How to Remove Sweet Potato Stains From Clothes, Carpet & Upholstery

How to Remove Sweet Potato Stains From Clothes

The Spruce / Hilary Allison

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr - 1 hr, 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5 to 20

Whether enjoyed along with a holiday dinner or merely part of a weeknight meal, sweet potatoes are tasty and can be quite healthy. But should a plop of the sweet potato land on your clothes, carpet, or upholstery, you might have a problem on your hands. Not only does the orange of the sweet potato itself potentially create a stain, but because very often sweet potato dishes contain butter or other oily ingredients, you have double the trouble to contend with.

Luckily, as long as you take action quickly, you can usually entirely remove sweet potato stains with basic supplies you probably already have at home.

 Stain type  Plant-based, oil-based
 Detergent type  Heavy-duty
 Water temperature  Hottest safe for fabric
 Cycle type  Varies depending on fabric

Before You Begin

Do not wash and dry your garment before treating the sweet potato mark, because the high heat of the dryer will cause the stain to set, making it very difficult to remove.

If that sweet potato dish lands on a garment labeled as dry clean only, remove the solids with a spoon or dull knife. Take care not to rub or scrape the fabric. Then blot the stain with a damp cloth; don't rub, which will smear the sweet potato deeper into the fabric. As soon as possible, head to the dry cleaner and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner

If 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.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools


  • Dull knife or spoon
  • Soft-bristle brush (Optional)
  • Washing machine


  • Dull knife or credit card
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean rags
  • Vacuum cleaner



  • Cold water
  • Stain pretreatment spray or gel
  • Soft-bristle brush (Optional)
  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent


  • Warm water
  • Liquid dishwashing soap
  • Household ammonia (Optional)


How to Remove Sweet Potato Stains From Clothing

  1. Remove Solids

    Scrape away excess sweet potato from the fabric with a dull knife or spoon. Take care not to rub too hard; you don't want to damage the fabric.


    Don't rub at the sweet potato with a napkin or cloth, as this can push the stain even deeper into the fabric fibers.

    cleaning a sweet potato stain

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Rinse With Cold Water

    Flush the stained area with cold water, working from the back of the fabric to help loosen any remaining solids.

    rinsing a sweet potato stain under the faucet

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

  3. Apply Stain Remover

    Pretreat the stained area with a spray or gel prewash stain remover like Shout or Resolve. If you don't have a stain remover, use a bit of heavy-duty laundry detergent like Wisk or Persil that contains enough of the stain-lifting enzymes that will cut through any oil in the stain.

    pretreating a sweet potato stain

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

  4. Rub in Stain Remover

    Work the stain remover into the fabric with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush and then allow the stain removal product to sit on the stained area for at least fifteen minutes.

    stain remover on a sweet potato stain

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  5. Wash the Garment

    Next, wash as usual using the hottest water recommended for the fabric on its care label directions. Once washed, check the stained area before putting the garment in the dryer because high heat can set the stain. If the stain remains, repeat the treatment steps.

    checking that the sweet potato stain has come out

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena

How to Remove Sweet Potato Stains From Carpet And Upholstery

If the stained upholstery is vintage or delicate, call in a professional rather than attempting to treat it yourself with the following steps. However, most carpet and upholstery can be successfully treated as outlined below. Be safe, however, by first treating an inconspicuous spot to be sure there is no change to carpet or upholstery color.

  1. Remove Solids

    Lift as much sweet potato off the carpet or upholstery as possible, using a dull knife, spoon, or even the edge of a credit card. Do not rub, which will smear the food further into the fibers.

  2. Mix Cleaning Solution

    Combine one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with two cups of warm water in a clean, empty spray bottle.

  3. Spray the Stain

    Spray the stained area of carpet or upholstery, working from the outer edge of the stain towards the center to prevent spreading. Take care not to overly saturate upholstery, but do wet the affected area thoroughly.

  4. Blot the Stained Area

    Blot the treated area with a clean, dry cloth or paper towels. Continue to blot until the stain lifts. If the stain lingers, spray it again and continue to blot until the stain is gone and the treated area is damp, not wet. If the stain persists, move on to step 5.

  5. Treat Persistent Stains (Optional)

    Mix one tablespoon of household ammonia and two cups warm water in a clean, empty spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the stained area of carpet or upholstery. Use a clean cloth or paper towels to blot at the stain, continuing to spray and blot until the stain is gone.

  6. Rinse the Treated Area

    Wet a clean white towel or paper towel with plain water and sponge the treated area to rinse away any soapy residue. Don't overly saturate the fabric or carpet, however. Allow to air dry.

  7. Vacuum Carpet

    Vacuum carpet once it's dry to fluff the carpet fibers.

Additional Tips for Handling a Sweet Potato Stain

If sweet potatoes stains remain even after following the above treatments, it's time for a professional. Take the stained garment to a dry cleaner, or make a call to your local carpet cleaners. Professionals have access to stronger cleaning products and cleaning devices than you are likely to have at home. Be sure to let them know what treatments you've already done, as well as the nature of the stain.