8 Simple Steps to Remove Dried Fruit Stains

Young woman eating strawberry and spilling juice on t-shirt
Silke Weinsheimer/Getty Images

Dealing with a fruit, jam, or jelly stain when it first happens and you're nearly guaranteed success. But if that same stain dries on your clothing, things can get a little more dicey. Try these tips and strategies to remove even the brightest and most stubborn stain.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 35 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Remove excess fruit.Use a dull knife or a spoon to gently scrape away any of the fruit that remains on the fabric. Be careful, rubbing too vigorously can damage the clothing. Your goal is to get rid of any of the stain that hasn't absorbed into the fabric. Dried fruit stains will often have seeds or bits of fruit that are still stuck to the fabric. Removing these will make it easier to get rid of the stain.
  2. Create and apply a pasteMix either 3 tablespoons of borax or baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water together to create a thick paste. Using a spoon or dull knife, apply the paste in a layer over the stained area on the fabric. Make the layer as thick as will completely cover the stained area. The thickness of the paste will draw out more of the stain.
  3. Allow the paste to dry.Leave the paste on the stained area for at least 15 minutes. The paste will soak into the stained area and absorb much of the stain. Using lukewarm water, rinse the paste off of the fabric completely. It may help to rinse the stain and the paste away through the back of the fabric.
  1. Treat with liquid laundry detergent.Using your favorite laundry detergent, rub several drops directly onto the stained area. Allow the area to sit for a few minutes before you proceed to the next step.
  2. Rinse with hot water.Stretch the clothing over the sink so that the stained area faces down. Using the hottest water that the fabric will tolerate, force hot water through the clothing to push the stain back through the front of the fabric. The hottest water from a sink may be hot enough to remove the stain. If you choose to heat water in a microwave or on the stovetop, use immense caution to avoid getting burned or damaging the fabric.
  3. Apply a stain remover.Choose your favorite laundry stain remover stick, spray, or gel and apply it to the stained area. Be sure to thoroughly follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  4. Use a bleaching agent if necessary.As a last resort, you can try a mild bleaching agent to remove the stain. This is a last resort for clothing that has any type of pattern, color, or design on it since the bleaching may also remove those items. Try vinegar or lemon juice gently sponged onto the stained area. Leaving clothing in the sun can also increase the bleaching effects, so be careful not to go too far. Rinse the area again.
  1. Wash normally.When the stain has been completely removed, wash the clothing normally. Be sure to check the stain again before drying. Drying even a faint hint of a stain in the dryer will cause it to set permanently, so if you do see any remainder of the stain, repeat the stain removal steps above until it is gone, or you give up.


  1. Borax and baking soda will both work effectively as a paste. Choose the one that you have or are used to using. There is no need to mix the ingredients together.
  2. Liquid laundry detergent works more effectively than powdered because it soaks into the stain and the fibers of the clothing.
  3. Usually, the hottest water from the sink is enough to get rid of the stain for me. For particularly tough stains, you can heat water on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  4. Be careful if you decide to use a mild bleaching agent on your laundry. Even lemon juice can fade colors and discolor patterns.

What You Need:

  • Spoon or dull knife
  • Borax or baking soda
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Hot water
  • Stain remover stick, gel, or spray
  • Vinegar or lemon juice