Eaten fresh by the handful or used in the creation of tasty treats, strawberries are popular with both young and old. Regardless of age, many times the characteristic pink streaks the juicy fruit leaves behind on shirts, trousers and sleeves identify a strawberry lover. Berries contain a plant compound known as tannin. These tannins are responsible for the bright colour of the finished fruit; they are also responsible for stubborn strawberry juice stains. Removing tannin stains can be a real challenge, requiring elbow grease and multiple applications of stain removers -- but, like all stains, the sooner the spill is treated, the easier the task will be.
Remove the stained garment and turn it inside out. Place the affected material beneath the faucet of the sink and turn on the cold water. Let the water flow through the fabric for five to 10 minutes, washing away as much of the stain as possible.
Pour 2.25 litres (2 quarts) of hot water into a large bowl or bucket. Add 6 ml (1 tsp) of liquid dish detergent and stir briskly until suds begin to form. Be sure to choose detergent, not soap, as the use of soap on tannin stains can cause them to set permanently.
Place the garment in the bucket, submerging the stained area completely. Wait 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the garment and rinse the soap solution away by running the garment under cool water.
Turn the garment so that the affected area is exposed to the open air and facing upward. If any discolouration remains, repeat the soap treatment or treat the remaining stain with distilled white vinegar.
Test the vinegar prior to applying it to the stain. Dip the end of a cotton swab into the vinegar and then rub the damp cotton against an inside seam. Once the treated area has dried, inspect it closely for any fading or discolouration. If no colour change has occurred, apply the vinegar to a damp cloth and blot the stain gently. Work your way from the outside of the stain toward the centre, taking care not to rub as this may cause the stain to spread. Repeat, if necessary, until the stain is gone and then launder the item as usual. Use isopropyl alcohol if vinegar is not readily available.
Pour 60 ml (¼ cup) baking powder into a shallow bowl and add just enough distilled white vinegar to make a thick paste. Spread this paste over any persistent or stubborn strawberry stains and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse with cool water and repeat, if necessary.
Carpeting and furniture
Fold a paper towel into quarters and then press the material against the stain repeatedly, blotting up as much of the stain as possible.
Pour 240 ml (1 cup) hot water into a large bowl. Add 3 ml (½ tsp) liquid dish detergent and stir vigorously, until the solution begins to foam. Dip a clean, white cloth into the soapy water and then press it firmly against the outside edge of the stain. Repeat the application, working from the outside toward the centre, until the soap solution covers the entire stain. Rinse the soap away by sponging the area with cool water.
Blot the area with dry paper towels to remove any excess fluid. If any strawberry stain remains, repeat the soap treatment or try a different solvent. Isopropyl alcohol or distilled white vinegar can successfully remove strawberry stains. Remember to test any solvent in an inconspicuous area prior to making a more general application, to be sure it won't cause any discolouration or affect the finish of the fabric. Rinse away solvents between applications by sponging the area with cool, clear water and blotting dry with paper towels.