How to Remove Watermelon Stains From Clothes and Carpets

How to Remove Watermelon Stains

The Spruce / Michela Buttignol

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 6 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner

There is nothing that says summer like the taste of watermelon. The downside of that big juicy wedge is that it drips and leaves bright pink stains on our favorite white summer shirt or tablecloth. So, whether you're carving a watermelon basket or just enjoying a slice at a picnic, it's time to learn how to remove the stains.

Stain type Tannin
Detergent type Heavy-duty
Water temperature Cold to warm
Cycle type Varies depending on the type of fabric

Before You Begin

If the stained garment is labeled as "dry clean only," take the item into a professional cleaner as soon as possible to point out and identify the stain.

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

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Washing machine or large basin
  • Small bowl
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • White cloth


  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent or enzyme-based stain remover
  • Oxygen-based bleach
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Paper towels


materials for removing watermelon stains
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

How to Remove Watermelon Stains From Clothes

  1. Remove Solids

    Lift away any solid chunks of watermelon and blot away any liquid with a paper towel or napkin. Try not to rub the stain deeper into the fabric.

    removing excess stain solids
    ​The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
  2. Flush the Stained Area

    As soon as possible, flush the watermelon-stained fabric with cool water. There are two ways to start. You can blot the stain with a white cloth or paper towel dipped in plain cool water and then use a paper towel to blot dry the area. Or, even better, hold the fabric under a running faucet of cold water. Flush from the wrong side of the fabric to force the watermelon juice out of the fibers.

    flushing the stained garment with water
    ​The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
  3. Treat the Stain

    Use an enzyme-based stain remover on the stain or rub in a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent directly onto the stain. Use a detergent that contains enough enzymes to break apart the stain (leading performers include Tide or Persil). Let the stain remover work for at least ten minutes and then wash as recommended on the fabric care label.​

    pretreating the stain with stain remover
    ​The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
  4. Check the Stained Area

    Before tossing the garment in the dryer, check the stained area. If the stain remains, do not dry the clothing, and move to the next step.

    cherry stain on a shirt

    The Spruce / Jorge Gamboa

  5. Mix a Soaking Solution

    Mix a solution of warm water and oxygen-based bleach (brand names are OxiClean, Nellie's All-Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite) following the package directions. Completely submerge the stained item and allow it to soak for at least four hours or overnight. Check the watermelon stain. If it is gone, rinse well, and dry the fabric. If the stain remains, repeat the oxygen bleach step.

    mixing an oxygen bleach solution
    ​The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

How to Remove Watermelon Stains on Carpets and Upholstery

The recommendations for carpet can also be used to remove watermelon stains from indoor or outdoor fabrics and upholstery. Take extra care not to saturate the fabric to prevent excessive moisture in the cushions. If the fabric is vintage or silk, consult an upholstery cleaning professional.

  1. Remove Solids

    Begin by picking up any solid pieces, then use a white cotton cloth or white paper towel to blot up as much of the liquid in the stain as possible.


    Use a gentle touch and don't rub. Rubbing will only push the stain deeper into the fibers.

    Watermelon pieces picked up from carpet with paper towel

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    Mix a solution of 2 teaspoons dishwashing liquid with 2 cups of warm water in a small bowl.

    Dishwashing liquid squeezed into small glass bowl

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Apply the Cleaning Solution to the Stain

    Dip a clean white cloth, sponge, or soft-bristled brush in the solution. Working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center to keep it from spreading, work the cleaning solution into the stain. Blot with a dry cloth to absorb the solution. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the stain is transferred. 

    Cleaning solution scrubbed into watermelon-stained carpet with soft-bristled brush

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  4. Rinse the Stained Area

    Finish by dipping a clean white cloth in plain water to rinse the spot. Blot dry with a clean cloth.


    Rinsing well is an especially important step because any soapy residue left in the carpet will actually attract more soil.

    Damp white cloth rinsing away cleaning solution from carpet

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  5. Air-Dry and Vacuum

    Allow the stain to air-dry away from direct heat and then vacuum to lift any matted carpet fibers.

    Vacuum hose lifting carpet fibers after cleaning

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

If the stain on carpet or upholstery is older or mixed with a darker fruit juice, you may find it's still there. At this point, you need the power of oxygen-based bleach.

Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach in cool water following package directions. Dip a clean cloth into the solution and working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center, work the solution into the carpet or fabric. Do not saturate. Allow the solution to remain on the stain for at least 30 minutes. Dip a clean white cloth in plain water and blot the area to rinse. Air-dry and vacuum to lift fibers.