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

mayonnaise stain on a tee shirt

​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Mayonnaise is a controversial condiment. Some love it and appreciate that it adds a wonderful flavor and richness to sandwiches and foods. Others are far less enthusiastic about it. No matter which side you embrace, we all know it can leave quite an oily spot on clothes, table linens, carpet, and upholstery.

Once you learn the correct way to remove mayo stains, you can use the same method to remove the stains from any oil-based salad dressing or spread.

Mayonnaise Stains on Washable Clothes and Linens

True mayonnaise is made by briskly whisking together egg yolks, oil, and spices into a solid emulsion. When a blob of mayonnaise lands on fabric, use a dull knife, spoon or even the edge of a credit card to lift the solids off the surface of the fabric. Never rub because that can push the stain deeper into the fabric fibers making it even more difficult to remove.

Since the bulk of the problem is an oil-based stain, every mayonnaise stain on washable fabrics should be pretreated using a solvent-based stain removal product, like Shout or Zout. If you don't have a solvent-based pretreater handy, apply a bit of heavy-duty liquid detergent (Tide and Persil are considered heavy-duty and have enough enzymes in the formula to break apart the oil molecules) to the stain and work it in by gently rubbing with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush. 

Allow the stain remover to work for at least fifteen minutes, then wash the garment in the hottest water appropriate for the fabric following the guidelines on the care label. After washing, inspect the stained area before tossing it into the dryer. The high heat of the dryer, especially for synthetic fabrics like polyester, can make the oily stain very difficult to remove. Repeat the treatment if necessary.

using a soft brush on a mayonnaise stain
​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Mayonnaise and Dry Clean Only Clothes

Lift the solid mayonnaise blob from the surface of your dry clean only clothing with a dull knife or utensil edge. No rubbing! When the solids are gone, blot the oily stain with a clean white paper towel or even a slice of white bread to help absorb the oil. As soon as possible head to the dry cleaner and point out and identify the stain so they can use the best treatment.

If you decide to use a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover pen before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

dull knife used to scrape mayonnaise off of a tee shirt
The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

How to Remove Mayonnaise From Carpet and Upholstery

When the mayonnaise blob hits the carpet, the first step is to remove it as quickly as possible. Again, use a dull knife or the edge of a spoon to lift away as much of the mayo as possible. Never rub or wipe the stained area with a paper towel because that will push the mayo deeper into the carpet fibers.

After you have lifted away as much of the mayonnaise as possible, mix a solution of two cups warm water, one tablespoon liquid dishwashing detergent, and two tablespoons distilled white vinegar. Dip a clean white cloth, paper towel or sponge in the solution and wring out the excess moisture. Working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center, blot the mayo stain. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the stain is lifted from the carpet.

To rinse, use another clean cloth dipped in plain water to wipe down the stain. It is important to do this step because any soapy residue left in the carpet will actually attract soil. After rinsing, blot the area with clean paper towels until no more moisture is transferred to the towel.

Allow the area to air dry away from any direct heat. Vacuum to lift and restore the carpet fibers.

The same cleaning solution that works for carpets can be used to clean upholstery. Follow the same steps and be careful not to over-wet the stained area. Excess moisture can cause problems with the cushions or filling.

Always allow the upholstery to air dry away from direct heat or sunlight. If the fabric is silk or vintage, do not attempt to clean it yourself. Call a professional especially if you need more stain removal tips.

wiping down a rug with a mayonnaise stain
​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska