How to Remove Berry Stains

October  9, 2015

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: What do boiling water, vinegar, and toothpaste have in common? (And no, it's not a horrific trip to the dentist.)

We've waxed poetic about berries before, those devilish beauties that are impossible to resist. We've tried to reform their naughty behavior—and in some ways, we've succeeded.

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But as every chick flick has taught us, you just can't turn bad boys good. And berries still have one powerful weapon they've been known to employ at any given moment. Beneath their beautiful veneers lies a colorful—and dare we say fatal—juice. 

Until now, that is. We're showing you how to remove even the most brutal of berry stains. And to prove it, we've dirtied our own pristine Provisions towel.

Here's how to fix the mess:


Immediately after the incident, drop everything you're doing and go treat the stain.

While the blemish is still fresh, stretch the fabric over a bowl until taut. From as great of a height as possible, pour boiling water in a smooth, steady stream over the affected area. This should remove the bulk of the stain and allow you to breathe a little easier.


Submerge the stained part of the fabric in a bowl of white vinegar for about an hour. Apple cider vinegar also works well, but it will leave your fabric with a yellow tinge.

Wring out the fabric. If the stain remains (and let's be real: berry stains are persistent), apply non-gel whitening toothpaste to the area and rub, rub, rub! 

Rinse well and remove excess water. Repeat as needed.

How to Remove Berry Stains from Food52

And voilà, our towel is practically as good as new! If you've got some time, hang the fabric in the sun to fade any lingering stains and get rid of the smell of vinegar.

Now that we've shown you how to make berries stay fresh longer and how to remove their evil stains from your clothing and linens, what's next? Perhaps we can work some magic and make berries less expensive too? Now that is some wishful thinking.

What's your best advice for getting rid of berry stains? Share your tricks and tips in the comments below!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Anna Hodges
    Anna Hodges
  • L O
    L O
  • Sasha (Global Table Adventure)
    Sasha (Global Table Adventure)
  • Louisa
  • muse2323
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Anna H. November 2, 2015
Wow, it worked like a charm on my carpet. My girl spilled her blueberry smoothie on the carpet in the living room and I was terrified I would never handle with cleaning it. I'm so glad I found this post and the toothpaste idea is so great. Greets!
L O. October 26, 2014
I just used the boiling water method, and it worked perfectly! Fortunately I caught the stain when it was fresh, so it hadn't set. I rinsed in cold water first, then I watched the stain disappear as the hot water hit it. Thank you for the tip!
Sasha (. June 23, 2014
Great tip! I am forever staining my clothes... most commonly with oil/grease...but berries are a seasonal culprit, too.
Louisa April 12, 2014
Brand new shirt with blackberry stain the first wearing! The vinegar got it out--thank you, thank you!
muse2323 August 25, 2013
Thanks for this--my toddler can't eat berries without getting them all over her clothes. I usually use handmade soap to treat the stains (when I remember), but it doesn't work as well on berry stains as on other stains.
Mary A. August 15, 2013
Your stain remove method sounds interesting but I just use Oxyclean with great results.
Kristen M. August 7, 2013
This is so helpful. Who knew toothpaste was such a magical secret weapon?