Pollen Stain Removal

Pollen is loved by bees - see Why Do Bees Need Nectar And Pollen?  - but for humans, pollen stains, especially from the flowers of heavily loaded anthers of dark pollen (such as from open lilies), though pretty can be tricky to remove if you get them on your clothes or furniture - unless you know how!

Here are my simple pollen stain removal tips describing how to get rid of pollen stains using sticky tape and sunlight.

Pollen Stain Removal Tips And Techniques

However, please note,  preventing pollen stains is obviously better than having to deal with stains, so take a look at the simple steps you could take to prevent it happening in the first place.

Removing Pollen Stains

How to remove pollen stains.  Pink lily with exposed pollen anthers
  • If you discover a pollen stain on a garment, the first important point to remember is not to rub the pollen into the garment, and do not wet the material. 

  • Instead, try to remove the pollen without rubbing. Do this by using a piece of sellotape doubled over, so that the sticky side is exposed outwards. Gently apply the sellotape to the pollen, applying only the minimal amount of pressure so that the pollen will stick to the tape and come away from the garment.

  • It’s important to keep using clean sticky sellotape to remove the pollen until it is almost completely removed. You can then use more clean sellotape and gently apply greater pressure to the remaining pollen stain.

  • Next, if there is any sign of pollen stain remaining, place the garment outside in direct sunlight (as long as this will not harm the garment, and as long as the weather is fine and dry).

    The sun should bleach away the last of the pollen stain!
  • If you do not have sellotape, you could also try the end of the suction hose of a vacuum cleaner for upholstery. For a garment, however, you would need to take extreme care especially if delicate, to ensure it does not get sucked into the hose, snag any thread and ruin the shape.

  • If you are unable to remove the pollen stain, seek advice from a cleaning professional, or try one of the pollen stain removal products on the market, but remember to consult the cleaning instructions on the garment label before using.

To Prevent Pollen Stains.......

  • To prevent pollen stains, be particularly cautious about purchasing flowers and plants for the home, that carry large amounts of pollen, such as lilies and pussy willow. Ask your florist for advice.

  • If cut flowers are open at the time of purchase, ask the florist to remove any pollen.

  • If flowers are closed, at the first opportunity, remove the pollen-bearing anthers as soon as the flower starts to open, the anthers are just showing, and before they 'ripen'.  Either use a tissue or glove to protect fingers from stains, or clip them out with a small pair of scissors (but this can give the anthers of the flower a less attractive appearance). 

  • In the garden: position flowers which have a lot of pollen, such as lilies and fennel, to a location of the border away from the possibility of direct contact with clothing - don't let them crowd narrow pathways.

  • If you see that pollen has dropped onto the flower petals, you can gently use sticky tape (if the flower petal is strong enough) to remove it to prevent the pollen from spilling onto furniture and causing permanent staining.  Alternatively, if you can move the flowers without causing the pollen to spill, you can give them a gentle shake outdoors - however, do be aware that this may cause unsightly pollen staining in the flower itself, if the flowers are large, open flowers, such as lilies.

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