How to Remove Yogurt Stains From Clothing and Upholstery

How to Remove Yogurt Stains From Clothes

The Spruce / Joules Garcia

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 4 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Yogurt is a delicious treat, but when a spoonful plops on your shirt or carpet accidentally, it can leave a stain that has a mix of the yogurt base itself and the fruit or other goodies that were in it.

Yogurt stains are protein-based stains like milk and cheese. The protein part of this stain is what makes the stained area yellow and darken with age. Protein-based stains need enzymes to remove all parts of the protein from the fabric fully. A good enzymatic stain remover or a laundry detergent with enzymes will be necessary to get the best results. Protein-based stains also often need to soak in water to get the best stain removal. Just remember to never rub the stain as you'll push it farther into the material's fibers.

Fortunately, the good news is that with a few simple steps and some products you most likely already have on hand, you can remove yogurt stains on clothing, upholstery, and carpet.

Stain type  Protein-based
Detergent type  Enzymatic stain remover, laundry detergent
Water Temperature  Cold
Cycle Type  Varies depending on the type of fabric

Before You Begin

Check the care label on the garment, and if it says "dry clean only," carefully lift off any fresh solid stains with a dull knife or spoon, and take the item to a dry cleaner as soon as possible. Make sure to point out and identify the stain.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Spoon or butter knife
  • Large basin or sink
  • White cloths
  • Vacuum

Materials

  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Spray or gel stain remover
  • Liquid dish soap

Instructions

Materials needed to remove yogurt stains

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

How to Remove Fresh Yogurt Stains

  1. Remove Solids

    Lift off any excess yogurt from the clothing gently using a spoon or the back of a butter knife.

    Tip

    Don't dig too deeply into the fabric, but try to remove any yogurt that hasn't soaked into the fibers.

    Removing yogurt solids with a spoon

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Soak Stained Area

    Soak the stained area in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes.

    Warning

    Don't use hot water to soak the stained area. Yogurt is a protein-based stain, and hot water will set it.

    Soaking the garment to lift the stain

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Treat the Stain

    If the stain remains, add laundry detergent to the stained area and soak again for 30 minutes gently rubbing the stained area every 3 to 5 minutes.

    Use an enzyme-based stain remover on the stain or rub in a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent directly onto the stain. You can also use a detergent that contains enough enzymes to break apart the stain (leading performers include Tide or Persil). 

    Applying detergent to the stained area

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  4. Apply Stain Remover

    Apply a stain remover to the area and allow it to sit for 7 to 10 minutes to soak into the stain.

    Applying stain remover to the garment

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  5. Rinse the Stained Area

    Rinse thoroughly and repeat these steps until the stain is gone.

    Rinsing the stained area

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  6. Wash and Air Dry

    Wash the clothing according to the fabric care label, and let air dry to be sure the stain is fully removed. If the stain is gone, launder as usual, but if the stain is still there, repeat the steps.

    Warning

    Do not put any stained clothing in the dryer as the heat from the dryer will set the stain, and it will be harder to remove or be permanent.

    Laying the garment flat to dry

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

How to Remove Dried Yogurt Stains

  1. Treat the Stain

    Rub an enzymatic heavy-duty laundry detergent on the stained area with your fingers.

    Rubbing detergent into a dried yogurt stain

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Soak

    Soak the clothing in cold water for 30 to 45 minutes. Gently rub the stained area every 3 to 5 minutes before returning it to soak in cold water.

    Soaking the stained garment in a wash basin

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Treat With Stain Remover

    Apply a stain remover and allowing it to sit for 7 to 10 minutes.

    Treating the garment with stain remover

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  4. Rinse the Stained Area

    Rinse thoroughly and continue to repeat these steps until the stain is fully removed. Then wash as normal. Do not dry the clothing until the stain is completely gone.

    Rinsing the garment in water

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

How to Remove Old Yogurt Stains on Clothing

Old yogurt stains on clothing can be very tough to remove. If you've tried all the steps for dried yogurt stains and still have a stained area, you can try using baking soda. Sometimes the baking soda can help pull parts of the stain out of the fabric.

  1. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    Mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup of water.

    Mixing a stain removal solution

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Apply the Solution

    Spread the cleaning solution over the area using your fingers or a spoon.

    Applying the stain removal solution to the stained area

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Air-Dry

    Allow it to completely air dry before continuing with the steps for dried stains.

    Letting the stain removal solution sit

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

How to Remove Yogurt Stains on Upholstery and Carpet

The same method is used for cleaning yogurt stains off upholstery or carpet. Take extra care not to saturate the fabric to prevent excessive moisture in the cushions. If the fabric is vintage or silk, consult an upholstery cleaning professional.

Before cleaning any furniture, always follow the manufacturer's care label on cleaning upholstery. This tag can be found under the sofa cushions or fabric skirt with letter codes that indicate how to clean the furniture.

  1. Remove Solids

    Lift up any excess yogurt carefully with a spoon or the back of a butter knife.

    Removing yogurt solids from the carpet

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Mix Cleaning Solution

    Mix a few drops of dish soap with 2 cups of cold water.

    Mixing a cleaning solution

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Apply the Cleaning Solution

    Sponge the dish soap and water solution gently with a clean white cloth onto the upholstery. Working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center to keep it from spreading, work the cleaning solution into the stain. Blot up the solution gently using a separate white cloth until the stain and wetness are gone. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the stain is transferred. 

    Applying the cleaning solution with a clean cloth

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  4. Rinse the Stained Area

    Dip a clean white cloth in plain water to rinse the spot, then blot dry with a clean cloth

    Warning

    Rinse the stained area well, being careful not to oversaturate. It is important to rinse as any soapy residue left will attract more soil.

    Rinsing the stained area with water

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  5. Air-Dry and Vacuum

    Allow the area to air-dry, keeping it away from direct heat. For carpeting, vacuum to lift any fibers that are matted.

    Vacuuming the carpet

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Additional Tips for Handling Yogurt Stains

  • If the clothing is white, you can try to use bleach to remove the stain as well, although be aware this could damage any pattern or the fabric itself.