A closeup image of remaining pollen.

How to remove pollen stains from clothes (even your whites)

Who doesn’t love being given flowers? They’re bright, fragrant, and beautiful (like you) after all. Yet, with all the fun of getting a bouquet, it’s easy to forget that certain flowers carry a fine, yellow pollen that can easily stain your clothes. If you’ve accidentally held a bunch of lilies too close, or brushed your sleeve against a floral display, don’t worry – here’s how to get pollen stains out of clothes (even white ones) with a couple of simple tricks. 

 

How to remove pollen stains from white clothes

You’ll find pollen stain removal much, much easier if you keep the area dry to begin with – resist the urge to rinse the lily pollen out under the tap or brush at it with your hands, as water and the natural oils in your skin can help make the stain permanent. Instead, try this simple trick: 

  • Put a bit of tape on the pollen stain. You can use simple, everyday sticky tape to remove lily pollen without touching it. Simply press the tape gently onto the stain and then carefully remove it; the pollen should come off as well. If you don’t have any sticky tape at home, you could try lightly sweeping a pipe cleaner or a small brush across the stain to remove excess pollen instead. 
  • Hang the garment up in the sun. Make sure it gets plenty of full-on sunlight. Stains from lily pollen tend to fade if you leave them in the sun. Clever, right? 

These first two steps are sometimes all you need to get your clothes back to normal. If not, here’s how to remove the pollen stains that are left: 

  • Use Surf excel liquid detergent as a pre-treatment. Dab a little laundry detergent onto the pollen stain and work it in gently using an old (but clean!) toothbrush. 
  • Soak the garment. Put the garment in a small tub and pour in enough cold water to cover it. Leave in there for a few hours, or overnight, and then hang it out to dry in the sun again, just as described above.

Some pollen stains won’t go without a fight. If you’ve tried all four steps above and you can still see a yellowy pollen stain, you may be in need of a specifically formulated pollen stain remover. Just remember to follow the advice on the product label carefully. 

Once you’ve finished, wash the garment on the hottest temperature it can withstand (check the garment’s care label to find out what temperature that is). Hang the garment up to dry outside afterwards.

 

How to prevent lily pollen stains 

Now that you know how to remove pollen stains, you don’t need to feel too nervous next time you buy some lilies to put on the table. Even so, you can save yourself some trouble with this quick pollen stain prevention trick: 

  • Wrap your hand in tissue. Pollen stain removal can be just as tough if the marks are on your skin! 
  • Find and pluck off the anthers. The anthers are the pollen-filled part of the stamen, usually yellow in colour. Be careful not to touch them as you pull them off. 
  • Wrap the anthers in paper, and dispose of them carefully. Make sure that no pets or small hands can access them, as lily pollen can be toxic.  

Rather leave the anthers on your flowers? Not a problem. Now that you know how to get pollen stains out of clothes with very little effort, you can enjoy your bouquet worry-free. 

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