How to Remove Red Meat Stains From Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery

How to Remove Beef and Red Meat Stains From Clothing and Fabric

The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 - 20 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0-$10

Whether you like a juicy New York strip steak, a pot roast, or a simple ground meat patty, beef and other red meats like lamb, venison, and bison make delicious additions to our modern menus. Unfortunately, these meats can leave ugly red and brown stains if they spill on clothing, carpets, or upholstered furniture.

Treating these stains is pretty simple, though, as long as you follow steps according to the type of spill. Raw meat splotches and splatters should be treated as blood-based stains, but cooked meat often contains more grease and requires oil removal techniques.

 Stain Type Protein- and oil-based
 Detergent Type Heavy duty, liquid
Water Temperature  Cold to hot
 Cycle Type Varies depending on the type of fabric

Before You Begin

If raw red meat drops on fabric, treat the spot like a bloodstain:

  • Flush the stained area by holding it with the back side of the stain directly under running cold water to force the blood out of the fibers.
  • After flushing, launder as recommended on the care label.

For cooked meat stains, the process involves a couple more tactics to ensure that the meat grease is fully removed from the fabric. Red meat that has been cooked usually produces an oily stain from the rendered fat. Even lean red meat like bison will still produce an oily stain.

Learn how to treat cooked meat stains using the following instructional steps.


Never use hot water to flush a raw meat stain because it can "cook" the protein in the blood, binding it to the fabric fibers and making the stain more difficult to remove.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Dull knife or spoon
  • Paper towels or clean, white cloths
  • Sponge
  • Washing machine (clothing)
  • Vacuum (carpets)


  • Solvent-based stain remover or heavy-duty liquid detergent
  • Corn starch or a slice of white bread (optional)
  • Dishwashing liquid


Materials for removing red meat stains

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Steps to Remove Cooked Red Meat Stains From Clothes

  1. Remove Solids

    Use a dull knife or spoon to lift any cooked meat solids off the fabric.

    Removing meat solids from a garment

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. Blot and Absorb

    Blot the stain with a plain white paper towel or napkin to absorb as much oil as possible. If you have a bit of cornstarch, sprinkle it on the stain to help absorb the oil.


    In a pinch, a slice of white bread can absorb an oil spill until you can treat the stain with stain remover and detergent.

    Sprinkling cornstarch on a stained area

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  3. Break up the Stain

    Apply a solvent-based stain remover or a heavy-duty liquid detergent such as Tide or Persil (these brands contain the necessary enzymes to break apart the oil molecules) directly to the stain, and work it in by gently rubbing the fabric with your fingers. 

    Let the stain remover sit on the stain for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

    Spraying stain remover on a garment

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  4. Wash as Directed

    Wash as recommended on the care label using the hottest water suggested.


    Some meat stains are combination stains due to the method of cooking and added ingredients. Look for specific tips to remove gravy, BBQ saucecheese sauce, or steak sauce.

    Consulting the garment care label for instructions

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Steps to Remove Red Meat Stains From Carpet

  1. Remove Solids and Blot

    Remove any solids as quickly as possible. Immediately blot the stain with a plain white cloth or paper towel to absorb either the oil or blood. 

    Removing meat solids from carpet with a dull knife

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. Soap the Stain

    Mix a solution of 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid and 2 cups of lukewarm water. Use a sponge or your fingers to work the solution into the stain.

    Start at the outside edge and work toward the center to keep the stain from spreading.

    Mixing a soapy solution

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  3. Blot the Stain

    Use a white cloth or paper towel to blot away the stain as it is lifted from the fibers by the soap solution.

    Blotting the stain with soapy water

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  4. Rinse and Blot Again

    Use a sponge to "rinse" the stained area with plain water. If you leave a soapy residue in the carpet fibers it will attract soil over time.

    Keep blotting with a clean white cloth until no more soap remains.

    Blotting the area a second time with a sponge

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  5. Air Dry and Vacuum

    Allow the area to air-dry away from direct heat or sunlight and then vacuum to lift carpet fibers.

    Vacuuming the carpet to lift the fibers

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

When to Call a Professional

  • If you spill meat on a garment that is vintage, silk, or labeled as dry clean only, remove any solids by lifting away from the fabric with a dull knife, spoon edge, or even the edge of a credit card.
  • Next, blot the stain with a dry white cloth or paper towel and head to the dry cleaner. Point out the stain to your professional cleaner. Be sure to mention if additional sauces or ingredients were involved.

Additional Tips for Handling Red Meat Stains

The same cleaning tips recommended for carpet can be used to remove meat stains from upholstered fabrics. Take extra care when cleaning not to over-wet the fabric, though. Excessive moisture in the cushions can cause mildew and rot.