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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Out, out! Be gone stain: getting berry and rhubarb stains out of fabric

by Lili Mounce

This has been sitting near the entrance to our neighborhood for 2 days now. At first there was a futon frame and this mattress. Then, today, I saw that the frame had been taken, but the mattress and this sign remained. The sign is what caught my eye. (See below)

I wanted to rush back home and get a marker, so I could add, "did you try getting the blood out with cold water, cuz hot water will set that type of stain".

Anyways, we have an entirely different type of stain happening in our home these days. Berry and rhubarb stains. Earlier this week it was rhubarb sauce on my daughter's white shirt. Later that same day, it was blueberry vinaigrette on my other daughter's placemat.

Then tonight at dinner, it was rhubarb-blackberry sauce on my husband's placemat, and on my first daughter's shirt (yes, again with the shirt, and no, the placemat and shirt stain tonight did not happen in the same accident). Clearly, we need help with our eating, or perhaps bibs for all of us!

But this brings me to -- do you know how to get berry and rhubarb stains out? My mom taught me this trick, and now I'm teaching it to my kids.

I was going to rub some berries onto my shirt, so that I could demonstrate how well this trick works. But my family, being the obliging bunch that they are, took the initiative and stained some fabric for me.

Here's how to get those berry and rhubarb stains out.

Stretch the fabric over a medium-sized bowl. Bring about a cup of water to a boil. Slowly pour the boiling water through the fabric, right onto the stain. Now, watch as that stain disappears right before your eyes.

This is the rhubarb-blackberry stain on my husband's placemat. In the center of the photo is the stained spot, about 3/4-inch in diameter.

My husband is pouring the boiling water directly onto the stain. You can see it fading as the water pours through the fabric.

Here is the placemat after the boiling water has been poured onto the stain. It always amazes me how well this works. If any stain remains at all, I'll just leave the fabric sitting in the hot water for an hour or so, then launder.

And for the guy who left his futon at the entrance to my neighborhood, try soaking the fabric in cold water, rub with a little detergent. Then dab with some hydrogen peroxide. Gets those blood stains right out.



  1. What a neat trick! I wonder if this would work on a grease stain? That is usually what I have here. I will definitely be trying this. Thank you. :)

    1. Hi Belinda,
      I haven't tried this, but this is what my mom's old stain removal list says about getting grease stains out -- rub some lard into the stain, then wash in very hot, soapy water. If you happen to try this, will you come back and let us know how it worked? I'd be interested in knowing myself.
      Thanks for visiting!

  2. Wow that is amazing!! I would not have thought to pour boiling water on a stain.

    1. Hi Alicia,
      I know, who'd have thought?! I like that it's free, and uses no chemicals.

      It is one of those things that you should do before laundering, and shortly after the stain occurs. I've also had some success with this on fresh coffee stains, as well. Though not as dramatic a result, and will also need to use some detergent after pouring the boiling water through the fabric.
      Thanks for commenting!

  3. My great grandmother taught me to always use boiling water on berry stains. Get the best results by stretching the fabric over a bowl and pour the boiling water through the stain from the inside of the garment (the stain got on the outside, don’t make the stain go through the fabric to get out). If it doesn’t rinse out on the first try, continue to pour the water through the stain until it’s gone. Cold water has set berry stains in my experience. Also the sooner you treat a stain the better.

  4. Wow I tried this and it REALLY WORKED! I'm not usually one to leave comments but this was so helpful! I tried it on some light coloured shorts that I'd gotten rhubarb splatter on and you could literally see the stain dissappear as you poured the boiling water over (and no it didn't burn through the thin fabric which I was a little worried about! haha ;D) I just put them through a normal warm wash afterwards.


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