How to Remove Beer Stains From Clothing

How to Remove Beer Stains From Clothing

The Spruce / Ellen Lindner

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 10 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins - 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

Unlike red wine stains, beer spills are usually light in color and may not seem like too much trouble. But the worst part of a beer stain isn't the mark left on your clothing; it is the smell—old, dried beer emits a pretty foul odor. Quickly treating beer-soaked clothing can mean the difference between a smelly, set stain and an outfit that looks (and smells) good as new.

While it's easier to get rid of a fresh spill, even dried beer stains can be removed. Just make sure to use only cold water (never hot) during the stain removal process. Cold water works best to eliminate smelly stains; hot water may set the odor, making it much harder to remove.

Learn how to remove both new and old beer stains from any type of clothing with these simple steps.

Stain Type Alcohol-based 
Detergent Type  Laundry detergent, dish soap
Water Temperature  Cold
Cycle Type  Normal

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Clean sponge

Materials

  • Liquid laundry detergent or dish soap
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda

Instructions

Materials needed to remove beer stains from clothing

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Steps to Remove Fresh Beer Stains

  1. Rinse With Cold Water

    Rinse the beer stain thoroughly from the back of the clothing with cold water. Flushing from the back of the stain pushes the beer out the way it came so that fewer fibers are affected.

    rinsing the back of the stain with cold water

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

  2. Soak in Cold, Soapy Water

    Mix a squirt of liquid laundry detergent with cold water and pour onto the beer stain. Allow the detergent to stand on the beer stain for at least five minutes.

    If you don't have laundry detergent, use dish soap instead.

    Rinse the stained area thoroughly with cold water.

    using detergent on a beer stain in lieu of detergent

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

  3. Sponge With Vinegar and Rinse

    Sponge the stained area with a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water. Once you've thoroughly wet the stain, rinse the vinegar out immediately and thoroughly with warm water.

    Tip

    Before using vinegar on your clothing, make sure the fabric is colorfast by testing the solution on a hidden seam to make sure it doesn't lighten or bleach the garment.

    Mixing a white vinegar and water solution

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

  4. Wash as Recommended

    Wash according to the garment's care label directions. Allow the clothing to air dry to make sure the stain is gone. If traces of color or odor remain, repeat the above steps.

    Once the stain is fully removed, your clothing can be washed and dried on the appropriate dryer cycle.

    Choosing a wash cycle for a beer stained garment

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Steps to Remove Dried Beer Stains

  1. Soap the Stained Area

    Wet the stained area with cold water. Use a few drops of liquid laundry detergent or dish soap and rub it onto the stained area and allow it to sit for five minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

    Adding detergent to the beer stain

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. Sprinkle With Baking Soda

    Sprinkle some baking soda onto the stained area to help absorb odors and any leftover stains. After about 15 minutes rinse away the baking soda.

    Repeat with laundry detergent or dish soap and rinse with cold water until the stain is gone.

    Sprinkling baking soda on the stained area

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  3. Sponge With Vinegar and Rinse

    Sponge the stained area with a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water. Once you've thoroughly wet the stain, rinse the vinegar out immediately and thoroughly with warm water.

    Sponging vinegar onto the stained area

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  4. Wash as Recommended

    Wash according to the garment's care label directions. Allow the clothing to air dry to make sure the stain is gone. If traces of color or odor remain, repeat the above steps.

    Once the stain is fully removed, your clothing can be washed and dried on the appropriate dryer cycle.

    Washing the garment after stain removal

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Additional Tips for Handling Beer Stains

Delicate fabrics like satin or lace can be tricky to work with, but a bit of careful persistence should eliminate a beer stain. Follow the steps above, making sure to handle the fabric gently and hand-wash or launder as directed.

If you are trying to remove beer stains from a cotton t-shirt or another lightweight, washable fabric, you should have easy success—especially if the spill is fresh. 

But, if the stain is set on thicker fabric like denim, sweater material, fleece, or flannel, you may need to repeat the stain removal steps multiple times to fully eliminate the beer odor.

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