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How to remove stubborn honey stains


Person holding a tablespoon of honey.

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Ahhhh… for the love of the sweetness of honey! Ooooops – you spilled some on your apron and new jeans while making breakfast! Now what? If you put your clothes complete with honey stains directly into the washing machine – it is likely to make a mess of all the clothes and the washing machine! If you do nothing, the honey might create lasting damage on the clothes. YIKES!

Not to worry… with a few easy steps the honey will be gone, and your clothes will be as good as new!

Important tips to remove honey stains from your clothes

  • One important reminder about honey stains on any fabric—you must remove the honey from starting outside of the stained area and then work towards the centre, so the honey does not continue to spread.
  • Be sure to remove the stain as soon as possible, as it is much harder to remove dried honey stains from your clothes.

Supplies to gather

  • You will not likely require all of these items but best to have them close at hand as honey can be sticky… and a bit tricky! Collect the following:
    • Liquid laundry detergent (read up on how much washing powder to use)
    • Butter knife
    • Spoon
    • Stain remover stick, gel, or spray (optional)
    • Sources claim hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or lemon juice also work (optional for white or colorcast clothing)
    • Clean new sponge (optional) 

Steps to Take

  1. SCRAPE: Use a butter knife to remove the excess (still moist) honey carefully. If the honey has hardened, do not scrape it — to remove dried honey stains will require you start with Step 2 below.
  2. RINSE: Hand rinse the stained area under cold running water to help break down the honey without pushing the stain further into the fabric. Do this on both sides of the fabric. The honey stains will start to dissolve in the cold water, making it easier to remove the stain from the fabric. After rinsing for several minutes with cold water, you can try gently scraping off a bit more of the honey stains with a spoon or a coarse sponge.
  3. PREWASH: Treat with a prewash stain remover to the stained area, saturating it completely. Let the clothing sit for at least five minutes, then run hot water through the back of the stain over the sink. Make the water as hot as you can to force the honey stains out of the clothing.
  4. WASH: Throw the clothes into the washing machine using the hottest water that is safe for the type of fabric. You will remove dried honey stains as well as the moist stains just the same.
  5. WASHING WHITES: Apply bleach on white clothes (while wearing gloves!). If the stain remains and the garment is white, remove from the washer and apply a mild bleaching agent with a soft sponge, such as hydrogen peroxide. Some online sources even recommend white vinegar or lemon juice. Rinse the fabric thoroughly in cold water.
  6. DRYING: Before putting the wet clothes in the dryer, be sure that the honey stains are completely gone. If any honey remains and you dry the clothing in the dryer, it will set the stain permanently. It’s best to let the clothing air-dry, then recheck it for any hardened or darkened areas. If the stain persists, repeat the steps above. Once the stain is gone, the clothing is safe to be dried in the dryer.

We hope you enjoyed our tips on how to remove those stubborn honey stains. Don’t forget to check out our other articles on cleaning and laundry such as how often to wash bed sheets, how to wash silk and how to remove sweat stains for more inspiration.