how to remove fruit stains from clothes (thanks, Mom!)

Did any of you ever read Blueberries for Sal when you were kids?
It's about a little girl and her mother who go blueberry-picking, get separated, and end up face-to-face a mother bear and her cub. I loved this book (and I still love it, actually), for multiple reasons: first, as my mother informed me when I was young, Sal is a nickname for Sarah, so of course I associated myself with the little girl. Second, bears!
Third, the whole book is about picking and eating blueberries. Who doesn't love blueberries?! They are so awesome. Pies, crisps, muffics, coffee cakes, eating by the handful; they are good for so many things!
Blueberry crisp and a blueberry-soy-yogurt popsicle
The thing I don't like about blueberries, and about berries in general, is that they stain clothing with even a tiny bit of contact. Most of my clothes are dark, so it doesn't matter, but recently I was wearing a yellow shirt while making blueberry pancakes, and bam! purple spatter all over my stomach and chest. And unless you use some kind of miracle detergent, running fruit stains through the wash usually just sets the stains instead of eliminating them.

My mother was visiting at the time, and told me the so-simple-it's-amazing way of removing fruit stains from clothes. This works on more than just berry stains; it can remove any strong vegetable/fruit juice, even beets. The trick is that you have to do this before the clothing makes it into a washing machine, because once the stain goes through the machine, there's no helping you.

Fill a kettle or a pot with lots of water. You're going to want at least a few cups, more for bigger and/or stubborn stains. Drape the stained article of clothing around a bowl, or in your sink. I've draped my shirt around a large bowl in the next few pictures.

Once the water has boiled, pour it very slowly, in a small stream, over the stain.
You can already see some of the stains coming out. (I circled them for you!) There were more, and larger, stains on my shirt, but I didn't think to take a picture until I was already getting rid of them.

This should wash smaller and lighter stains right out; for stubborn or big stains, just keep drizzling the water until they go away. The whole process takes about 1-2 minutes. Ready?



Stain-free shirt! NOW it's back to normal! And you can put it in the wash. AND you can eat all the blueberries you want.


panda with cookie said... Best Blogger Tips

I remember that book! I hadn't thought about it in years. I also read about that stain removal trick in an old Trixie Belden book. Good to know it works.

jd said... Best Blogger Tips

LOL! Thank God for moms. We'd all be walking around with scraped knees and blueberry-stained shirts without them :)

Sandrine said... Best Blogger Tips

I am so left handed that my mom used to call me "miss bougnette" ("bougnette" is a slang word for "stain")... So I will definitely use your trick !

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Wendy Zane said... Best Blogger Tips

This is the info I was looking for. Thanks for sharing. I'm like a little child and always have to deal with stains on my clothes. This post goes right into my Favourites. <3

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Genius and soooo simple. many thanks]

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I love the stain removal technique almost as much as that shirt! 5 starts for the awesome and brilliantly funny shirt!

Marty said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you soooo much! All other r commendations say not to use hot water to remove a fruit stain, but, with a courage born of desperation, I boiled water and dribbled the scalding water over the lovely purple stains on my white work blouse and ... watched the stains disappear like magic! And many thanks to your mom, too!

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Thank you!! I thought I’d ruined my favorite linen blouse. I had plum juice all over it from cutting up plums. The boiling water made it disappear! I had rinsed it in cold and that made the stains go dark blue. Thanks again!

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This post is my savior. I often put all kinds of fruit juice on white shirts. It is always difficult to wash off. This article is perfect.

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