7 Simple Steps to Remove Honey Stains

Family eating breakfast with honey

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Honey, with all of its sweetness, can make quite a sticky mess on your laundry. If it's completely neglected, a honey stain can do lasting damage on clothing, especially to the fibers of the fabric. With a few simple steps, though, honey stains can be history.

Supplies Needed

  • Butter knife
  • Spoon
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Optional: stain remover stick, gel, or spray
  • Hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or lemon juice (optional; white or colorfast clothing only)
  • Optional: sponge

How to Get Honey Stains Out of Your Clothing

As with all clothing stains, remove honey stains by working from the outside of the stain toward the center to prevent spreading the stain. Follow these steps for fresh or dried honey stains:

  1. Treat the stain as soon as possible.
    Waiting to treat a honey stain is a bad idea. If it hardens, it becomes more difficult to remove the sticky stain without damaging the fibers of the clothing. Use a butter knife to remove the excess honey carefully. If it's too hard, don't bother scraping, and move on to step 2.
  2. Rinse with cold water.
    Rinse the area thoroughly with cold water under a sink faucet. Cold water will help break down the honey without setting the stain into the fabric. The honey will start to dissolve in the cold water, making it easier to remove the stain from the fabric. After rinsing for several minutes with cold water, you can try gently scraping off the honey with a spoon.
  3. Add laundry detergent.
    Apply liquid laundry detergent to the stained area, saturating it completely. Let the clothing sit for at least five minutes, then run hot water through the back of the stain over the sink. Make the water as hot as you can to force the honey stain out of the clothing.
  4. Apply a stain remover.
    Choose a stain remover that will penetrate all the way to the back of the stain and apply it according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  1. Head to the washer.
    Wash the clothing in your washing machine, using the hottest water recommended by the fabric care instructions.
  2. Apply a bleaching agent, if necessary.
    If the stain remains and the garment is white, or you have tested it for colorfastness, there are a few other solutions you can try. Be sure you understand that these items can bleach out patterns and color along with the stain. Apply a mild bleaching agent, such as hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, or lemon juice to the stain, using a sponge. Rinse the fabric thoroughly in cold water.
  3. Check before drying. 
    Before drying the clothing, be sure that the stain is completely gone. If any honey remains and you dry the clothing in the dryer, it will set the stain permanently. As an alternative, you can let the clothing air-dry, then recheck it for any hardened or darkened areas. If the stain persists, repeat the steps above. Once the stain is gone, the clothing is safe to be dried in the dryer.