Remove Jam and Jelly Stains From Fabric

How to Remove Jam & Jelly Stains

The Spruce / Joules Garcia

Whether your favorite is grape, peach, strawberry, or orange marmalade, these delicious condiments are made from a combination of fruits or vegetables, spices, and sugar. Most are fairly simple to remove from fabrics unless artificial color has been added so enjoy that PBJ!

Jam and Jelly Stains on Washable Clothes

Fruits and vegetables contain tannin, a plant component that often shows in the varying intensity of color in the final product. The tannin from the fruit or vegetable combined with sugar and spices create the jam and jelly stains. Fresh tannin stains can usually be removed by washing the garment or table linens with good laundry detergent in the hottest water recommended for the fabric on the care label.

The first thing to do when a jam or jelly stain happens is to use a dull knife to lift as much of the solids away from the surface of the fabric as possible. Do not rub or wipe the stain because that only forces the stain deeper into the fabric fibers. After removing solids, dip a clean white cloth or paper towel in plain water and blot the fabric until you can fully wash the garment.

Never use natural soap in a bar or soap flakes to treat the stain because soap can make tannin stains more difficult to remove.

If the stain is older and has set or if artificial dyes have been added to the jam or jelly, additional treatment may be needed beyond washing. Stains on white cotton garments or linens can be treated with chlorine bleach

For synthetic fabrics and colored or printed clothes, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (brand names are OxiClean, Nellie's All Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite) and lukewarm water following package directions. Mix enough of the solution to completely submerge the stained garment. Allow the item to soak at least four hours or overnight and then launder as usual.

removing jelly with a dull knife
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

Remove Jam and Jelly Stains From Dry Clean Only Clothes

When that jelly lands on a fabric that is labeled as dry clean only, lift away as much of the solids as possible with a dull knife, edge of a spoon, or even a credit card edge. Blot away any moisture and as soon as possible, head to the dry cleaner. Point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner.

If you choose to use a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

blotting dry clean only fabric
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

How to Remove Jam and Jelly Stains From Carpet and Upholstery

Why does the bread always fall on the carpet with the jelly side down? When it does, use a spoon or dull knife to remove as much of the solids as possible. Don't wipe or rub because you'll only be pushing the stain deeper in the carpet fibers.

To remove the stain, mix a solution of one teaspoon hand dishwashing detergent liquid with two cups warm water. Dip a clean white cloth or paper towel in the solution. Blot the jelly stain and keep moving to a clean area of the cloth until no more stain is transferred.

Dip a cloth in plain cool water to "rinse" the cleaned area. It is important to remove all the soapy solution because it can actually attract soil.

If there has been artificial dye added to the jam or jelly and the stain remains, treat the stain with a clean cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. This treatment should only be used on a white or very light carpet because bleaching can occur. For other carpet colors, mix a solution of oxygen bleach and water and saturate the stained area. Allow the solution to remain on the stain for at least four hours and then blot away. Repeat as needed.

Allow the cleaned carpet area to air dry away from direct heat and sunlight. When dry, vacuum to lift carpet fibers.

To remove jelly and jam stains from upholstery, you can use the same cleaning solutions and techniques recommended for carpet. Take extra care not to overwet the fabric because excess moisture in the furniture cushions can cause problems with mold and mildew.

If the upholstery is vintage or silk, remove the solids and consult furniture cleaning professional especially if you need more stain removal tips.

lifting jelly off of carpet
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida