How to Remove Cake Icing Stains From Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery

Cake Icing

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Almost everyone thinks that the best part of a cake or cupcake is the icing; the more, the better. But if the icing is brightly colored, it's going to be difficult to remove thanks to the dye in the food coloring.

Icing Stains and Washable Clothes

Most icings are butter or fat-based confections tinted with simple food coloring. For best results, it's important to treat the stain as soon as possible. Start by removing any blobs of icing from the surface of the fabric using a dull-edged knife or the edge of a credit card. Do not rub the area with a napkin because that only pushes the stain deeper into the fabric fibers.

If possible, flush the stained area by holding the wrong side of the fabric under a running cold water faucet. This will force the stain out of the fibers. If you can not flush under a faucet, dip a white napkin or paper towel in plain cold water and blot the stain.

As soon as possible, treat the stained area with a prewash stain remover or a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent (Tide or Persil contain the necessary enzymes to remove the stains). Work the cleaner into the stain with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush and let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes before washing the fabric as recommended on the care label. This treatment will tackle the grease stain from the butter or protein stains from egg whites and may remove the food coloring.

After washing, check the stained area before tossing the garment in the dryer to be sure the stain is removed. High heat may set the stain permanently and make it difficult to remove.

If any color remains, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach and cool water. Submerge the entire garment. Allow it to soak for at least four hours or overnight and then launder as usual. This will remove any remaining dye and is safe to use for all white and colored washable fabrics except for silk, wool, and anything trimmed with leather.

Icing Stains on Dry Clean Only Clothes

If the garment is labeled as dry clean only, immediately remove as much of the icing solids as possible using a dull edge. Sponge the area with a cloth dipped in plain, cold water and then blot to dry. When you take the item to your professional cleaner, point out and identify the stain.

If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

How to Remove Icing Stains from Carpet and Upholstery

When the icing hits the carpet, quickly remove the solids with a dull knife or spoon to prevent the stain from getting spread deeper into the fibers. If you can't clean right away, blot the area with a white cloth or paper towel dipped in plain water. Work from the outside edge toward the center to prevent the stain from getting larger. 

To remove the stain, mix a solution of two teaspoons of dishwashing liquid and two cups cool water. Dip a sponge, white cloth, or soft-bristled brush in the solution. Start at the outside edge of the stain and work the cleaning solution into the stained area. Blot with a clean white cloth or paper towel to transfer the stain out of the carpet. Keep moving to a clean, dry area of the cloth until no more stain is transferred.

Dip a clean white cloth into some plain water to rinse the area. It is particularly important to rinse away any cleaning solution that can actually attract soil to the area. Blot until no more soapy residue remains.

If any color remains from the food dye, mix a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide to one part water. Blot the area with the solution and allow to dry. NOTE: Do not use hydrogen peroxide on dark colored carpet or upholstery because it can cause bleaching that cannot be reversed.

Allow the carpet to air dry away from direct sunlight and heat. Vacuum to lift carpet fibers.

The same cleaning techniques recommended for carpet can be used to remove cake icing stains from upholstery. Take extra care to not overwet the fabric which will leave moisture in the cushions.

If the upholstery is silk or vintage consult a professional upholstery cleaner.