While that schmear of cream cheese is oh-so-delicious on your bagel, it's not so great when a plop of it drops onto your shirt or furniture, leaving an oily mark on the fabric. As with other soft cheeses, cream cheese stains are oil-based, which means you should work quickly to remove them before they set permanently into the fabric. Luckily, it's not too hard to get a cream cheese stain out of clothes, carpet, or upholstery, and you don't need any special supplies or equipment to do so.
|Stain type||Protein, fat|
|Detergent type||Heavy-duty detergent|
|Water temperature||Varies depending on fabric type|
|Cycle type||Depends upon fabric type|
Before You Begin
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.
If trying to remove a cream cheese stain from vintage or silk upholstery, consult a professional cleaner before attempting to clean the furniture yourself. These types of fabrics are often best left to professionals.
Equipment / Tools
- Dull knife, spoon, or credit card
- Soft-bristled brush (Optional)
- Washing machine
Carpet or Upholstery
- Dull knife or spoon
- Measuring spoon
- Bowl or bucket
- Sponge, paper towel, or clean cloth
- Vacuum cleaner (Optional)
- Laundy stain pretreatment spray or gel
- Heavy-duty laundry detergent (Optional)
Carpet or Upholstery
- Dishwashing liquid
- Distilled white vinegar
- Warm water
How to Remove Cream Cheese Stains From Clothes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Check the Stained Area
Check the stained area before tossing the item in the dryer. If the stain is not gone, do not dry it. Instead, repeat the steps above. Drying an item with an oily stain can cause the stain to set permanently, especially with synthetic fabrics like polyester.
Dry the Item
Once the cream cheese stain is gone, follow the care label recommendations for drying the fabric.
How to Remove Cream Cheese Stains From Carpet
The following steps can be used to remove cream cheese stains from both carpet and upholstery. However, be particularly careful not to oversaturate upholstered chair or couch cushions, as it can be difficult for the filling to dry.
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 or fabric fibers more deeply.
Mix a Cleaning Solution
Mix a solution of two cups warm water, one tablespoon dishwashing liquid, and two tablespoons distilled white vinegar in a small bowl or bucket.
Tackle the Stain
Dip a clean white cloth, paper towel, or sponge in the solution, and then wring out any excess moisture. Working from the outside edge of the stain towards the center, blot away the cream cheese mark. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the stain is lifted from the carpet or upholstery.
Rinse the Area
To rinse, use another clean cloth dipped in plain water, and wipe down the treated area. It is important to do this step because if you leave any soapy residue in the carpet, it will actually attract more soil. Take care not to over-saturate upholstered couch or chair cushions, however.
Air-Dry and Vacuum
Allow the area to air dry with no direct heat. Vacuum to lift and restore carpet fibers.
Additional Tips for Handling a Cream Cheese Stain
If the stain persists on clothing, the oily stain may disappear if it's coaxed with hot water. Before drying the garment, repeat the steps above, but use the hottest water cycle that is safe for the garment.
If the stain lingers on carpet or upholstery fabric, sprinkle baking soda on the area, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then vacuum.