How to remove milk and cream stains

remove milk stain and cream stains
How to remove milk stainsCatherine Falls Commercial - Getty Images

Cereal, coffee, tea, milkshakes — milk is an ingredient in many things we eat and drink every day. It's no wonder that the average Brit consumes more than 1,275ml of milk every week, and that occasionally it'll end up spilt on our clothes, surfaces or furniture.

Don't panic if this does happen, though! This guide should help you remove milk stains without much stress.

GHI Tip: Milk and cream are mainly protein stains, so use cool to lukewarm water to clean the spill.

Act quickly!

As with all stains, it's important to act fast. Blot as much liquid from the stain as you can with white paper towels or a clean, white, lint-free cloth. For clothing, check the care label: if the garment doesn't say 'dry clean only', then follow the directions below.

remove milk stains and cream stains
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Washable fabrics

Flush the stained area with lots of cool water. Rub a small amount of biological liquid clothes detergent into the stained area and leave for a few minutes (or non-bio or handwash detergent if you're treating a stain on a protein-based fabric such as wool or silk). Or, if you have an enzyme-based stain remover, such as Vanish's Oxi-Action stain remover powder, pre-treat with this at a low temperature (but, again, never on wool or silk fabrics).

For cottons, follow by machine-washing at 40°C with biological detergent, or on as hot a wash as the care label allows. For machine washable silk and wool, wash at 30°C (check the care label carefully for details of the highest recommended temperature first) on a delicates cycle with a gentle detergent, or wash by hand if this is what the care label specifies.


Spot-treat the affected area with a proprietary carpet cleaner, such as Bissell Oxy Stain Remover, following the manufacturer's instructions. Rinse with cool water and use paper towels to blot dry - it's very important to lift as much moisture as possible, otherwise you may be left with a foul sour milk stench coming from the carpet.

For lingering 'sour milk' odours, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda over the area and leave for a few hours before vacuuming. If that doesn't work, a specialised product designed for removing pet smells should do the trick.

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