A gelcap is a gelatin-coated pill capsule, often containing vitamin supplements or fish oil. The gelatin exterior allows easy swallowing, but the oily, colored interior can cause frustrating stains on clothes, carpet, and upholstery. Whether you stuck a gelcap into your pocket for later, only to find it popped, or accidentally stepped on a fallen capsule on your carpet, you can treat gelcap stains at home. It's best to approach these stains as you would other oil-based and dye-based stains, gently and using products you likely already have in your cupboard. Never machine wash or dry fabric with an unresolved dye stain, as it can set it and make it nearly impossible to eliminate.
|Stain type||Oil-based, dye-based|
|Water temperature||Cold to hot|
|Cycle type||Varies depending on the type of fabric|
Before You Begin
As with any stain, the sooner the fresh stain can be treated, the better the chances of success for removal. Do not rub immediately. That will only push the stain deeper into the fabric fibers and make the stain harder to remove. Check the care label on the garment and test any detergent or cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area first to ensure that it does not discolor the fabric. While most cleaning methods are gentle enough for a diverse range of fabrics, knowing an item's specific care needs will help you choose the best stain removal option.
Equipment / Tools
- White cloth
- Dull knife
- Soft-bristle brush
- Stain remover
- Heavy duty detergent
- Baking soda
- Oxygen bleach
- Talcum powder
- Dishwashing soap
- Dry-cleaning solvent or carpet-cleaning product
How to Remove Gelcap Vitamin and Fish Oil Stains From Washable Clothes
Many gelcap products contain food dyes that give them a distinctive color. So, it's important to begin the removal process focused on the dye. You can use the same dye removal process for white, colored, or printed fabrics.
Mix a Solution
Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (recommended brands include OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Oxygen Bleach, or Seventh Generation Oxygen Bleach) and cool water. Follow the package directions for how much product to use per gallon of water.
Submerge the Item
Submerge the stained items and allow them to soak for at least eight hours. Once the gelcap dye stains are gone, wash the garment as you usually would. If the stain remains, mix a fresh batch of oxygen bleach solution, soak for another eight hours, and wash again.
Apply heavy-duty detergent like Tide or Persil to the oil-stained area with a heavy-duty liquid detergent or a stain remover. Even if the dye from the gelcap is gone, the oil may linger.
Rub the Detergent
Rub the detergent into the stained area with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush and let it sit for 15 minutes before washing in the hottest water temperature advised by the garment's care label. Inspect the stained area before drying and repeat the process if necessary.
How to Remove Gelcap Vitamin and Fish Oil Stains From Carpet and Upholstery
If you stain your carpet or upholstery with a gelcap, you can take a few simple steps to remove the oil and dye. Use the same cleaning practices on your upholstery as on your carpet, but take care not to over-saturate cushions because excess moisture can cause mildew.
Lift the Capsule
Lift away any solid capsule parts from carpet fibers using a dull knife. Do not rub the untreated gel because it will only push the oil deeper into the carpet and make the stain more difficult to remove.
Sprinkle the Stain
Sprinkle the stain with cornstarch, baking soda, or talcum powder to absorb the oil. Use a soft-bristled brush to work the powder into the carpet. Allow the powder to sit on the stain for 15 minutes to an hour, and then vacuum to remove the dust.
Blot the Stain
Blot the stain with a dry cleaning solvent or commercial carpet cleaner using a clean white cloth or paper towel and keep blotting until no more oil is transferred from the carpet to the cloth. If you don't have commercial solvents or cleaners, mix one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent in two cups of hot water. Add one tablespoon of household ammonia to the mixture.
Cleanse With a Cloth
Cleanse the area with a cloth dipped in tepid water to remove any soapy residue that may attract soil. Allow the area to air dry away from direct heat and then vacuum to lift the carpet fibers. You may repeat the removal steps until the stain is gone.
When to Call a Professional
Do not attempt to treat or remove the stain yourself on dry clean only garments. Head to the dry cleaner and point out the stain as soon as possible. If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag. If the stained clothing or upholstery is vintage or silk, consult a professional.
Additional Tips for Handling Gelcap Vitamin and Fish Oil Stains
If the gelcap stain persists, repeat the cleaning steps until you see improvement. If you washed the stained garment before you removed the stain, the mark might be permanent. Even if the item isn't dry clean only, you may consult a dry cleaner for more specified advice.