How to Remove Chicken Stains From Clothes and Carpet
Poultry, including chicken, turkey, and duck, is a versatile, healthy, and tasty protein, as long as it stays on your plate or in your mouth. If dropped onto your clothing, carpet, or upholstery, however, poultry can leave a mark. Choosing the way to treat the stains most successfully depends on whether the meat is raw or how it was prepared.
Note that if your poultry was cooked or covered in a thick sauce, such as gravy, barbecue sauce, tomato sauces, or melted cheese, then you'll need to follow specific removal tips for those types of stains. However, for plain or lightly sauced poultry, the following guidelines will help you quickly and easily remove stains from your clothing, upholstery, or carpet.
Before You Begin
Before you wash any item, carefully read the garment care label. If a piece of sauce-laden poultry lands on a dry-clean-only garment, remove any solids by lifting away from the fabric with a dull knife or spoon edge. Take care not to rub the stain into the fibers. Next, blot the stain with a white cloth and take the garment to a dry cleaner as soon as possible.
If the poultry stain is on silk or vintage upholstery, remove solids with a dull knife, and sprinkle the stain with baking soda or cornstarch to absorb oil. Do not try cleaning these materials on your own.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
Clothing or Table Linens
- White cloth or paper towel
- Soft-bristle brush
- Washing machine
Carpet or Upholstery
- White cloth or paper towels
- Mixing bowl
- Vacuum cleaner (optional)
Clothing or Table Linens
- Baking soda or cornstarch
- Laundry stain remover spray or gel
- Heavy-duty laundry detergent (optional)
Carpet or Upholstery
- Liquid dishwashing soap
Removing Raw Chicken Stains on Clothing
Flush Fabric Before Washing
If the poultry is raw and it is dropped onto a washable fabric, quickly remove the solids. As soon as possible, flush the stained area by holding the fabric with the wrong side under a running cold water faucet to force out the stain. Never use hot water because that can cook the proteins in the raw meat's juices into the fabric fibers and make the stain more difficult to remove. After flushing, launder as recommended on the garment's care label.
Removing Poultry Stains From Clothing or Table Linens
Cooked poultry usually produces an oily stain from the rendered fat. Even poultry with the skin removed can produce an oily stain, especially if oil was used during the cooking process.
Sprinkle Stain With Powder
Lift away the chicken pieces and sprinkle the stained area with baking soda or cornstarch. Let the powder sit for 10 minutes or so to absorb oil, and then shake away excess powder into the trash or sink. Blot the spot with a clean white cloth or paper towel to further absorb oils.
Apply Laundry Stain Remover
Treat the stained area with a solvent-based laundry stain remover like Shout or Zout. If you don't have a stain remover on hand, substitute a bit of heavy-duty laundry detergent. Use your fingers or a soft brush, such as an old toothbrush, to work the stain remover thoroughly into the stain. Let the garment sit for 15 minutes.
Wash in Hot Water
Launder the garment or table linen in the hottest water recommended as safe on the care label. When the washing machine is finished, examine the fabric. If the stain is gone, dry as usual. If traces of the stain remain, however, repeat step 2 and wash again.
Never put a stained garment into a clothes dryer before you've removed the stain, as this can cause the mark to set permanently into the fabric.
Removing Poultry Stains From Carpet or Upholstery
You can use the same process and cleanser to treat both carpet and upholstery. However, take care not to overly wet upholstered cushions, as this can cause odor or mildew to develop in the cushion filling.
Lift away solid chicken pieces with your fingers or a napkin. Blot with a clean white cloth or paper towel to absorb excess oils.
Apply Cleaning Solution
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap in 2 cups of water. Use a clean sponge or white cloth to dab the solution into the stained area.
Blot Up the Stain
Blot the cleansed area with another clean white cloth or paper towel. You should see the stain breaking up and transferring to your cloth. Rotate the cloth as required so that you don't push the poultry oils back into the cleaned area.
Rinse Away Soap
Rinse the cleaned area by blotting it with a clean white cloth or paper towel dampened with plain, cool water. Continue to blot until all traces of soap are removed. Let the carpet or upholstery air dry, and then vacuum carpet to lift the fibers back into place.
When to Call a Professional
Dry-clean-only clothes will need cleaning by a dry cleaner. Point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner. Similarly, call a professional upholstery cleaner if the stain is on silk or vintage upholstery.
If the poultry stain persists on regular-wash clothes, despite your best efforts using the above guidelines, it's time for professional assistance. Cleaning experts use heavy-duty solvents that might be able to get the stain out. Take the stained garment or table linen to a professional dry cleaner, or call professional carpet or upholstery cleaners. Be sure to let the cleaner know the nature of the stain, as well as all of the steps you've already taken in an attempt to remove it.
Additional Tips for Handling Poultry Stains
If the stain persists, repeat all the cleaning steps at least twice. If, after those attempts, the stain doesn't come out, get the help of a professional cleaner.
After the stain is successfully removed, continue washing the item as you usually would per the garment care tag or instructions.