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

punch bowl and glasses

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Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 8 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Some of our favorite drinks like Kool-Aid, Hawaiian fruit punch, and other powdered drinks contain lots of natural and artificial colors. Just look at a kid's tongue or face after drinking a glass. That same dye can cause lots of problems with fabrics. Learn how to remove these stains from clothing, carpet, and upholstery quickly, easily, and safely.

Stain Type Dye-based
Detergent Type Heavy-duty detergent and oxygen-based bleach
Water Temperature Cold to warm
Cycle Type Gentle or regular, depending on fabric

Before You Begin

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.

When removing dye stains from washable clothes, always check the stained area before tossing the fabric in the dryer. Drying the item on high heat if it is still stained will make the stain even harder to remove.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Paper towels
  • Washer or large washing tub

Materials

  • Rubbing alcohol or non-sudsing household ammonia
  • Enzyme-based stain remover or heavy-duty detergent
  • Oxygen-based bleach
  • Water

Instructions

How to Remove Fruit Punch Stains From Clothes

  1. Blot and Rinse

    As with any stain, it is important to treat the stain as soon as possible to remove the dye from the 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.

    Is Club Soda or Seltzer Better?

    If you have quick access to club soda or seltzer instead of water, use it to flush the stain. There's no proof that these carbonated beverages can do a better job than water, but it can still help dilute and carry the stain away from the fabric if you're quick enough to get to it before it sets.

  2. Treat the Dye Stain

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

    Ammonia Best for Lighter Colors

    Only use non-sudsing household ammonia on light-colored clothing because it can potentially fade colors other than the fruit punch stain.

  3. If Dye Stains Remain

    If some dye stain remains, 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.

    Work the stain remover into the fabric with your fingers and allow the stain remover to work on the fabric for at least fifteen minutes before washing the garment or table linen as usual. 

  4. Remove the Final Traces of Dye

    If the stain is older, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (brand names include OxiClean, Nellie'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 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 or the upholstery, 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 so it bubbles up making it easier to blot. Keep moving to a clean towel until no more color is transferred.

Purple Splotches on Upholstery

Remove stains using the same cleaning solutions and techniques for furniture and car upholstery as recommended for carpet. Do not wet the fabric too much 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 or if you need more stain removal tips.

What You'll Need

Supplies

  • 1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing detergent
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups warm water
  • Oxygen bleach

Tools

  • Small bowl
  • Two white cloths
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Vacuum
  1. Mix the Cleaning Solution

    Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent with 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, and 2 cups of warm water in a small bowl. 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. 

  2. Blot and Rinse

    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.

  3. Treat Lingering Stains

    If the stain remains, then you must mix a solution of oxygen bleach and cool water in a small bowl following the package directions. Use a soft-bristled 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 stains are gone.

  4. Air-dry and Vacuum

    Allow the carpet to air dry away from direct heat and sunlight and then vacuum to lift the carpet fibers.

If the stain proves tougher to remove than expected, consider buying a product made specifically to lift out red stains from fabrics, carpet, and upholstery. It might be a good idea to have a red stain buster (brand names include Red Erase, Wine Away, or Juice Out) handy in your arsenal of laundry and cleaning products for future accidents.