How to remove lily pollen stains from clothes and carpets – and is it poisonous to cats?


LILIES are beautiful, big flowers which can brighten up any home – but they can also leave a lasting reminder.

We give you the key tips on how to get the pollen stains out of clothes and carpets.

Some people cut off the stamens – where the pollen is – so as not get stains
Getty – Contributor

How can you remove lily pollen from clothes?

Lily pollen can leave orange or brown marks which are notoriously difficult to shift, and some remain indefinitely.

The orange pollen is quite dusty, so easily transfers onto fabric.

And to make matters worse, the oil on our hands and fingers can cause the pollen to sink deeper into material, making it harder to remove.

One common mistake people make is trying to use traditional cleaning methods to shift the stain, such as cleaning it with a damp cloth.

Initially try not to get the pollen wet, as this will likely cause the stain to sweep further into the fabric.

Cleanipedia has some handy tips for removing the pollen.

If you immediately notice pollen has got onto a surface, resist touching it and try to shake the dust off.

If the pollen clings on, try using a bit of tape to lift off as being dusty it should easily stick to it.

Lily stains, which can be brown or orange, are hard to get rid of
Art of Clean/Youtube

If this fails, some of the lighter varieties of pollen will fade when exposed to the sun.

If possible, place the item in direct sunlight and there’s a good chance a lightly coloured stain will simply fade away.

If that fails, try soaking the item in cold water, then drying out and leaving in direct sunlight.

If the stain still refuses to budge, try applying a laundry detergent to it, then wash on your machine at a high temperature.

How can you remove lily pollen from carpets?

Needless to say some of the hacks for clothes – such as putting in sunlight or in the washing machine – won’t work for carpet.

Some things could still work on carpet, such as using tape initially to try and lift it off.

If that fails, or you want to try something with a little more power, you can run a hoover over it.

Always check bunches of flowers for lilies if you have a cat

Make sure you don’t rub the pollen in, and try to strategically place the nozzle over the stain.

If that doesn’t work, you could still try and sponge the stain but use a dry cleaning solvent, not just a damp sponge.

All parts of a lily, including the leaves and petal, are poisonous to cats
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And if it still refuses to budge, try applying a detergent or isopropyl alcohol to it.

Always read the instructions first before using and ensure the room is well ventilated.

One way of avoiding getting stains in the first place is to cut off the pollen-carrying part of the plant.

The stamen, or anthers, is where the pollen is made and carried and if removed, the stain-causing dust goes with it.

Be careful not to remove directly with your hands, as you can end up transferring the pollen.

Instead wrap a piece of damp tissue around it and remove that way.

Cats need immediate treatment if they have come into contact with the flower
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Is it poisonous to cats?

Aside from the unsightly stains it causes, the gorgeous flower poses another risk – it’s deadly to cats.

Website states that all lily variants – including Easter lilies, day lilies, tiger lilies, and Stargazer lilies can all be deadly.

And while the pollen may be troublesome, the entire plant – including leaves and petals – are poisonous to cats.

Even being exposed to a small part of the plant, for example getting some pollen on a whisker, can be enough to kill a cat.


If a cat is taken to vet within 18 hours of contact with a lily, they can make a full recovery, but after this time-frame usually usually cats do not survive.

The signs to look out for are vomiting, and if left untreated cats usually die from renal failure.

There is no home remedy for a cat exposed to lilies; they need medical treatment as soon as possible.


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