Those gorgeous flowers that were delivered may have brightened your day, but did they leave your sleeve with pollen stains? If you look at pollen under a microscope, you see that it has barbs, tendrils, and other structures to latch onto pollinators, like bees, and the fur of animals so that it can be spread around. Nature's ingenious design for propagating plants is working against you in getting the pollen out of your clothing.
Follow these steps quickly to remove the pollen stains, keeping in mind that it's harder to remove pollen once it's been rubbed into the clothing.
How to Remove Pollen Stains from Clothing
Start by gathering some tape (masking or Scotch) and your favorite laundry stain remover. Be careful when removing and working with the garment so as not to spread the pollen beyond the stained area. Remember how it grabs onto anything it can!
- Shake it out. Shake the stained item outdoors to remove as much pollen as possible. Do not try to rub the stained area, which will only spread the pollen.
- Lift the pollen with tape. If the pollen has already been rubbed into the clothing, try putting sticky tape on the surface of the pollen, and then gently lifting. The pollen will come up with the tape. The more pollen you can remove, the better chance you'll have at fully removing the stain.
- Rinse with cold water. When you have removed as much of the pollen as possible, rinse the stained area with cold water, running the water through the back of the fabric. This will gently encourage the pollen to detach and exit the way it came in.
- Soak in cold water. If the stain remains, soak the clothing in cold water for 30 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly. Every time you rinse, you are gently removing more of the stained area, so be sure to rinse completely. Again, rinse from the back of the stain to force the pollen out through the front. Repeat steps 2–4 until as much of the pollen stain as possible is gone.
- Apply stain remover. If you still see pollen stain or residue, apply a laundry stain remover from a stick, spray, or gel. Wash the garment in the hottest water that is recommended for the clothing. Hot water will help the stain remover work better, but you don't want it so hot that it damages your clothing or causes it to shrink or fade.
- Check before drying. Pollen stains may need several treatments before they fully disappear. If the stain is still there, repeat the above steps as needed before drying the garment. Sometimes it's hard to see if a stain is completely gone while the garment is wet. To be sure, you can air-dry it in a cool room, then check to see if you can still detect the stain. If so, repeat steps 2–6 as needed. When the stain is gone, it's safe to dry the garment in the clothes dryer.