. Slowly flush the stain from the opposite side to reverse the stain from penetrating deeper into the fibers.