How to remove cranberry stains

What to do when your favorite shirt gets stained with cranberry juice? Here are steps on how to remove the stains from clothing without resorting to harsh chemicals.

Cranberry juice is a natural and tasteful beverage enjoyed by many people. However, it can also be a problematic drink if spilled on clothes. The juice contains compounds that cause colorfastness to break down. This makes it difficult to remove stains caused by cranberry juice using conventional methods like boiling or steaming.

Here are three easy steps on how to remove cranberry stains from clothing without resorting to harsh chemicals:

remove cranberry stains

What causes cranberry stains?

Cranberry stains are caused by cranberry juice or cranberry sauce coming into contact with a fabric or surface. The juice or sauce can contain pigments and other substances that can leave a stain when they come into contact with a fabric or surface. These stains can be difficult to remove because cranberries contain tannins, which are a type of plant pigment that can bind to fibers and cause staining. The acidity of cranberries can also contribute to the staining process.

Method 1: Flush the Stain with Cool Water

Acting promptly is crucial when dealing with cranberry stains. As soon as you notice a cranberry stain, flush it with cool water from the backside of the fabric. This helps prevent the stain from setting and makes it easier to remove.

Method 2: Soak in Vinegar and Laundry Detergent Solution

To tackle stubborn cranberry stains, you’ll need a solution of white vinegar and liquid laundry detergent. Create a mixture by combining one tablespoon of white vinegar and half a teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent with one quart of cool water. Submerge the stained area in this solution and let it soak for about 15 minutes. The vinegar and detergent work together to break down the stain.

Method 3: Sponge with Rubbing Alcohol

If the cranberry stain persists even after soaking, you can try using rubbing alcohol. Sponge the stain gently with rubbing alcohol, ensuring you work from the outside toward the center. Rinse the area thoroughly after application.

Method 4: Launder with Chlorine Bleach (if safe)

For washable fabrics that can tolerate chlorine bleach, this method can be effective. After the previous steps, launder the item as you normally would, using chlorine bleach if it’s safe for the fabric. Always check the care label to ensure compatibility.

Method 5: Upholstery Stain Removal

Cranberry stains on upholstery require a slightly different approach. Create a solution by mixing one tablespoon of white vinegar with two-thirds cup of rubbing alcohol. Take a clean white cloth and sponge the stain with the vinegar-alcohol solution. Blot the area until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat the process, alternating between sponging and blotting, until the stain disappears. Finally, sponge the area with cold water and blot it dry.

Method 6: Carpet Stain Removal

Cranberry stains on carpets can be stubborn, but with the right technique, you can overcome them. Start by creating a solution of one tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent and two cups of cool water. Sponge the stain gently with the detergent solution using a clean white cloth. Blot the area until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat the sponging and blotting process, switching between the detergent solution and cool water, until the stain disappears or is no longer absorbed into the cloth. If the stain persists, combine one tablespoon of white vinegar with two-thirds cup of rubbing alcohol, and sponge the stain with the vinegar-alcohol solution using a clean white cloth.

Method 7: Hot Water Treatment

An alternative method for certain fabrics involves stretching the stained item over a bowl and securing it with a rubber band. Pour hot water over the stain, allowing it to pass through the fabric into the bowl. Then, use cold water and a fresh, clean cloth to sponge the area and remove any cleaning solution residue. Finally, blot the area dry.

Precautions and Final Tips

  • Always perform a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric or surface before applying any stain removal solution.
  • Follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to avoid damaging the item.
  • Act promptly and avoid letting the stain set to improve the chances of complete removal.
  • For delicate or valuable items, consider consulting a professional cleaner to ensure proper stain removal.
  • Remember that cranberry stains that have been laundered and dried are notoriously difficult to remove, so it’s important to address them as soon as possible.


Cranberry stains can be a headache, but armed with the right knowledge and techniques, you can conquer them. Act quickly, use appropriate stain removal solutions, and follow the instructions provided. By doing so, you can bid farewell to those stubborn cranberry stains and restore your items to their former pristine condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Can I use bleach on all types of fabric to remove cranberry stains? A: No, bleach is not suitable for all types of fabric. Check the care label and follow the instructions provided. If the fabric is not bleach-safe, opt for alternative stain removal methods.

Q2: What should I do if the cranberry stain persists after attempting multiple removal methods? A: If you’ve tried various methods without success, it may be best to seek professional assistance. Professional cleaners have specialized knowledge and tools to tackle stubborn stains effectively.

Q3: Can I use hot water to remove cranberry stains from delicate fabrics? A: Hot water may damage delicate fabrics, so it’s important to exercise caution. Perform a patch test first and consult the care instructions for the specific fabric to determine the most suitable stain removal method.

Q4: Are cranberry stains permanent if they’ve been laundered and dried? A: Unfortunately, cranberry stains that have been laundered and dried are often challenging to remove completely. Prompt action is crucial to increase the chances of successful stain removal.

Q5: How can I prevent cranberry stains in the first place? A: To minimize the risk of cranberry stains, be cautious when consuming cranberry-based products and handle them carefully. Use napkins or protective covers to prevent direct contact between the cranberry product and surfaces.

Sharing Is Caring:

Camilo Kawas is a seasoned entrepreneur and expert in the field of commercial cleaning, with a specific focus on clothes, carpet cleaning and floor care. With a profound understanding of the importance of selecting the right products for effective stain removal from clothes, Camilo has established himself as a trusted authority in the industry.