How to Remove Kool-Aid Stains

Kool-aid – the great childhood drink that has left it’s memories on many of our clothes. It’s no wonder those stains seem impossible to remove – it’s so strong, it has been used as dye! There are a few ways to remove these very stubborn stains. As with any stain removal technique, you will want to try a test application on a small, hidden spot to be sure it does not damage the color or fibers of your garment.

How to Clean Kool-Aid Stains…

There are several different methods you can use to remove Kool-Aid from your garments.

…With Ice Water

You Will Need:

  • Cold water (add ice cubes, the colder the better)
  • Clean white cloths
  • Spray bottle for water
  • Borax
  • Old toothbrush
  • Vacuum

How to Remove the Stain:

  1. Begin by blotting with a clean cloth to remove as much of the Kool-Aid as possible. It’s very important to BLOT throughout this entire process DO NOT SCRUB. Your goal is to “lift” the stain, not rub it into the fabric. Working from the outside of the stain towards the center will keep the stain from spreading.
  2. Spray the stain with the ice cold water.
  3. Cover the stain with borax
  4. Use an old toothbrush to gently work the borax into the stain.
  5. Blot with clean cloth. Repeat as necessary with a clean cloth each time until no more stain appears on the cloth.
  6. When the stain is removed, wash the clothing in cold water following detergent recommendations on the care tag.
  7. You may want to air-dry the clothing to be sure the stain is not noticeable when it’s dry. If you place it in the dryer and it’s not completely gone, it will be set from the heat and impossible to remove.

…With Boiling Water

You Will Need:

  • Boiling Water
  • Large Bowl

How to Remove the Stain:

  1. Keep the boiling water in a tea kettle or pitcher, you will need something that you can easily pour it from.
  2. Lay the stained garment over the large bowl so the stain is centered on the bowl.
  3. Carefully pour the boiling water over the stained area and into the bowl. BE CAREFUL not to splash yourself with the hot water.
  4. As the water travels through the fabric, it will take the stain with it.
  5. Repeat as necessary until the stain is gone.
  6. When the stain is removed, wash the clothing in cold water following detergent recommendations on the care tag.
  7. You may want to air-dry the clothing to be sure the stain is not noticeable when it’s dry. If you place it in the dryer and it’s not completely gone, it will be set from the heat and impossible to remove.

…With a Hot Iron

This method will work on both fresh stains and set-in stains.

You Will Need:

  • Iron
  • Clean white towel
  • Water
  • Ammonia
  • Spray bottle

How to Remove the Stain:

  1. Mix a solution of 1 part water and 1 part ammonia in the spray bottle.
  2. Spray the solution on the kool-aid stain.
  3. Cover with a damp towel.
  4. Place hot, steamy iron on top of damp towel for 30 seconds.
  5. Remove the iron. The stain should be transferred to the towel.
  6. When the stain is removed, wash the clothing in cold water following detergent recommendations on the care tag.
  7. You may want to air-dry the clothing to be sure the stain is not noticeable when it’s dry. If you place it in the dryer and it’s not completely gone, it will be set from the heat and impossible to remove.

Additional Tips and Ideas

If the stain is on a garment that is dry-clean only, do not pre-treat or attempt to remove the stain. Take the item to a professional cleaner as soon as possible to have the stain treated. For help finding reputable cleaners in your area, contact your local Chamber of Commerce, or visit the Yellow Pages.


  1. Jennifer says:

    I need to know how to get Kool-Aid out of a tan-colored sofa. I’ve got a lot of it out with carpet cleaner and cold water, but the stain is still there and it’s pink, not red any more. Any ideas??

  2. Same here, but it’s on a sweater that’s cream colored.

    I scrubbed it with stain remover and it turned pink.

  3. I got out an orange Gatorade stain that was set in for a couple of months with just water, a little dishwashing liquid and a hot iron and paper towels. Not even sure I needed any soap. The steam from the iron pulled it out; I just had to do it over and over for about 10 or 15 minutes, but you can’t tell it was even there now.

  4. One of my kids spilled blue Kool-aid on my wood table and left it to set in and make a nice stain for me to clean up.
    Luckily, I came on here and decided to try using my iron on the steam setting with paper towels to see if that would work.

    It did! In less than a minute, the steam had pulled the Kool-aid out and the paper towel absorbed it. *WHEW*

  5. The Kool-ade stain is set in on light carpet. I had a pro out the day after it happened, but they couldn’t get it out. It is now set in and I would like you to suggest my best option.

  6. I have a beautiful crocheted white doily my friend made me & our great-grandkids spilled a glass full of Kool-Aid on it. I didn’t know until a day later & it’s dried on it, so what can I do to get it out? I’m desperate.

  7. There is this amazing cleaner called Capture…

    It is a spray and powder that you apply to your carpet.

    We had a Koolaid stain on the carpet and I applied the powder, and after it dried, the stain vacuumed right out.

    Works on any stain, including coffee.

  8. Thank you for the ideas. My two-year-old had spilled his red Kool-Aid on our new bed and thanks to the tips above I was able to clean the entire affected area of all the Kool-aid. I didn’t have any ammonia or dish soap as mentioned, just an iron and paper towels, so after wiping up what we could, I sprayed water on the area (small sections at a time) and placed the hot steam iron onto 3 layers of paper towels over the now dampened area. I waited for about 30 or so seconds until the towels just started to brown and it soaked up the Kool-aid. It took a few passes to get each spot completely clean, but it was a large area covering half a queen size bed, which would have looked terrible under any light color, or white bed sheets. Now it’s gone and the bed is saved. Thank you, Thank you, Thank You!

  9. My husband accidentally spilled a Red Mio drink in our Nissan and the carpet stained. We used equal parts of ammonia and water in a bottle, and sprayed the stain. Then we put a damp, white towel over it and put a hot iron on top of the towel for about a minute, and stain lifted! Thank You so much for you help.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    My friend spilt red Icee all over my gold dance shoes. Help me!

  11. OK, so when my Kool-Aid hair dye came out on my pillow, comforter, and sheet, I tried the iron method. It seems to have worked for everyone but me. It ruined my iron, and the stain barely came out. I can still see it!

  12. I dyed my hair with green Kool-Aid, and it bled on a new white shirt I had. How do I get it off? Please help!

  13. Dyed my hair with red Kool-Aid and I got it on my friend’s carpet. How do I get it out? Help!

  14. I have white shoes and got a Kool-Aid stain. Need help.

  15. All-white shirts: put the stained shirt over a bowl and pour boiling water over it. I just did and it was perfect, like a brand new white shirt. The shirt is completely back to normal.

  16. I have red Kool-Aid on my counter tops. Nothing works!! Help.

  17. I used the hot iron method with Windex and paper towels, and it amazed me! I spilled a Mio red drink on my mostly-bamboo light blue duvet cover. I thought it would have the stain forever, and the duvet is too expensive for me to replace it right away. I tried this after the stain had set for about a month; I was too scared to try anything on it! You can’t tell at all! It took me about an hour because it was a large spot and I had to go over it a lot of times; I used about half a roll of paper towels. Thanks!

  18. I was dying my sisters hair with Kool Aid and some dripped on the toilet seat and I was wondering how I could get it out?

  19. Kool-Aid on countertops will come right out with Comet or Ajax. Another great trick to get it out of carpet is to douse with hot water and vinegar and wet vac it up. Then leave a disposable diaper over the area with heavy books on top of it overnight and the stain will lift to the diaper. This has worked where the stain had been there for several months.

  20. Mallarie says:

    My niece, Kailey, dyed her hair with red Kool Aid three days ago. We went swimming, then washed her hair. When she wrapped her hair in a towel and then removed the towel, it was all over her white shorts and white towel. We drenched the shorts with Shout cleaner, then poured boiling water on them over a bowl. Let it sit for a hour and then washed them; it worked like a charm!

  21. I have brown carpet and my daughter spilled red slurpee on it. I didn’t notice until days later. I was so upset because I thought it would be stained forever. Well, I looked on here and followed the instructions for the hot iron, ammonia and paper towels method and it worked; I couldn’t believe it! Thank you so much!

  22. I spilled some red Kool Aid on my white shorts and I tried bleach and nothing worked. I need help!!!

  23. I got a stain on a white polo shirt a couple daya ago… after it sat for over 24 hours, my wife and I tried the “Boiling Water” technique… worked like a charm. Stain is out and I can keep wearing it (one of my favorites).

    Thanks for the advice!!!

  24. My daughter received a custom crib bedding set for her baby shower. It was made from two fabrics, a bright pink and a white and gray chevron. As we were loading up the car, we noticed red punch had spilled all over it!! Immediately got cold water on it. That got the Kool-Aid stain to fade from red to pink. Got home and tried baking powder paste, nothing. Came on here and found the boiling water method; magic! Thanks!!

  25. I am amazed! The hot iron trick works! My daughter wasted a whole red Gatorade in her room (light tan carpet – 2 days ago) and didn’t tell me. It was a dried-on mess. I have been scrubbing with every oxi-product I could find and nothing worked except to turn it pink. Just now, out of desperation, I decided to give it a try. I wet a washcloth, laid it on the stain and put a hot steam iron on top of it for several seconds, lifted the washcloth and the stain is GONE! Thank you for this tip.

  26. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I spilled red Koolaid all down the front of my favorite shirt. I live in a dorm and my access to things is a bit limited so I tried the hot water trick using my Keurig, lol. It worked! Saved my shirt and my wallet.

  27. My dog hit the table and a whole glass of Koolaid ended up on a light tan carpet. It sat for three weeks; I finally got some Oxyclean and that made the stain pink. I used carpet cleaner, and scrubbing. Then, I got some wet paper towels and a hot iron. After two times, the stain is almost gone. I figure a couple more times and it will be barely there. Thank you so much; I am amazed.

  28. Hi, my name is Jenny. I just want to ask a question. How do you take stains out of white pillows? It’s red Kool Aid stains that are on there, but I want to learn how to take them out before my brother gets out of work. Thank you for helping me do this.

  29. Mary Jo says:

    I have removed Kool-Aid stains from counter tops with Soft Scrub.

  30. Melanie says:

    For pillows, use either the ice water method or the hot iron method. For more pillow-specific information, see the article How to Clean Pillows.

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