How to Remove 16 Common Food Stains From Your Girl's Clothes

With Thanksgiving coming up, there's no doubt your girl has a fresh, fun outfit for the special occasion! But what can you do if -- whoops -- there goes the cranberry sauce, onto her lap? One thing’s inevitable for your kid’s clothes - stains! Even the most careful kids will ...

How to Remove 16 Common Food Stains From Your Girl's Clothes

girl's clothes stains

With Thanksgiving coming up, there's no doubt your girl has a fresh, fun outfit for the special occasion! But what can you do if -- whoops -- there goes the cranberry sauce, onto her lap?

One thing’s inevitable for your kid’s clothes - stains! Even the most careful kids will end up dropping food on themselves at the table or in the kitchen. If you don’t know what to do with the stained clothes, it can be the last time that piece of clothing is worn.

This article will help you preserve your girl's clothing and favorite outfits with practical tips for combating some of the most common food stains.

Be sure to always read and follow the garment care label for detailed washing instructions.

The Best Cure Is Prevention

Getting stains out of your girl’s clothes can be pretty frustrating. So that’s why we always advise you try to prevent stains on your girl’s favorite kids’ fashion wherever possible. Here’s what you can do to prevent a mishap:

    • Invest in an apron in the kitchen
    • Encourage her to use a napkin for messy meals
    • Choose darker colors (black, navy, indigo) for messy mealtimes
    • Save her absolute best, most favorite clothes for less messy occasions

But you can’t prevent or predict everything, so keep reading to learn some tips to help you remove stains when they happen.

16 Common Food Stains and How to Remove Them

Don’t fear stains! Your girl’s clothes will survive many delicious and messy meals if you follow the stain removal steps listed here.

1. Butter

Butter makes everything better! Until it lands on your clothes, that is. If you catch it early, blot the butter with a paper towel, or scrape as much as you can off with a blunt knife. Use Dawn liquid dish soap (apply a few drops directly) to help break down the grease, let it sit for a few hours, and then wash as normal.

2. Red Soda Drink

Soda stains can be tricky to remove from your girl’s clothes - not only do you have food coloring, but you’ve also got potential stickiness to deal with. As soon as you can, use a cool, damp sponge to blot the area or soak the item in cool water for around half an hour. Use a pre-wash stain remover to help loosen the stain, then wash the clothing as normal. If the stain persists, you could try another stain remover or leave it in the sunshine to fade.

3. Cranberry Sauce

Around this time of year, the chances of getting cranberry sauce stains on your kid’s clothes are about… 99.99%. So make sure you save this tip for future reference! Start with a paper towel or napkin and try to remove as much of the sauce as possible. Don’t rub it in - try to wipe it off the surface, if you can. Then wash your girl’s clothes in the hottest water they can handle to break down the stain (check the care label for guidelines!).

4. Chocolate

Mmm, chocolate! If your girl loves chocolate as much as we do, you can bet she’ll end up with a chocolate stain. When it happens, the first thing to do is gently scrape or blot away the chocolate. Depending on how thick it is and whether it’s dried on, you could use a rounded knife to get most of it off. Loosen the chocolate by running cold water directly onto the stain. Then gently rub a dishwashing or laundry detergent into the stain to further loosen the chocolate. Depending on how stubborn the chocolate stain is at this point, you could either soak it in cold water, treat with a stain remover, or wash as normal.

5. Strawberries

The only downside of a juicy, delicious strawberry is the red juice that’s bound to dribble down your kid’s chin and land on their perfectly white t-shirt. When this happens, rinse your girl’s clothes with cool water, making sure to fully douse the stain. Soak the clothes in a bucket of cool water with a dash of liquid detergent and a tablespoon of white vinegar. Then wash as you normally would.

6. Pumpkin

Pumpkin stains can be really stubborn, but never fear! With a little persistence, you should be able to get it out. Start by gently scrubbing the stain in cool water. Add liquid detergent and let it soak for 30 minutes. Use a pre-wash stain remover then wash in the washing machine with hot water.

7. Gravy

Spray with a pre-wash treatment and then wash in your washing machine right away. If the fabric is still stained after washing, you might try hanging it in the sun or spray with a strong stain remover.

8. Ketchup

Kids love ketchup. But sometimes it seems like they get more on their clothes than in their mouth! If you’re dealing with a lump of ketchup, first try to scrape any excess off with a blunt knife or spoon. Then hold the fabric under a running tap to force water through the fibers. This should get rid of most of the ketchup. Gently rub a little detergent into the stain and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then wash your girl’s clothes as normal.

9. Caramel

Sweet, sticky caramel: a delicious but deadly combination of sugar and butter that isn’t kind to clothes! If your girl spills caramel on her favorite outfit, use a blunt knife to gently scrape most of it off. Then force the caramel out of the fabric using water - hold the garment directly under the tap. Next, use your fingers or gentle bristles (like an old toothbrush) to work detergent into the stain. Finally, wash the clothes in hot water (to help break down the grease and sugar) and dry as normal.

10. Mango

One moment, your kid is enjoying a sweet, juicy mango, and the next it’s slipped out of their hands and onto their shirt. Fear not - simply soak the clothes in your preferred stain remover overnight then wash the next day. Finally, make sure you don’t tumble dry your kid’s clothes unless the stain has fully disappeared, as the heat can set it.

11. Oil

Removing oil stains and grease from clothing can be frustrating if you don’t use the right treatments. First, remove as much oil as you can by sprinkling baby powder or salt on top to soak it up. Shake off the powder. Then rub in your favorite grease-cutting detergent to break down the oil stain. Finally, wash the garment how you normally would.

12. Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti sauce is notorious for staining kids’ clothes. It’s slippery, slurpy, and bound to end up leaving a mess. Luckily, it’s really easy to remove if you get to it right away. Simply wet the stained area and rub some detergent in to loosen up the spaghetti sauce. Rinse it with cold water and wash like you normally would. If the stain persists, you could try soaking it in a stain remover before washing again.

13. Coffee and Tea

You can use tea and coffee to stain paper to make old-fashioned looking parchment… or even a treasure map! But staining clothes with tea or coffee isn’t such a good look. If it happens to your girl’s clothes, put warm water directly on the stain and gently rub in a few drops of laundry detergent to help break it down. Rinse the clothes and wash as you normally would.

14. Chocolate Milk

Flavored milk makes for a delicious after-school treat, but it can be messy if your girl accidentally spills or splatters it. If she gets a chocolate milk stain on her clothes, rinse it with cold water straight from the tap. You might need to do this for a few minutes to reduce the appearance of the stain. Then rub a little detergent into the spot and let it sit for 5 minutes before rinsing and washing in cold water.

15. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter can be tricky to remove from your girl’s clothes because it’s so oily, but if you follow the right steps you should be able to get it all off. Start by scraping off any excess spread. Then use a degreasing detergent to break up the particles left in the fabric. Rinse with warm water then wash in your washing machine on the hottest setting the clothes can handle (check the care label).

16. Blueberries

Blueberries are delicious! But also very, very messy. To remove berry stains from your girl’s clothes, start by rinsing with cold water, then wash like you normally would. If you can still see a mark, hang the clothes in the sunshine to help fade the stain or soak overnight in a stain removing treatment.

girl's clothes cleaning products

Cleaning Products That Are Handy To Have

The thing about stains is… the sooner you get to them, the easier they are to remove! So you should always have the following products on hand in case of a mishap:

    • Dish detergent
    • Pre-wash stain remover
    • Stain remover for soaking
    • White vinegar
    • Baking soda
    • Baby powder
    • Salt
    • Liquid laundry detergent
    • Hydrogen peroxide
  • A soft-bristled brush for scrubbing

Confidently Dress Her In the Best Girl’s Clothes and Fashion

Now that you know exactly how to remove stains when they happen, you can feel confident about the clothes you put your girl in. You can let her wear trendy girls clothes she feels great in ALL the time, not just for special occasions.

And if she needs some more clothes and coordinated outfits in her wardrobe? You don’t have to go to the mall - we’re here to help!

Removing some food stains can be tricky, but getting trendy outfits for girls is easy. All you have to do is sign up for kidpik to get our next fashion subscription box. It’s 100% risk free, always  free delivery and returns, and you only pay for the girl’s clothes your girl loves. Kidpik clothing are kid friendly and machine washable. What are you waiting for?

What tricks have you used to remove the most difficult stains?

 Prev    Next 

Ready to try Kidpik?

Tell us about what your child loves (and doesn’t love!) and our stylists will do the rest. They’ll receive customized, surprise fashion delivered on your preferred schedule to unbox and try on at home.

Get Styled

Skip, pause, or cancel anytime.