How to Remove Kool-Aid or Fruit Punch Stains from Clothes Carpet

A woman pouring a girl a glass of Kool Aid
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Some of our favorite drinks like Kool-Aid, fruit punch, and other powdered drinks contain lots of natural and artificial color. Just look at a kid's tongue or face after drinking a glass. That same dye can cause lots of problems on fabrics. Learn how to remove these stains easily and safely.

How to Remove Kool-Aid and Fruit Punch Stains from Washable Clothes

As with any stain, it is important to treat the stain as soon as possible to remove the dye from fabric. Blot away as much of the moisture as possible with a white paper towel. With a washable garment or table linens, hold the fabric under a faucet with a running stream of cold water. Flush the stained area from the wrong side of the stain so that the dye is forced away from the surface of the fabric.

Next, sponge the stain with a bit of plain rubbing alcohol or non-sudsing household ammonia and rinse well. If the color is gone, wash as recommended on the care label.

If some stain remains, then treat the stained area with a solvent-based stain remover spray or gel-like Zout or Shout. If you don't have a stain remover, use a bit of heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent (Tide or Persil are highly rated brands) to treat the stain. These detergents contain enough enzymes to break down the stain. Less expensive brands may not work as well.

Allow the stain remover to sit on the fabric for at least fifteen minutes. Next, wash the garment or table linen as usual. Check the stained area before drying. If the stain is not gone, move to the next step. Drying the item on high heat if it is still stained will make the stain even harder to remove.

If drink color remains on the fabric, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (brand names are: OxiCleanNellie's All Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite) and tepid water following package directions and submerge the garment. Allow it to soak at least four hours or overnight and then launder as usual. This type of bleach is safe for natural and synthetic fabrics that are either white or colored.  If the stain is not gone, repeat this step. When no stain remains, launder as usual.

How to Remove Kool-Aid and Fruit Punch Stains from Dry Clean Only Clothes

If the garment is labeled as dry clean only, blot away as much of the drink stain as possible with a white paper towel. As soon as possible, head to the dry cleaner and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner.

If you are using a home dry cleaning kit for a small stain, be sure to treat the area with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

How to Remove Kool-Aid and Fruit Punch Stains from Carpet

There's never been a kid's party that didn't end up with a few spills and stains. When the punch hits the floor, move as quickly as possible to treat the stain. Begin by using white paper towels to blot up as much of the stain as possible. Use an old shoe or spatula to press the towels into the stain. Keep moving to a clean towel until no more color is transferred.

Mix one tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent; one-half cup distilled white vinegar and two cups of warm water. Use a clean white cloth to blot this solution into the stain. Work from the outside edges toward the center to prevent spreading the stain. 

Blot away the cleaning solution with a clean, dry white cloth until no more color is transferred. Dip a clean white cloth into the plain water to "rinse" the area. It is important to remove all the soapy residue because it can attract soil.

If the stain is gone, allow the carpet to air dry away from direct heat. If the stain remains, then you must mix a solution of oxygen bleach and cool water following the package directions. Use a soft bristle brush to work the oxygen bleach solution into the carpet. Allow it to sit for at least one hour before blotting away and rinsing with cold water on a cloth. Repeat until all of the stain is gone. Allow the carpet to air dry and then vacuum to lift the carpet fibers.

How to Remove Kool-Aid and Fruit Punch Stains from Upholstery

To remove Kool-Aid stains from furniture and car upholstery, use the same cleaning solutions and techniques as recommended for carpet. Be careful not to overwet the fabric because excess moisture can cause problems with the cushion fillings. Allow the upholstery to air dry away from sunlight and direct heat.

If the furniture fabric is silk or vintage, blot away the stain and then contact a professional upholstery cleaner.