Removing Watermelon Stains from Clothes and Carpets

Children eating watermelon.

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There is nothing that says summer like the taste of watermelon. The downside of that big juicy wedge is that it drips and leaves some 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.

Removing Watermelon Stains from Washable Clothes

As soon as possible, flush the watermelon stained fabric with cool water. 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. Or, even better, hold the fabric under a running faucet of cold water. Flush from the wrong side of the fabric to force the stain out of the fibers.

Next, use a commercial stain remover like Shout, Resolve, or Zout on the stain or rub in a bit of heavy duty liquid detergent directly on the stain that contains enough enzymes to break apart the stain (Tide or Persil are the leading performers). Let the stain remover work for at least ten minutes and then wash as recommended on the fabric care label.​

Before tossing the garment in the dryer, check the stained area. If the stain remains, do not dry the clothing. Instead, mix a solution of warm water and oxygen-based bleach (brand names are: OxiClean, Nellie's All Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite) following package directions. Completely submerge the stained item and allow it to soak at least four hours or overnight. Check the stain. If it is gone, rinse well and dry the fabric. If the stain remains, repeat the oxygen bleach steps.

Removing Watermelon Stains from Dry Clean Only Clothes

If the stained garment is labeled as dry clean only, take the item into the cleaner as soon as possible and 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.

Watermelon Stains on Carpets and Upholstery

When watermelon hits the carpet, don't panic. Begin by picking up any solid pieces. 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 push the stain deeper into the fibers.

Mix a solution of two teaspoons of dishwashing detergent in two cups of warm water. Dip a clean white cloth, sponge, or soft bristle 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. 

Finish by dipping a clean cloth in plain water to "rinse" the spot. This is especially important because any soapy residue left in the carpet will actually attract more soil. Allow the stain to air dry away from direct heat. Vacuum to lift the carpet fibers.

If the stain is older or mixed with a darker fruit juice, 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. Do not overwet. Allow the solution to remain on the stain for at least 30 minutes before blotting away.

Next, dip a clean white cloth in plain water and blot the area to "rinse". Saturate the area and then blot dry with a clean cloth. Allow the carpet to air dry away from direct heat and sunlight. Vacuum to lift any matted fibers.

The recommendations for carpet can also be used to remove watermelon stains from indoor or outdoor upholstery. Take extra care not to overwet the fabric to prevent excessive moisture in the cushions. If the fabric is vintage or silk, consult an upholstery cleaning professional or if you need more stain removal tips.