How to Remove Vanilla Extract Stains From Clothes and Carpet

How to Remove Vanilla Extract Stains From Clothes

The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins - 12 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

Vanilla extract is found in almost every recipe for baked goods and desserts, so spills are inevitable in bakers' kitchens. Vanilla beans contain tannins, natural plant compounds that give vanilla extract its deep, brown color. Unfortunately, that rich color can stain fabrics, too.

Treating tannin stains is easiest when they're fresh, so try to tackle a vanilla extract stain soon after it happens. If the liquid dries, the stain becomes more difficult to remove.

Never use natural soap in a bar or soap flakes to remove vanilla extract stains because they can make tannin stains more stubborn. Instead, follow the steps below to remove both fresh and dried vanilla extract stains from clothing and carpet.

Stain type  Tannin 
Detergent type  Liquid 
Water temperature  Hot 
Cycle type  Normal 

Before You Begin

As with any stain, the sooner the fresh stain can be treated, the better the chances of success for removal. Do not rub immediately. That will only push the stain deeper into the fabric fibers and make the stain harder to remove. Check the care label on the garment and test any detergent or cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area first to ensure that it does not discolor the fabric. While most cleaning methods are gentle enough for a diverse range of fabrics, knowing an item's specific care needs will help you choose the best stain removal option. Older or dried stains will be harder to remove, so know that you might need to repeat the cleaning process several times before the stain disappears.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools


  • White cloth or paper towels


  • White cloth or paper towels
  • Scrub brush
  • Vacuum



  • Liquid detergent
  • Oxygen bleach


  • Dishwashing liquid


Removing Fresh Vanilla Extract Stains from Clothes

  1. Blot to Remove Excess Liquid

    Blot the fabric with a clean white paper towel to soak up excess vanilla extract.

  2. Flush the Stain With Cold Water

    Flush the stained area under running cold water to dilute the stain.

  3. Wash in Hot Water

    Wash the garment in the hottest water temperature recommended for the fabric on the care label. Use a good quality detergent (Wisk, Tide, or Persil) that contains the necessary enzymes to dissolve the stains.

  4. Check for Remaining Stains

    Check the garment for traces of discoloration. If any stains remain, repeat the above steps.

    If the stain is gone, dry the garment as usual.

Removing Dried Vanilla Extract Stains From Clothes

  1. Soak Colored Clothes in Oxygen Bleach

    Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (brand names are: OxiClean, Tide Oxi, Nellie's All Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite) and tepid water following package directions and completely submerge the garment.

    Allow it to soak for at least four hours or overnight, and then launder as usual.

  2. Wash Whites in Chlorine Bleach

    Wash cotton or linen whites with chlorine bleach per the care label instructions (white synthetics like polyester should be soaked in oxygen bleach, as in Step 1).

  3. Check for Remaining Stains

    Check the garment for traces of discoloration. If any stains remain, repeat the above steps.

    If the stain is gone, then you can dry the garment as usual.

Removing Vanilla Extract Stains From Carpet

  1. Blot to Remove Excess Liquid

    Blot up as much of the moisture as possible with a clean white cloth or paper towel.

    Work from the outer edges of the stain toward the center when blotting to prevent making the stain larger.

  2. Scrub Gently With Dishwashing Liquid

    Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap with 2 cups of warm water. Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the mixture, and saturate the vanilla extract stain working from the outside edges of the stain toward the center.

    Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the stain is transferred to the cloth. Work slowly and methodically until no more stain is transferred,

  3. Blot With Water to Rinse

    Dip a clean cloth in plain water to rinse the area. Rinsing is very important because the soap solution can attract soil.

    Blot with a dry cloth and allow to air dry away from direct heat. Vacuum to lift fibers.

  4. Saturate Stubborn Stains With Oxygen Bleach

    Treat an old or particularly stubborn stain with a solution of oxygen bleach and water. Saturate the stain and allow the solution to remain for at least one hour.

    Blot to dry, but do not use oxygen bleach on a wool carpet as it can cause discoloration and change the texture of the fibers.

    Air dry and vacuum.

When to Call a Professional

If you have on a garment that is labeled as dry clean only, immediately blot the vanilla extract stain with a clean white cloth until no more moisture is transferred to the cloth.

As soon as possible, head to the dry cleaner and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner.

Additional Tips for Handling Vanilla Extract Stains

If some vanilla extract lands on a kitchen chair cushion, use the same cleaning solutions and techniques recommended for carpets. Take care not to over-saturate the fabric because excess moisture in the cushion or filling can cause problems like mildew growth and deterioration.