Remove Peanut Butter Stains from Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery

Girls eating peanut butter
  martinedoucet / Getty Images

Whether it is your favorite brand from a jar or homemade, peanut butter is a staple in many households. Unfortunately, not all of it lands in our mouths and some ends up smeared across our clothes, carpet, and upholstery. Here are the steps on how to remove peanut butter stains from all types of fabric.

How to Remove Peanut Butter from Washable Clothes

Peanut butter is an oily stain that can usually be removed easily from washable clothes. First, use a dull knife or spoon or the edge of a credit card to lift off any excess peanut butter from the surface of the fabric. Do not rub the stain with a cloth because that will push the peanut butter deeper into the fibers of the fabric making it much harder to remove.

Treat the stained area with a solvent-based stain remover like Zout, Shout, or Spray 'n Wash. If you don't have a stain remover, use a bit of heavy duty liquid laundry detergent (Tide or Persil are leading brands) to treat the stain. These detergents contain enough enzymes to break apart the oily component of peanut butter and surfactants to lift it away. Less expensive brands may not work as well.

Rub the stain remover into the stain with your fingers or a soft bristled brush. Allow the stain remover or detergent to sit on the fabric at least 15 minutes to begin dissolving the oily stain. Next, wash the garment or table linen in the hottest water recommended for the fabric on the care label. Check the stained area before drying. If the stain is not gone, repeat the process. If there is still a stain, drying the item on high heat will make the oil even more difficult to remove.

Peanut Butter Stains on Dry Clean Only Clothes

If the garment is labeled as dry clean only, the first step is to lift away as much of the peanut butter as possible with a dull knife or spoon. You can spot clean the stain with a dry cleaning solvent. Always test the solvent on an inside seam to be sure it will not fade the fabric and follow product label directions. 

The safest choice for most peanut butter stains on dry clean only garments is to point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner as soon as possible. If you are using 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.

Peanut Butter Stains on Carpet and Upholstery

If your open faced peanut butter sandwich lands upside down on the carpet, the first step is to move as quickly as possible. Again, use a dull knife or the edge of a spoon to lift away as much of the solid peanut butter as possible. Never wipe or rub the area with a paper towel because that will push the stain deeper into the carpet fibers.

After you have removed as much of the peanut butter 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 excess moisture. Working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center, begin cleaning the peanut butter stain. Working from the outside toward the center will keep the stain from spreading. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the stain is lifted from the carpet into the cloth.

To rinse, use another clean cloth dipped in plain water to wipe down the stain. It is important to do this step because if you leave soapy residue in the carpet it will actually attract soil. Allow the area to air dry with no direct heat. Vacuum to lift and restore carpet fibers.

The same cleaning solution that you use for carpet can be used for upholstery. Be particularly careful not to oversaturate the fabric. Too much moisture can cause mildew to form in the furniture stuffing. Rinse with a cloth dipped in plain water and allow to air dry away from direct heat and sunlight.

If the upholstery is silk or vintage, consult a professional.