How to Remove Watermelon Stains

How to Remove Watermelon Stains

The Spruce / Michela Buttignol

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 12 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0-10

Watermelon is an irresistible summer treat but can leave behind some pesky pink stains on your clothing, carpet, and upholstery. The stains are caused by the tannins that give the watermelon its color and the sugars that make it sweet. Fortunately, you can remove watermelon stains at home using household products you likely already have in your cupboard, such as oxygen-based bleach and dish detergent. As always, the sooner you treat the stain, the better. Never place a still-stained item in a machine dryer, as the high heat can set the stain and make it permanent.

Stain type Tannin-based, sugar-based
Detergent type Heavy-duty
Water temperature Cold to warm
Cycle type Varied

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

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

Materials

  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Oxygen-based bleach
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Stain remover

Instructions

materials for removing watermelon stains
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

How to Remove Watermelon Stains From Clothes

You can take simple steps to remove watermelon stains from your clothing at home using common household products.

  1. Remove Solids

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

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

    Flush the watermelon-stained fabric as soon as possible. Blot the stain with a white cloth or paper towel dipped in cool water, then place the garment under a running cold water faucet. Let the water run through the underside of the material 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 or dab a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent directly onto the stain. Let the stain remover work for at least ten minutes, and then wash as recommended on the fabric care label. Be sure to use a detergent with adequate enzymes to break apart the stain. Leading brands include Tide and Persil.​

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

    Check the stained area. If the stain remains, do not machine dry the garment 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, such as OxiClean, Nellie's All-Natural Oxygen Brightener, or OXO Brite, following package directions. Completely submerge the stained item and allow it to soak for at least four hours or overnight. If the watermelon stain is gone, rinse well, and dry the fabric. If the mark remains, repeat the oxygen bleach step.

    mixing an oxygen bleach solution
    ​The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

Tip

If a watermelon stain is left untreated for a long time, it will oxidize and change colors. Once the stain changes from pink to yellow or brown, it can become very difficult to treat.

How to Remove Watermelon Stains From Carpets and Upholstery

You may use watermelon stain removal practices on carpet and upholstery interchangeably. Take extra care not to over-saturate the fabric, as excess moisture can create mold and mildew in cushions.

  1. Remove Solids

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

    Watermelon pieces picked up from carpet with paper towel

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    Mix a solution of 2 teaspoons of 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

    Dip a clean white cloth, sponge, or soft-bristled brush in the solution. Apply the solution and work from the outside inward to keep the stain from spreading. Blot with a dry cloth to absorb the solution. Keep moving to a clean cloth area as the color from the stain is transferred.

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

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  4. Rinse

    Rinse by dipping a white cloth in tepid water to cleanse the spot. Blot dry with a clean cloth. Rinsing well is an especially important step because any soapy residue left in the carpet will attract soil.

    Damp white cloth rinsing away cleaning solution from carpet

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  5. Air-Dry and Vacuum

    Air-dry away from direct heat and then vacuum to lift carpet fibers.

    Vacuum hose lifting carpet fibers after cleaning

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

When to Call a Professional

If your watermelon-stained garment is labeled as dry clean only, visit your dry cleaner as soon as possible and identify the stain. If your stained upholstery is vintage or silk, do not attempt to remove the stain at home. Instead, consult a professional cleaner. 

Additional Tips for Handling a Watermelon Stain

If the watermelon stain on your carpet or upholstery is older or mixed with a darker fruit juice, you may find it harder to remove. If this is the case, oxygen-based bleach may be essential. If you're on the go and happen to be carrying hand sanitizer, you can apply a touch to the watermelon stain before continuing the removal process at home. Acids like vinegar and lemon are also helpful in treating fruit juice stains. Although watermelon stains are relatively easy to remove, if the stain persists, feel free to repeat cleaning steps as many times as necessary or contact a professional cleaner for more specialized advice.