How to Remove Soft Drink Stains

How to Remove Soft Drink Stains From Clothes

The Spruce / Michela Buttignol

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 - 12 hrs
  • Total Time: 10 - 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0 to 10

Whether you drink soda daily or once in a blue moon, an occasional stain is normal. Although these stains are typically easy to remove, those from colored soda may take more effort to lift. Most brown soft drinks are tannin-based, while colored soft drink stains are caused by food coloring dye. Handling a stain while still wet is the best way to ensure successful removal. You can remove soft drink stains using products you likely already have in your pantry, such as rubbing alcohol or heavy-duty detergent. You can also visit the store to pick up a more robust stain-removal solution. Check out the following instructions on removing soft drink stains from your clothes, carpet, and upholstery.

Stain type  Tannin-based, dye-based
Detergent type Heavy-duty
Water temperature Cool
Cycle type Varies depending of the type of fabric

Before You Begin

Before beginning the treatment process, resist the urge to rub the stain, as it will only push the matter deeper into the fabric fibers, making it more difficult to remove. Always adhere to the recommendations on your garment's care label before washing. Different fabrics call for different washing protocols.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Bleach
  • Detergent
  • Shoe/spatula
  • Paper towel


  • Stain remover
  • Soft bristle brush


How to Remove Soft Drink Stains From Washable Clothes

It's best to treat a soft drink stain on clothing as soon as possible. A variety of methods may be effective, such as flushing the stain with water, applying rubbing alcohol, and applying bleach.

  1. Lift Moisture With a Paper Towel

    Start by blotting away as much moisture as possible with a white paper towel, and follow by flushing the underside of the stained garment beneath running, cold water.

  2. Apply Rubbing Alcohol

    Sponge a brightly colored stain with plain rubbing alcohol or household ammonia and rinse well. When the color is gone, wash the garment as advised by its care label.

  3. Apply Stain Remover

    Treat a lingering stain with a solvent-based stain remover. If you don't have a stain remover, use a bit of heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent like Tide or Persil to treat the stain. These chemical detergents contain helpful enzymes to break down the stain. Never use a bar of natural soap or soap flakes on a soft drink stain because they can make tannin-based spots more difficult to remove. Allow the stain remover to sit on the fabric for at least fifteen minutes and wash as you normally would.

  4. Apply a Bleach Solution

    If the colored soft drink stain remains on the fabric, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach and room temperature water according to instructions listed on the product packaging. Submerge the garment and allow it to soak for at least four hours or overnight, then launder as usual.


Remember, putting your garment in the dryer if it is still stained will make the stain even harder to remove.

How To Remove Soft Drink Stains From Carpet and Upholstery

Spilling a soft drink on your carpet or upholstered furniture can be frustrating, but there are several methods you can attempt to remove these stains.

  1. Lift Moisture from Fabric

    Use a white paper towel to absorb as much of the soft drink as possible, pressing the towel into the stain with a shoe or spatula. Replace the paper towel as it gets saturated with the drink, especially if it contains dye. Finish by applying a clean white cloth soaked with cool water to flush the area.

  2. Mix an Oxygen Bleach Solution

    If the stain remains, you can mix a solution of oxygen bleach and cool water following package instructions.

  3. Work the Solution Into Fabric

    Use a soft brush to work the oxygen bleach solution into the carpet. Allow it to sit for at least one hour before blotting away and soaking with cool water. Be careful not to over-wet the fabric because excess moisture can cause mildew. Allow the carpet or fabric to air dry and examine for any stain residue. Repeat the removal steps until the stain is gone.

  4. Dry Carpet or Fabric

    Allow the carpet to air dry and vacuum to lift the carpet fibers. Hang a cushion cover to air dry away from direct heat. Allow upholstery to air dry away from sunlight and direct heat.

When to Call a Professional

If the stained garment is labeled as "dry clean only," blot away as much of the stain as possible with a white paper towel before visiting your dry cleaner. Point out and identify the stain to help your professional cleaner choose the proper treatment. If your stained upholstery is silk or vintage, contact a professional upholstery cleaner to ensure you don't damage the delicate fabric in the stain-removal process.

Additional Tips for Handing Soft Drink Stains

Treatment for soft drink stains can vary based on the color of the liquid. If your spilled drink is brown, you can start by applying lemon juice to the stain and letting it sit for several minutes. You may need to repeat cleaning steps if the soft drink contains a brightly colored dye. Even if the garment isn't "dry clean only," if the stain doesn't budge, you can call a dry cleaner or professional cleaning service for specialized advice.