Skip to content
Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Treating pecan stains on clothing

By Dr. Laundry October 17, 2012

How can I remove brown pecan stains from clothing that resulted from a squirrel dropping shells on me from a tree?

What a fascinating question! Your pecan shell stains are probably a combination of oil from the nutmeat and colorant from the shell. Treat the oily portion of the stain first:  apply a little liquid dishwashing detergent (like Dawn) or liquid laundry detergent directly to the stain and let it soak in for 5 – 10 minutes—just don’t let it dry on the fabric. Rinse the stain with cool water to check your progress—what you do next depends on the color and fiber content of the item. If the item is white and bleachable (avoid bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, and spandex) then pre-treat any remaining stain with Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel. Apply a little of the gel directly to the stain and gently rub it in with the soft scrubber tip on the pen, and then wash immediately in the hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent + ¾ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach. If the item is colored, then pre-treat with Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster by applying a little directly to the stain and letting it sit for 3-5 minutes. Wash in the hottest water recommended on the care label using detergent and more Clorox® Regular-Bleach.  Air dry the item—you’ll want to keep it out of the dryer so the dryer heat doesn’t set the stain—if necessary you can repeat the treatment if the stain is stubborn and only partially removed.