How to Remove Cherry Stains From Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery

How to Remove Cherry Stains

The Spruce / Michela Buttignol

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr - 1 hr, 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5

Cherry stains range from the watery purple of natural cherries to the candy red of maraschino cherries to the light pink of real cherry juice drinks like Mott's Fruit Punch. Stains from natural cherries are easier to remove than artificial coloring agents since they don't contain any additional dyes.

As with many types of stains, never machine dry the item before checking it to be sure that none of the stain remains. The high heat of the dryer can set the stain making it more difficult to remove. Read on to learn how most cherry stains can be conquered from home using common cleaners and detergents.

Before You Begin

Stains from cherries with added dyes usually require stronger cleaners and more steps to remove the pigment.

If the cherry stain is on a garment labeled as dry clean only, remove any solids and blot the area with a white cloth to remove as much of the stain as possible, then bring the garment to a professional dry cleaner. If using a home dry cleaning kit, treat the stain first with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the kit's cleaning bag.

If you get a cherry stain on silk or vintage upholstery, have it cleaned by a professional.

Stain Type Tannin, dye
Detergent Type Stain remover and heavy-duty laundry detergent
Water Temperature Cold then hot
1:01

Click Play to Learn How to Remove Cherry Stains From Clothing

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

Clothes and Linens

  • Dull knife or credit card
  • White cloth or paper towel
  • Soft bristle brush or old toothbrush

Carpet and Upholstery

  • Spoon or dull knife
  • White cloth, sponge, or paper towel

Materials

Clothes and Linens

  • Prewash stain remover
  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Oxygen-based bleach (Optional)
  • Chlorine-based bleach (Optional)

Carpet and Upholstery

  • Liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Water

Instructions

Materials and tools to remove cherry stains from clothes & upholstery

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

How to Remove Cherry Stains From Washable Clothes and Linens

  1. Remove Any Solids

    Lift any solid matter away from the fabric's surface with a dull knife or the edge of a credit card. Be careful not to rub the stain because that will force it deeper into the fibers. If the stain is liquid, like cherry juice or Kool-Aid, blot it with a plain white cloth or paper towel.

    Cherry fruit solids removed with dull knife from white fabric

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Pretreat the Stain

    If the stain is fresh, hold the fabric under a faucet and flush it with cold water to force it out of the fibers, running the water through the reverse side of the stain. Use a prewash stain remover on the stain. Work the stain remover into the stain with a soft-bristled brush and allow it to remain on the stain for at least 15 minutes before washing. If you don't have a stain remover, use a bit of heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent for pretreating. 

    Fabric with cherry stains rinsed under running water from sink faucet

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Wash the Fabric

    Wash the item in the hottest water recommended for the fabric, using a heavy-duty laundry detergent (Tide and Persil are two good options that contain enzymes to break down cherry stains). Confirm that the stain is gone before drying the item.

    Tip

    Never use natural soap (in bar or flake form) because cherries have tannins that are difficult to remove with that type of soap.

    Heavy duty laundry detergent poured into washing machine

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  4. If Red Dye Stain Remains

    Mix a bleaching agent and warm water in a bucket or sink, following the package directions. Completely submerge the stained items and allow them to soak for 30 minutes or as recommended.

    White fabrics made of natural fibers (Cotten and linen): Use a solution of chlorine bleach and water

    Colored clothes or white synthetic fabrics: Use oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Country Save Bleach, or Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach) and water.

    Tip

    Natural, DIY bleaching agents that you might already have in your home include white distilled vinegar and lemon juice for white clothing and linens and hydrogen peroxide for colored fabrics.

    Oxygen-based bleach poured on to cherry-stained fabric in white bucket with water

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

How to Remove Cherry Stains From Carpet and Upholstery

You can use the same products and techniques to treat cherry stains on carpet and upholstery. Take care when cleaning upholstery not to over-wet the stained areas. Excessive moisture in the cushions can cause mildew problems.

  1. Lift and Blot

    Use a spoon or a dull knife to lift any solid cherry pieces from the carpet or upholstery fabric. Avoid rubbing, which spreads the stain and pushes it deeper into the fibers. Next, use a white paper towel or clean white cloth to blot up as much moisture as possible. Work from the outside edge of the stain toward the center to keep the stain from spreading.

    Paper towel blotting cherry stain from tan carpet

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Blot the Stain With Cleaning Solution

    Mix a solution of one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with two cups of lukewarm water. Dip a white cloth, sponge, or paper towel into the solution and blot the cherry stain. Keep moving to a clean cloth area as the stain comes out. Repeat until no more stain transfers to the cloth.

    Liquid dishwashing detergent poured into measuring cup with water

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Rinse the Area

    When no more stain is transferred, dip a clean white cloth in plain water and "rinse" by blotting the stain again. It is essential to rinse the detergent out of the carpet and upholstery because soap residue attracts soil. Be careful not to wet upholstery cushions too much to prevent moisture problems.

    Cleaned carpet rinsed with white rag and clean water

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  4. Air Dry and Vacuum

    Allow the area to air-dry, preferably out of direct sunlight. Also, vacuum the carpet to lift and separate the fibers.

    Tan carpet fibers lifted with vacuum hose after cleaning stain

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Additional Tips for Handling Cherry Stains

For tough carpet and upholstery stains with added red dye, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach in cool water, following the package directions. Dip a clean sponge into the solution or use an eyedropper to apply to the stain. Work the solution into the carpet or fabric, moving from the outside edge of the stain toward the center. Do not get the area overly wet. Allow the solution to remain on the stain for at least 30 minutes before blotting it away with a clean cloth dampened with water.

On a white carpet, you can also use hydrogen peroxide. Apply a few drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide onto the stained area. Let it work for one hour, then blot it with a clean cloth. There is no need to rinse because exposure to light turns hydrogen peroxide into plain water. Repeat if necessary. Allow the carpet to dry completely and vacuum to restore the carpet's pile.