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

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Dropping a bit of fresh, canned, or frozen corn on your clothes or carpet is not a big problem. It is the "stuff" like butter or cheese we add to corn that can create a tough stain to remove. But whether it's your shirt, tie, or carpet, learn how to remove the stains with ease.

Corn Stains and Washable Clothes

As soon as possible, use a dull knife or a spoon or even the edge of a credit card to remove any excess corn and/or butter from your garment. Don't rub because if you rub the area with a napkin, it will only push the stain deeper into the fabric fibers.

Then, as soon as possible, flush the stained area with cold water. Hold the fabric with the wrong side under a running faucet of cold water to push out the stain. Pretreat the stained area with a prewash stain remover like Shout or Resolve. If you don't have a stain remover, use a bit of heavy-duty laundry detergent like Tide or Persil that contains enough enzymes to break apart the stain so it can be washed away. Allow the stain removal product to sit on the stained area for at least fifteen minutes and then wash as usual.

Check the stained area before putting the garment in the dryer because high heat can set the stain.  If the stain remains, repeat the treatment steps.

If your corn was covered in butter or a cheese sauce, you may need to follow even more steps to ensure the stain can be removed.

Dry Clean Only Clothes

If the garment is labeled as dry clean only, lift away any solids and blot the area with a dry white paper towel. As soon as possible, head to the dry cleaners and point out and identify the stain. If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stained area with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag. 

If the stain is oily from butter or cheese, you will have better stain removal results if you use a commercial dry cleaning solvent to treat the stain before using the home dry cleaning kit.

How to Remove Corn Stains from Carpet and Upholstery

When the corn hits the carpet, use that dull knife or credit card edge to lift away all the excess solids. Next, mix one tablespoon of dish washing liquid with two cups of warm water. Stir well to mix completely.

Using a clean white cloth or paper towel, sponge the cleaning solution into the carpet fibers. Always work from the outside edge of the stain toward the center to prevent spreading the stain even larger. Next, use a clean dry cloth and blot the area until the cleaning solution is absorbed. Repeat the treatment steps a couple of times, if needed, with the cleaning solution until the stain is removed.

If the stain isn't coming up or contains butter or an oily component, create a new cleaning solution of one tablespoon of ammonia and two cups warm water. Follow the same sponging steps using the ammonia solution. Again, always work from the outside edge of the stain toward the center.

Rinsing away any cleaning solution residue is the final step. It is important to remove all of the solution from the carpet because the soap can actually attract soil. Wet a clean white towel or paper towel with plain water and sponge to rinse away any soapy residue. Allow the carpet to air dry away from direct heat. Finally, vacuum the stained area to lift the carpet fibers.

For corn stains on most upholstery, follow the same cleaning method as for carpets but take extra care not to overwet the fabric. Excessive moisture in the furniture cushions can lead to mildew and mold growth. If the upholstery fabric is silk or vintage, consult a professional cleaner to prevent damaging the fabric or if you need more stain removal tips.