How to remove pollen stains

how to remove pollen stains

Flowers – we love to give them away and we love to receive them. They look good and smell good, adding a sense of beauty to a surrounding. Someone special may have surprised you with a bunch, but unfortunately, now you might have to deal with annoying pollen stains. So how do you get rid of pollen stains?

The quickest remedy to eliminate pollen stains is to try and shake them off, then sweep everything clean. Avoid blotting, touching or wetting the stain, as you may spread it further. If the pollen stain has already set in and  left a yellow or brown mark behind, consider using one of the following simple approaches:

  • Sunshine approach
  • Sticky tape approach
  • Coldwater and laundry detergent approach
  • Isopropyl Alcohol approach

A completely free approach: Using sunshine

Pollen will fade when exposed to direct sunlight. This technique works best for getting rid of softer, pale pollen stains. You will simply need a clothesline or surface exposed to the bright sunshine on a sunny day.


  1. Blow or shake off gently to get rid of excess pollen that may have come into contact with the fabric or upholstery.
  2. Expose it to direct sunlight for a couple of hours.
  3. The pollen should fade. If it doesn’t, consider using a laundry detergent to remove the remaining pollen stain marks.
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Find some sticky tape

This is another very simple and cheap way of removing pollen, especially pollen that has just come into contact with fabric and has not yet spread. You will just need a type of sticky tape like masking tape.


  1. Blow or shake the excess pollen off gently.
  2. Wrap sticky tape (sticky side out) around your finger.
  3. Slowly and gently place the sticky tape onto the affected area and pull it off again. This will lift the pollen off of your shirt, or whatever is stained.
  4. Be careful not to touch or press onto the fabric too hard as this may cause it to stain more.
  5. Repeat the process until everything is clear.
  6. You should have removed most pollen at this point. If not, you can go on to the next method

Using laundry detergent and cold water

Laundry detergents, especially ones that contain enzymes, are good at penetrating organic stains and easily breaking them down. Cold water repels pollen as pollen is mainly composed of fats. This makes the combination a suitable solution for pre-treating the stain before going ahead with washing the garment or carpet as you would normally.

You will need the following:

  • ½ a bucket of cold water
  • ½ a cup of laundry detergent 


  1. Pre-treat the affected area with cold water by rinsing thoroughly.
  2. Mix the detergent with water and soak the fabric.
  3. Allow the garment to soak in the solution for up to 30 minutes.
  4. Then wash as you usually do and rinse.
  5. Hang it out to air dry.
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Isopropyl alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is a solvent that dries quickly and is suitable for breaking down oily stains. Pollen, as mentioned earlier, is composed of fats. So, you can use isopropyl alcohol to get rid of pollen stains.

Just make sure you are pay attention to what type of fabric you are dealing with, as different fabrics react differently to different cleaning agents. So, you should always do a spot test on an inconspicuous part of the fabric before proceeding.

To use the Isopropyl alcohol technique for getting rid of pollen stains, you will need the following:

  • ½ a cup of Isopropyl alcohol
  • A gallon of clean water
  • Spray bottle (optional)


  1. First, try to get rid of any excess pollen on the fabric by blowing or shaking it off.
  2. Apply the Isopropyl alcohol by spraying if possible.
  3. Allow the isopropyl alcohol to sit on the stain for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Proceed to rinse in water and hang it out to dry.

Good facts to know about pollen stains

Which is the best method to use for removing pollen stains from a carpet?

All methods discussed above are suitable for removing pollen stains from the carpet. However, it’s harder to shake large carpets for excess pollen. It is even harder when the pollen stain has set in. You can start by carefully trying to vacuum up any excess pollen if it’s on a large carpet or rug.

Next, consider using a sponge to dampen the stain with laundry detergent or isopropyl alcohol. Allow the cleaning agent to sit for a few minutes, then finish off by blotting the area with a moist clean microfiber cloth and follow up with paper towels to dry or air dry.

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How can you ensure that a cleaning agent is safe?

To ensure a cleaning agent is safe to use, start by taking a look at the manufacturers’ wash care instructions. Different fabrics respond differently to different cleansers.

Next, do a spot test on the garment or carpet. A spot test is carried out by testing the cleaning agent on an inconspicuous part of the garment or carpet to see how it reacts. Once it’s proven to be safe, proceed to clean the stain.

Can you use bleach to remove pollen from white garments or upholstery?

You can use an oxygen-based bleach to get rid of pollen stains from white garments or upholstery, depending on the fabric. However, it’s a more serious approach than you probably need. Bleach is definitely not suitable for wool, silk, and certain types of leather. Be very careful when using bleach. It should be the last resort for stubborn set-in pollen stains.

Wrapping up

Prevention is better than a cure. When you feel the need to decorate your home with flowers, consider getting rid of the anthers (the pollen carrying part of the flowers). In the event of a stain, a quick reaction is to shake and sweep everything off first. Then use any of the above methods to complete the pollen stain removal process.

Enjoy decorating your house and happy cleaning!

how to remove pollen stains

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