will lemon juice stain clothes

Will Lemon Juice Stain Clothes?

Mother Nature has a powerful cupboard of cleaning and laundry products, and lemon juice is renowned as an effective stain remover. But while this is true, lemon juice itself can sometimes cause staining itself. 

If you google lemon juice and stains, you’ll probably find a whole heap of articles telling you how to use it for stain removal. If you’re trying to get rid of an unwanted lemon juice stain, this can be quite frustrating! But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. 

Below you’ll find out exactly what you need to do to avoid clothes before stained with lemon juice, and what to do if this happens. 


Does Lemon Juice Stain Clothes?

lemon juice

Although lemon juice can be used to loosen and remove stains from clothes, it can cause just as many problems itself if it’s left on for too long. The strong acids within lemon can bleach and stain clothing. 

If you spill lemon juice onto your clothes, you might not notice any discolouration right away. This is because lemon juice takes a while to cause a stain, so early intervention is key. 

If you’ve spilt lemon juice on your clothes, you should wash your clothes in the machine right away with a good quality detergent. 

Don’t tumble dry your clothing until you have checked to see if the stain has been removed. This is because the heat can “set” any residual stain and make it impossible to treat any further. 

Neutralising the acid will help to minimise the potential for staining if you can’t launder your clothes right away. 

You can do this by rinsing the affected area with water and removing any trace of lemon pulp. Don’t rub the stain as this can push it deeper into the fibres. 

Wet the fabric on the opposite side to the stained area and wash with detergent as soon as possible. 

How lemon juice affects white vs. colours

White clothing won’t have as many issues as coloured clothing because lemon juice acts like a bleach. This means whiter clothes may get whiter, but it’s still important to remove any pulp or juice to prevent uneven, bright patches. 

Coloured clothing could show the greatest effect from lemon juice. If it’s left on the clothing for a prolonged period of time without washing through, it may bleach the dye and create light patches. 


Does Lemon Juice Fade Clothing?

lemon juice on clothes

Lemon juice is very acidic, and this causes a bleaching effect on fabric. The extent of the bleaching depends on the type of fabric, and the colour. 

White clothing probably won’t notice any difference at all as lemon juice is regularly used to brighten whites. 

However, on coloured clothing, extensive contact with lemon juice can cause fading and noticeable bleached patches. That’s why if you’re using lemon juice to treat stains, you should be very careful to follow the instructions for application.  


Does Lime Juice Have the Same Effect on Clothing as Lemon Juice?

lime juice and lemon juice

Limes are visually much different to lemons, usually being a strong green colour when bought. Over time, limes will actually turn yellow as they age, making them look much more like lemons. 

Even when limes are green, they act in more or less an identical way to lemons. Their juice is virtually invisible, like lemon juice, and the acidity means limes can also be used to treat stains. 

Similar to lemons, lime juice can stain if left in contact with clothing, and also has a bleaching effect. Therefore, if you spill lime juice on your clothing, you should follow the same procedure as cleaning lemon juice to prevent accidental bleaching and fading.