How to Remove Cream Cheese Stains From Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery

cream cheese stains on a napkin

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 15 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner

While soft cheeses are delicious, unfortunately not every bite lands in our mouths. They're not so good smeared on our clothes, carpet, and upholstery. Whether you had your bagel with butter, or you indulged in your favorite cream cheese, or another soft cheese like cottage cheese, goat cheese, or Brie, the steps for removing the oily stains are just the same.

Stain type  Protein, fat
Detergent type Heavy-duty detergent
Water temperature Warm or cold
Cycle type Depends upon fabric type

Before You Begin

For delicate or non-colorfast fabrics, test any detergent or cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area first to ensure that it does not discolor the fabric.

Older soft cheese stains will be harder to remove. You might need to repeat the cleaning process a couple of times before the stain disappears and then you should be able to put the garment in an automatic dryer if necessary.

If the stained garment is labeled as dry clean only, remove any solids and blot with a clean white cloth. Do not rub because that will make the stain harder to remove. For small stains, you can spot clean with a dry cleaning solvent. Always test the solvent on an inside seam to be sure it will not fade the fabric and always follow product directions carefully. 

If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

For larger stains, head to the dry cleaner as soon as possible and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner.

If trying to remove a cream cheese stain from upholstery and the fabric is silk or vintage, consult a professional before attempting to do so.

materials for removing cream cheese stains

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Washer or large sink
  • Dryer, clothesline, or drying rack
  • Dull knife, spoon, or credit card
  • Small bowl or bucket
  • Sponge
  • Vacuum

Materials

  • Heavy-duty detergent or enzyme-based stain remover
  • 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups warm water

Instructions

How to Remove Soft Cheese Stains From Clothes

  1. Remove Any Solids

    Use a dull knife, spoon, or the edge of a credit card to lift off any excess cream cheese from the fabric. Do not rub the fresh stain with a cloth or paper towel because that will push the cheese particles deeper into the fabric and make them much harder to remove. If the cheese has dried, brush it away gently with a soft-bristled brush.

    removing excess cream cheese with a dull knife

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

  2. Pretreat the Stain

    Treat the stained area with a solvent-based stain remover spray or gel. If you don't have a stain remover, use a bit of heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent (Tide or Persil) to treat the stain. These detergents contain enough enzymes to break down the oil and protein components of the cheese. Less expensive brands may not work as well.

    Allow the stain remover to sit on the fabric at least 15 minutes before washing so it can begin to dissolve the proteins and oils in the stain.

    pretreating the cream cheese stain

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

  3. Select the Water Temperature and Wash Cycle

    Wash the garment or table linen as recommended for the fabric on the care label. If there is no label, use warm or cold water and the permanent press cycle.

    choosing a wash cycle

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

  4. Check the Stained Area

    Check the stained area before tossing the item in the dryer. If the stain is not gone, do not dry, and repeat the steps.

    Carefully Inspect Synthetics

    Drying the item on high heat if it is still stained will make the oil even harder to remove, especially if it is a synthetic fabric like polyester and acrylic.

    checking to make sure the stain is removed

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

  5. Dry the Item

    Follow the care label recommendations for drying the fabric.

    loading the linen into the dryer

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

How to Remove Cream Cheese Stains From Carpet

The same cleaning solution that you use for carpet can be used to remove soft cheeses from upholstery. Be particularly careful not to oversaturate the fabric and cushion filling.

  1. Remove Excess Solids

    Use a dull knife or the edge of a spoon to lift away as much of the cream cheese as possible. Never wipe or rub the area with a paper towel because that will push the cheese into the carpet fibers more deeply.

  2. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    In a small bowl or bucket, mix a solution of two cups warm water, one tablespoon dishwashing liquid, and two tablespoons distilled white vinegar.

  3. Tackle the Stain

    Dip a clean white cloth, paper towel or sponge in the solution and wring out any excess moisture. Working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center, wipe away the stain. Starting at the outside edge helps prevent the stain from becoming larger. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the stain is lifted from the carpet.

  4. Rinse the Area

    To rinse, use another clean cloth dipped in plain water to wipe down the area. It is important to do this step because if you leave any soapy residue in the carpet it will actually attract more soil.

  5. Air-Dry and Vacuum

    Allow the area to air dry with no direct heat. Vacuum to lift and restore carpet fibers.

If the stain persists on clothing, the oily stain may disappear if it's coaxed with hot water. Repeat the steps but use the hottest water cycle possible for the garment. If the stain is still present on a carpet or upholstery fabric, sprinkle baking soda on the area, let it sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum.