How to Remove Fish, Shrimp, and Seafood Stains From Clothes Carpet

person eating salmon and stain on tee shirt

​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Fish, shrimp, oysters, and all seafood are packed with protein, delicious and can be prepared in so many ways. Treating the stains most successfully depends on whether the fish is raw, what ingredients were used when it was prepared or if it is a fish oil capsule.

How to Remove Stains From Machine-Washable Clothes

If the fish or seafood is raw and is dropped on fabric, remove any solids and then treat the spot like a blood stain. As soon as possible, flush the stained area by holding it with the wrong side under a running cold water faucet to force out the stain. Never use hot water because that can cook the protein in the blood into the fabric fibers and make the stain more difficult to remove. After flushing, launder as recommended on the care label.

If the fish that was cooked is an oily fish, it will leave an oily stain from the rendered fat. And, if the fish or seafood has been fried or cooked with oil or butter, you'll have a greasy stain. When cooked fish falls on fabric, use a dull knife or spoon to lift any solids off the fabric. Then blot the stain with a plain white paper towel or napkin to absorb as much oil as possible. If you have a bit of cornstarch or talcum powder, sprinkle it on the stain to help absorb the oil. Even a slice of white bread can absorb the oil until you can wash the clothes or table linen.

Oily stains require the use of a solvent-based stain remover like Zout or Shout or Spray 'n Wash. If you don't have a solvent-based stain remover, apply a heavy-duty liquid detergent like Tide or Persil directly to the stain and work it in by gently rubbing the fabric together with your fingers or use an old soft toothbrush. Let the stain remover work on the stain for at least ten to fifteen minutes and then wash as recommended on the care label using the hottest water suggested.

Most stains caused by fish or seafood are combination stains due to the method of cooking used, recipe and added ingredients. You will need to follow specific tips to remove paella saffron stains, buttery sauces, tartar sauce, hot sauce, or cocktail sauce.

cornstarch and bread for seafood stain removal
​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

How to Remove Stains from Dry Clean-Only Clothes

If the garment is labeled as dry clean only, remove any solids by lifting them away from the fabric with a dull knife or spoon edge. Next, blot the stain with a white cloth. As soon as possible, head to the dry cleaner and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner.

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

How to Remove Stains From Carpet

If raw or cooked fish or seafood hits the carpet, remove any solids as quickly as possible. Immediately blot the stain with a plain white cloth or paper towel to absorb either the oil or blood. 

Mix a solution of one teaspoon hand dishwashing liquid in two cups of lukewarm water. Use a sponge or soft-bristled brush to work the solution into the stain. Use a white cloth to blot away the stain as it is lifted from the fibers. 

Next, use a sponge to "rinse" the stained area with plain water. If you leave soapy residue in the carpet fibers it will actually attract soil. Keep blotting with a clean white cloth until no more soap remains. Allow the area to air dry away from direct heat or sunlight. Vacuum to lift carpet fibers.

How to Remove Stains From Upholstery

The same cleaning tips recommended for carpet can be used to remove meat stains from upholstery. Take extra care when cleaning to not overwet the fabric. Excessive moisture in the cushions can cause problems.

If the upholstery is silk or vintage, contact a professional upholstery cleaner especially if you need more stain removal tips.

soapy water and brush used to clean a rug stain
​The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska