How to Remove Watermelon Stains from Clothes and Carpets

watermelons and stained fabric

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

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

Project Metrics

Working time: 15 minutes

Total time: 6 hours

Before You Begin

If the stained garment is labeled as dry clean only, take the item into a professional 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.

What You'll Need


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


  • Washing machine or large basin
  • Small bowl
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • White cloth
materials for removing watermelon stains
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 


  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 (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.​

    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.

  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 steps.

    mixing an oxygen bleach solution
    ​The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

Remove Watermelon Stains on Carpets and Upholstery

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.

  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.

  2. Mix a Cleaning Solution

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

  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. 

  4. Rinse the Stained Area

    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.

  5. Air-Dry and Vacuum

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

  6. Treat Older Set-in Stains

    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 again blot the area to "rinse". Saturate the area with the plain water 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.