How to Remove Ice Cream Stains From Clothing and Upholstery

How to Remove Ice Cream Stains from Clothes

The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $3

Ice cream may appear harmless, but it is protein-based and can be one of the most difficult dried stains to remove fully. It may seem completely gone, but then a brown or yellowish ring turns up. Never dry the item in the clothes dryer unless you can definitively confirm the stain is fully removed; otherwise, you may have a very difficult time removing the stain completely from the clothing. Read on to learn how to get rid of ice cream stains once and for all.

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Click Play to Learn How to Quickly Remove Ice Cream Stains From Clothing

Stain Type Protein-based
Detergent Type Liquid laundry detergent
Water Temperature Cold
Cycle Type Varies depending on the fabric

Before You Begin

Getting to a stain fast will determine how easy it is to remove the stain. To keep a stain from setting, add cold water to the stain. Hot water starts to cook the protein causing it to absorb into clothing fibers and make it almost impossible to remove. Dried ice cream stains on clothing have a few extra steps. Follow the "Dried Ice Cream" steps first, then continue with the ice cream removal instructions.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Dull knife or spoon
  • Clean white cloth
  • Sponge

Materials

  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Stain remover spray, stick, or gel
  • Liquid dishwashing soap (Upholstery)
  • Cool water

Instructions

materials and supplies needed for ice cream stain removal
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

How to Remove Ice Cream From Clothes

  1. Treat the Spill

    Put the stained fabric into cold water for 5 to 10 minutes or longer if the stain is dried. Avoid hot water, which will set a protein stain.

    garment submerged in cold water
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 
  2. Rub Laundry Detergent Into the Stain

    If you can still see any remains of the stain, rub liquid laundry detergent into the stained area and soak it in room temperature water for 30 minutes. Rub the stain gently every few minutes.

    Tip

    If you don't have liquid laundry detergent, try dish soap instead.

    adding laundry detergent to the stained item
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
  3. Rinse and Add Stain Remover

    After rinsing the clothing, add a stain remover to the stained area. Allow it to sit for seven to 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with cold water.

    person rinsing the affected item
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
  4. Repeat Steps Until Stain Is Gone

    Repeat the soaking and stain remover steps until no ice cream is left in the clothing. Be sure you don't see any remaining stain because once the fabric is dried, it will be nearly impossible to remove. Proceed with washing the clothing according to the fabric directions.

    person checking to see if stain has been lifted
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

How to Remove Dried Ice Cream Stains

  1. Scrape Off Stain Remnants

    Try to remove as much of the dried ice cream as possible using a spoon or a dull knife.

    using a dull knife to remove dried ice cream stains
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
  2. Apply Laundry Detergent and Soak

    Rub liquid laundry detergent into the stained area and allow the stain to soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes.

  3. Rub the Stain

    Gently rub the stained area between your fingers every three to five minutes to allow the liquid detergent to penetrate the stain fully.

  4. Follow the Steps Above for Ice Cream Stain Removal

    Complete the steps for "How to Remove Ice Cream From Clothing."

How to Remove Ice Cream Stains From Upholstery

  1. Blot the Stain

    Blot excess ice cream from the fabric, but be careful not to spread it and make the stain larger.

  2. Make and Apply a Soap Solution

    Mix 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with 2 cups of cool water. Sponge the spot with this solution on a clean white cloth, then blot until the liquid is absorbed. Only wet the upholstery as little as necessary to remove the stain.

  3. Repeat the Steps Until Stain Is Gone

    Repeat this process until the stain is lifted.

  4. Sponge Away the Soap

    Once the stain is completely gone, use plain cold water on a new white cloth and sponge the area to remove the remainder of the cleaning solution. Blot dry.

Additional Tips to Remove Ice Cream Stains

If the stain persists, put it through another wash cycle without putting it through the clothes dryer. Air dry the item to see if it still has the stain since it can be difficult to tell if the stain is still there when looking at wet fabric. If the stained area still has a slightly yellowish or brownish area, repeat the stain removal steps until the stain is entirely gone. Putting the clothing in a dryer may set the stain forever, so you'll need to be sure it is entirely gone before drying.

  • Act quickly once the stain has happened. The longer you wait to treat the stain, the harder it will be to remove it.
  • An ice cream stain is a protein stain, so use cool water to pre-treat the stain. Hot water can cause the stain to set further.
  • To prevent the stain from setting, you can also saturate the stain with club soda.