How to remove perfume stains?

How to Remove Perfume Stains

Dai Ni asked, “Does anybody know how to get a perfume stain out?”

Table of Contents:

  1. Removing the Perfume Stain
  2. Additional Tips and Advice
  3. Sources


Perfumes often contain both alcohol and oils, as well as dyes, any of which can leave a stain. Use the methods below to remove the stain as soon as possible, as any stain is easier to remove when it is fresh.¹

Removing the Perfume Stain

Always test a cleaning solution on a small, out-of-the-way area first to look for any adverse reaction.

You Will Need:

  • Soda water
  • Cold water
  • Dish liquid
  • White vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • A cotton ball
  • Hydrogen peroxide

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. Hold the fabric with the stain facing downward and blot soda water or cold water onto the area behind the stain. This will help to flush the stain out of the fabric.²
  2. Rub a few drops of dish liquid into the front and back of the stain. Allow the dish liquid to sit on the stain for about 10 minutes, then use cold water to rinse the area.²
  3. Combine 1 tablespoon of white or distilled vinegar and a few drops of dish liquid in 1 liter of water. Soak the stain in the solution for about 15 minutes and rinse the area clean.²
  4. Another option is to use rubbing alcohol. Test the alcohol on a small hidden spot on the garment first and if safe, moisten a cotton ball with the alcohol and blot the back of the stain. Rinse well after the stain is removed.³
  5. If the fabric is white and there are traces of the stain remaining, blot the stains with 3% hydrogen peroxide, then rinse the area well.⁴

Additional Tips and Advice

  • A laundry stain remover, such as Zout, can also remove a perfume stain.¹
  • Do not try to remove a perfume stain with soap, as soap can cause the stain to set.²
  • Always apply your perfume and let it dry completely before getting dressed to prevent stains.¹



  1. The Queen of Clean’s Complete Cleaning Guide by Linda Cobb
  2. Stain Removal by Stephanie Zia
  3. Clean it Fast, Clean it RIGHT by Jeff Bredenberg
  4. Removing Spots and Stains by Ilbert & Eleanor Mellan

Guide To Removing Perfume Stains

Perfume stains can happen when you spritz a bit too much perfume onto your clothing, or drop a bottle of perfume onto your upholstery or carpeting.

Although perfume can smell nice, no one enjoys the stains it can cause.

Many perfumes are alcohol based, and therefore they can leave a ring around fabric or fibers where the alcohol begins to react with the surface.

The key to removing perfume stains is to begin treating them as quickly as possible.

Below are step by step instructions for how to remove stains caused by perfume from your clothing, other washable fabric, upholstery and carpet.

Removing Perfume Stains From Clothing And Fabrics

Step 1: Pretreat the stain with a laundry stain remover.

Step 2: Launder in the hottest water the fabric will allow to get out the stain caused by the perfume, and either chlorine bleach if the fabric will allow it, or color bleach if not.

Hint: Make sure the stain caused by the perfume is gone after washing, but before you place in the dryer or you may set the stain. Repeat if necessary.

You can may like to check out this tip for how to clean perfume from clothing with a baking soda and ammonia paste, for an alternative way to remove these stains.

Stain Removal For Perfume From Upholstery

Step 1: Blot up as much perfume as possible.

Step 2: Mix a solution of two cups cool water, one tablespoon dishwashing liquid, and one tablespoon of white vinegar.

Step 3: Using this solution, sponge the stain from the perfume with a clean white cloth.

Step 4: Next, blot at the stain until the liquid is absorbed.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3-4 until the stains from the perfume are removed from the upholstery.

Step 6: Now that the stain is removed you should get plain cold water and a new white cloth and sponge the area to remove the cleaning solution, and then blot dry.

Hint: Be sure to get the upholstery only as wet as necessary to remove the stain from the perfume.

If this does not remove the stain, you can also try using dry cleaning solvent to remove it.

You can get more information on how to clean upholstery here.

How To Remove Stains Caused By Perfume From Carpet

The instructions for removal of stains caused by perfume from carpet is the same as for upholstery.

Recommended Formula Stain Removers

Perhaps you don’t want to make your own stain remover, but instead want to use something designed to remove perfume stains.

Here are some articles and reviews on this site which discuss various products that are designed to remove these stains, or the odor they can also leave behind:

Carbona Stain Devil #8
Windex To Remove Odor From Fabric & Plastic

You can also share your own stain remover reviews here for other removers that work on perfume, or any other stain.

Do You Have Any Tips To Share For Removing These Stains?

I’m always looking for more tips and ideas for how to remove stains. You can share your stain removal tip here, for removing stains caused by perfume or anything else.

In addition, this is one of the top Valentine’s Day stains. You can check out the rest of them to make sure this romantic day stays enjoyable!

Get Even More Stain And Spot Removal Help Here

Are you a stain magnet like me? If so, check out the A to Z Stain Removal Guide which gives directions for how to remove over 100 types of stains from all kinds of surfaces.

Bottom photo by Stepheye

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Related Pages You May Enjoy

A-Z Guide: Instructions For Removing Over 100 Types Of Stains

Mascara Stain Removal Guide

Go From Removing Perfume Stains To Home Page

CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won’t come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.

Regardless of whether you spill a little or a lot, perfume stains really stink! Unsurprisingly, these stains can appear just as easily on clothing as they do on upholstery and carpet. Fortunately, cleaning pro Leslie Reichert and carpet cleaning expert Dean Carter know exactly how to fight these fragrant spills. Read on as they share their stain-fighting expertise.

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How to remove perfume stains from clothing

“Perfume is oil-based,” explains Reichert, “so you want to use alcohol to break down the stain-causing oil.”

First, blot up any excess perfume.

Then, using a white cotton cloth or a cotton ball, dab rubbing alcohol on the stain, then blot with a clean white cloth.

Continue until the spot disappears.

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Next, rub a white bar soap (like Ivory) onto the spot. The soap will wrap around the oil and alcohol and work to lift out the stain.

Rinse and let the item air dry.

If the spot is still there, repeat the process. Don’t put the item in the dryer or apply heat until you’re positive the spot is gone because the heat will set the stain.

RELATED: How to remove lipstick stains from clothes, upholstery and carpet

How to remove perfume stains from upholstery

“The above process also works on sturdy upholstery fabrics,” says Reichert. Just be sure to test the fabric in an inconspicuous place before tackling the stain.

For delicate silk or vintage fabrics, consult an upholstery professional.

RELATED: 5 messes we’re cleaning the wrong way

How to remove perfume stains from carpet

“The first thing you should do is blot up the excess perfume,” says Carter.

“Then, tackle the stain using a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon Dawn detergent, 1 teaspoon white vinegar and 1 cup of warm water. Dab the solution on the stain, then blot all liquid from the stain using a clean, white cloth. Remove the detergent solution from the carpet by dabbing it with plain water and blotting up liquid until all detergent is gone.”

This is an important step because detergent residue will act as a dirt magnet and produce an even bigger stain if not removed.

Lastly, blot dry.

How to Remove Cologne and Perfume Spots

Cologne and perfume set a romantic mood, as long as they’re not spilled on your shirt sleeve. These stain removal tips on cleaning out scents make a lot of sense.

Remove Cologne and Perfume Spots From:

Cologne, Acetate, Fiberglass, Rayon,


Silk, Triacetate

Flush (the method of applying stain remover to loosen staining materials and residue from stain removers) the stain with water, then add a few drops of glycerine. Rinse well with water. If some stain remains, cautiously try a diluted solution of white vinegar. Make sure you work the stain outward from the center to avoid leaving a ring. Flush with water to remove the vinegar and allow to dry.

Remove Cologne and Perfume Spots From:

Acrylic Fabric, Burlap, Carpet/Synthetic, Carpet/Wool, Cotton, Linen,

Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester, Rope, Spandex, Wool

Sponge (the method of using light strokes with a dampened pad working outward from the center of the stain) the stain with water. Apply a wet spotter and cover with an absorbent pad dampened with the wet spotter. Let it stand as long as any stain is being removed. Change the pad as it picks up the stain. Keep the stain and pad moist with the wet spotter. Flush well with water. Repeat until no more stain is being lifted. If any stain remains, apply rubbing alcohol (do not use this on acrylic or modacrylic) to the stain and cover it with an absorbent pad dampened with alcohol. Let it stand as long as any stain is being lifted. Change the pad as it picks up the stain. Keep the stain and pad moist with alcohol. Flush well with water and allow to dry.

Acrylic Plastic, Alabaster, Asphalt, Ceramic Glass/Tile, Cork,

Glass, Gold, lvory, Jade, Linoleum Marble, Paint/Flat,

Paint/Gloss, Plexiglas, Polyurethane, Stainless Steel,

Vinyl Clothing, Vinyl Tile, Vinyl Wallcovering

Wash spill with a solution of warm sudsy water. Rinse well and wipe dry with a clean cloth.

Bluestone, Brick, Concrete, Flagstone, Granite,

Limestone, Masonry Tile, Sandstone,

Slate, Terrazzo

Wash stained area with a solution of washing soda or detergent and water. Use a cloth or gentle brush to scrub. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry.

Leather, Suede

Gently blot excess. Mix a solution of mild soap in lukewarm water. Swish to create a great volume of suds. Apply only the foam with a sponge. Wipe with a clean dry cloth. If an oily stain remains, powder the stain with an absorbent, such as cornmeal. Give it plenty of time to work. Gently brush (the method of using a stiff-bristled brush to gently remove dried stains and spots) it out. Repeat if necessary. On leather only, follow with Tannery Vintage Leather Cleaner & Conditioner or Fiebings Saddle Soap to condition the leather.


Cologne often permanently stains paper, so treat the stain immediately. Carefully wipe with a sponge dipped in clear warm water and wrung out until damp. Strokes should be overlapped to prevent streaking. Gently pat dry with a clean cloth.


Rub the stain with a little denatured alcohol, immediately if possible. Follow this with a liberal application of boiled linseed oil. If the stain persists, leave some oil on the surface for 24 hours, then wipe with a clean soft cloth and polish or wax as usual.

You enjoy perfume and cologne because you smell it, not because you see it. These tips will keep you from making a stink about cologne and perfume spills.

Publications International, Ltd.

How do you remove oil perfumes or regular perfume stains from colored garments?


If you have tried washing items with perfume stains and find that a little stain remains, then it would make sense that there’s a little residual oil that’s not coming out. Pretreating the stains with a little liquid dishwashing detergent (the kind you use for hand washing dishes) is a great technique for dealing with this problem. It’s important that when you first pretreat the stain that the fabric is dry—that is, you don’t rinse it with water first. To pretreat, apply a little detergent directly to the stain and wait 5 minutes, then rinse with a little warm water. Now you’ll want to machine wash the garment in the warmest water recommended on the care label using detergent and Clorox2® because you are washing an item with color. Let the garment air dry—you want to be sure the stain is all the way out before putting the item in a hot dryer.

If you get out the oil, then the fragrance should come out with it. I hope this helps—let me know if you have any other questions, and thanks for writing!

–Dr. Laundry