Flower Pollen Stains

By Tasha Zander

With spring around the corner, many of us are slowly starting up yard work, removing the plants that did not survive the freeze of the winter, trimming back trees that need some maintenance, and clearing weeds in flower beds in preparation for new plants.
 
In between the grass, dirt, and sweat, you may be discovering stains from the beautiful flowers you are planting in your yard. One common stain is flower pollen, which has a mysterious way of sticking to your clothes and causing yellow or orange stains.
 
To remove pollen from your clothes, never dab at it with a wet cloth! Making the pollen wet tends to work the stain further into your clothes and also makes it a much larger stain. First, attempt to shake the pollen off of your clothes. If you are concerned that this might cause the pollen to stick to other parts of your clothes, lay the item flat with the pollen accessible. Using strips of tape, gently apply them to lift the pollen off of the clothing. Be careful to not press the tape too hard as you do not want to press the pollen into the fibers of the cloth. Carefully remove the tape with the pollen attached. Once you have removed all of the pollen that is sitting on top of the fabric, inspect the area to see if there is any staining on the clothing. If there is, use an enzyme based stain remover such as Zout Liquid Spray to treat the stain. Spray with Zout and gently rub into the stain. Do not apply the stain remover if there are still particles of pollen on the cloth as rubbing in the treatment will embed the pollen. Then wash the clothing in the warmest water it will allow using your favorite detergent. A good, enzyme based detergent to use would be Purex Oxi liquid detergent.
 
You may be asking why am I recommending enzyme based laundry products. Pollen is made up of protein, especially in the case of plants that are generally pollinated by insects. Enzymes are typically used to target protein based stains, providing a much better chance that you can remove the entire stain.
 
As always, before you transfer your clothing to the dryer, check to make sure the stain has been completely removed. Drying the item in the dryer can set the stain, making it nearly impossible to remove. If there are still remnants of the stain, you have a couple of options. Either reapply the stain remover and repeat the process or soak the clothing item in water with a small amount of detergent. If you chose to presoak, after thirty to sixty minutes, transfer the item to the washing machine and wash normally.
 
Good luck with all of your spring time gardening (and removing any stains that you may encounter!)