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How to remove cherry juice from clothes, carpet and upholstery


Cherries are a delicious fruit to munch on, but what’s not so appetizing about this fruit are the dark stains they leave behind when they come into contact with fabrics and furniture. Thankfully our experts have remedies to quickly remove these dark splatters.

Dan Miller, founder/CEO of Mulberry’s Garment Care, offers several suggestions for banishing cherry stains from clothing.


Level 1: Lemon juice or vinegar

“Cherry stains are plant-based and can be broken down (pre-treated) with acids such as lemon juice and vinegar,” explains Miller.

1. Pre-treat the stain with lemon juice or vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes. (Hint: If you’re in a restaurant, ask for a slice of lemon and start pre-treating on the spot.) At home, it may also be helpful to tamp the stain with a small brush or toothbrush.

2. After 5 minutes, rinse the stain with water to make sure that the acid doesn’t damage the garment. In most cases, this pre-treatment will loosen the stain.

3. Rub the stained area with detergent, then machine or hand wash as usual in your favorite detergent. If the article is not washable, take it to a dry cleaner.

Level 2: Enzyme-based stain removers

If lemon juice or vinegar fails to remove the stain, your next step would be to treat the item with an enzyme-based stain remover, says Miller. Enzymes are naturally occurring amino acids that break down the basic components of stains. Different enzymes work on different types of stains, so in the case of plant-based stains like berries, a stain remover with pectinase is the way to go.

1. After flushing the lemon juice or vinegar from the garment, spray the stain with an enzyme-based stain pre-treater like Zout or Puracy.

2. Allow 15 minutes for the enzymes to work.

Wash the garment as usual in the machine — in hot water for whites and cool for colors. Or, if the garment is dry clean only, take it to a dry cleaner.

Level 3: Oxygenated bleach

“If the stain persists, your final option would be to use an oxygenated bleach like 3% hydrogen peroxide or a chlorine bleach,” recommends Miller. “Hydrogen peroxide bleaches like OxiClean and Clorox2 are safe on most colors but chlorine has stronger stain removing power, so it is better on whites. Since both can cause color loss, test first on an inconspicuous part of the garment.”

Also, to prevent damage to the fibers, do not allow any of these bleaching products to sit on the garment for more than a minute before flushing with water. If you choose to bleach the garment in the washer, add regular bleach through the bleach dispenser and not directly onto the clothes.

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How to remove cherry juice from your carpet

First things first: Silk or wool carpet should be cleaned by a professional.

“You have to be VERY careful with this one,” warns carpet cleaning pro Dean Carter, CEO/founder of Carter’s Carpet Restoration in El Dorado Hills, California. “Soak up as much of the cherry juice as possible without spreading or pushing it deeper into the fiber or backing.” To do this efficiently, Carter recommends squeezing and twisting the carpet fibers as you lift them upward.

Next, moderately spray lemon juice onto the affected area, soaking up as much of the liquid as possible without scrubbing. Use the squeeze/twist/lift method. Then, liberally spray or sponge a solution of 1 tablespoon blue Dawn dish soap to 1 cup of water. Allow the products to work for a few minutes. Blot up the lemon/detergent mixture/berry juice with a white cotton towel, using the same squeeze/twist/lift motion as before. Move to a fresh part of the towel as the stain transfers onto it. Repeat as needed.

Once the stain has been removed, place a clean towel over the area and set something heavy (about a couple of pounds) on the towel for 30 minutes or so to absorb the remaining moisture. Dab the area with clear water to rinse out the remaining detergent. Blot dry.

If the stain is still visible, try 3% hydrogen peroxide, suggests Jack White, vice-president of technical services for Rainbow International, but test first in an inconspicuous place. If there’s no loss of color, dab the peroxide onto the stain with a clean, white cloth. Allow peroxide to work for a minute or so, then rinse from the carpet by dabbing with a cloth that has been dampened with water. Blot to dry.

If you opt for a commercially prepared carpet cleaning product, White suggests the following:

  • Make sure it has the CRI Certified Seal of Approval.
  • Test the cleaner first on an out-of-the-way part of the carpet (or an old carpet scrap).
  • Don’t overuse the product. Apply a small amount of the cleaner to the stain, working from the outer edges to the center.
  • Blot, don’t scrub.
  • Repeat until the stain is gone.
  • Blot lightly with clean water to remove residual cleaning product.

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How to remove cherry juice from upholstery

If you have silk, vintage or antique upholstery, it should be professionally cleaned.

White offers these tips for cleaning berry stains from upholstery. Remove any remaining fruit using a vacuum or towel. Check care label first. If water-based cleaning is allowed, apply a small amount of detergent mixed with water to a white cloth and work in gently, starting at the outer edges of the stain and moving to the center. Blot, don’t scrub. You may need to do this several times to remove the stain. After the stain is gone, blot the area with clean water to remove remaining detergent; otherwise, it will attract dirt.

If a stain remains, you can attempt to remove it by dabbing with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Allow the peroxide to work for a minute, then blot the area with clear water to remove residual peroxide.

If the stain is still there, contact a professional for help.

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