Stain Solutions: How To Get Lily Pollen Out Of Clothes?

Do you love lilies? These are some big and beautiful flowers that can brighten up any home. There are various types to choose from, like Easter lilies, Stargazer, daylilies, and tiger lilies. The only problem is that they can also leave a long-lasting reminder, their stains! Now, you may be a cleaning expert and know how to clean all kinds of stains off your carpet, remove red wine stains from anything, and wash your duvet without damaging it. Still, pollen stains are not an everyday problem!

Lily stains are not only visible because of their orange or brown marks, but they can also quickly transfer in fabric. Their orange pollen is quite dusty, which means you have to be extra careful when deciding to get rid of the stains. Are you worried about messing up your clothes even more? Don’t worry; we give you all the essential tips to get lily pollen out of your clothes easily and hassle-free! 

Before you begin

You want to get the pollen off without touching it and without letting the stain touch other areas of the clothing. That’s why it is best to start cleaning your dirty cloth while you’re still wearing the garment. If you need to take it off, remove it very carefully. You should not let it fold over or touch other garment areas since they will also become stained. Wondering what causes these stains and how to get rid of them without further damage? Keep on reading to find out all you need to know!

What causes pollen stains?

Just a pinch of pollen powder contains thousands of tiny grains, and these can come in a variety of sizes and shapes, depending on the plant’s species. The pollen’s colour is usually a range of pigments; from the blue and red anthocyanin pigments of delphiniums and fuchsias to the yellow and orange carotenoids found in lilies. These strong pigments are the ones causing the stains, and the most dreaded ones are those found in lily pollen.

Overview of lily pollen stains

Most florists recommend that you remove the anthers when they start to produce pollen. This isn’t only to save you when it comes to allergies, but their pollen can also be deadly to pets and cause stains on clothes if it comes in contact with them.

Of course, removing the stamens increases your risk of staining your clothes. Before you do so, it is essential to understand that pollen is a powder and not a liquid. So, although your first instinct may be to wipe it off when it gets on your clothes, you shouldn’t! Don’t touch it, blot it, or wet it down, either. That will only make it worse.

Choose a detergent

You can use an enzymatic detergent. If your garment is washable, then a detergent with enzymes may work well on pollen stains. Other kinds of solvents can remove reddish stains by pouring some 99% Isopropyl Alcohol over the area and then dabbing up the resulting yellow liquid with paper towels. This works best for non-washable items, like carpets. Regular rubbing alcohol (70% Isopropyl Alcohol) will probably not work because of its higher water content. Another alternative you can try is to blot from the outside of the stain inwards with a dry-cleaning solvent.

When choosing a detergent for lily stain removal, you should consider the fabric colour and type you’re working with. Some commercial products should be safe for use on most fabrics, but always read the instructions and garment care labels. For sensitive material, consider using a detergent specialised in those.

Step-by-step guide: How to get lily pollen stains out of clothes

You’re now about to remove the stains out of your clothes. Follow our step-by-step guide to wash them and avoid the danger of staining any other fabrics or surfaces. These cleaning methods will also work on upholstery and carpets

What you’ll need

  • Soaking basin or sink washtub 
  • Sticky tape 
  • Washing machine (optional)
  • Water
  • Oxygen-based bleach
  • Laundry stain remover
  • Laundry detergent

Step 1: Shake off the pollen

Shake the stained clothes outdoors to remove as much powdery pollen as possible. You should hold the stained area face-down so the pollen won’t fall onto other areas of the clothing.

Step 2: Lift the pollen with tape or vacuum cleaner

Wrap some sticky tape with the sticky side out, then gently press it onto the stain and lift the pollen from the surface. The more pollen you’ll remove, the better chance you’ll have at entirely removing the stain. You can also hover a handheld vacuum cleaner about 1 cm from the clothing to suck up any loose pollen. 

Step 3: Rinse and soak with cold water

Rinse the clothing’s dirty area with water. This will encourage the pollen to detach and exit the way it came in. After rinsing, soak the garment in a sink or washtub full of cold water for about 30 minutes.

Step 4: Rinse again

Flush water through the fabric from the stain’s back to force the pollen out through the front, as you did before. Each time you rinse, you gently remove more of the stained area, so make sure to rinse thoroughly. 

Step 5: Apply stain remover

Before washing, apply your favourite laundry dirt remover. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes, or as directed.

Step 6: Wash as usual

Wash the stained garment in the hottest water that is recommended for the clothing. You can know the clothe’s highest temperature allowed to use by looking at the wash care symbols on the label. Using hot water will help the stain remover work better, but you don’t want it to be so hot that it damages your clothing or causes it to fade or shrink.

Step 7: Air-dry

You should check for the stain before drying. Pollen mark removal can sometimes be tricky, so you may need several treatments to make it entirely disappear. If the stain isn’t gone, repeat the above steps before drying the garment. Sometimes it’s hard to be sure if a stain is completely gone while the garment is still wet. You can air-dry it in a cool room or a tumble dryer and then check to see if you can still detect any yellow stains. You should not use the clothes dryer until it has vanished.

Tip: Hanging the garment in direct sunlight, like in a rotary washing line, helps eliminate many stains, especially the ones from light-coloured pollen. If you still detect a colour after you’ve air-dried your clothing, leave it in the sun for a day or two to erase the stain a bit more before repeating the stain removal process.

Step 8: Remove difficult pollen stains

If the stain outlasts your efforts with laundry products and even sunlight, you can apply rubbing alcohol and then try blotting it with a clean white cloth. Make sure to test for colour fastness in an inconspicuous area of the clothing before using any alcohol on the stain. Rinse the dirty area with water before washing the item.

What not to do

Many homeowners have learned how to remove stains through experience and know that flushing stains away with water does the trick most of the times. However, when it comes to stain removal, you should take a slightly different approach. Here’s some excellent advice for what NOT to do: 

  • Don’t touch the pollen stain. The natural oils of your fingertips will help the pollen set into the fabric, making the stain even more difficult to remove.
  • Don’t blot and press the stain. Blotting and pressing on your stained fabric will press the pollen further down into the fibres. It is essential to try and keep the pollen right on the surface. 
  • Don’t wipe the stain. Wiping the powder across the clothing surface will spread the yellow marks, leaving you with a bigger dirty area to deal with.
  • Don’t add water immediately. Rinsing and washing is always an important part of the cleaning process, but this should come much later when it comes to lily pollen. If you add water straight away, you will dissolve the powder and encourage the stain to spread.

Lily pollen stain prevention 

Do you want to enjoy lilies without having pollen nightmares? Prevention is always better than cure, so if you take a little preventative action, you can skip the mark removal process entirely in the future. All you need to do is to remove the pollen-laden stamen of cut lilies before you arrange them in a vase. When you first bring the flowers home, simply remove the anthers, the bright yellow powdery pods in the lily’s centre. Here’s how to do it:

  • Wrap your hand in a tissue.
  • Pull the anthers gently away. Be careful not to touch them with your fingers since lily pollen is no joke to remove from the skin, too.
  • You can also use fine, sharp scissors, holding each flower in turn over the sink and snipping off the stamen.
  • Dispose of them carefully. Be extra careful if you have pets; lily pollen is toxic to cats and often dogs, too.
  • You are done. Relax and enjoy your beautiful flowers!


Lilies symbolise beauty, purity and fresh life, but you also want to keep your clothes look and feel clean and fresh after touching or getting near these amazing flowers. Thankfully, there is a way to get rid of any unwanted lily pollen on your clothes. Follow our instructions to remove the stains and our tips to prevent them from getting on your clothes. Now that you know all the secrets to removing pollen stains from your clothes, you can welcome lilies into your house once again!

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