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Pollen Stains

Some tips on avoiding pollen stains, as well as some dos and don'ts for when pollen meets fabric.

Pollen: close up and personal.

Bees revel in pollen and flowers couldn’t reproduce without it, but for flower arrangers pollen is a pain, especially on anthers that protrude from flowers such as lilies.

Anyone who arranges flowers for church where vases sit on white linen is nervous about pollen. Celebrants and worshippers may brush inadvertently against a flower arrangement, so all stamens in church arrangements are best removed from the flowers.


  • Grasp the pistil and stamens with a tissue and sever them with a quick twist.
  • Or spray with hair spray to set the pollen in place.

If pollen grains do get onto fabric:

  • Shake the material to get rid of as much pollen as possible.
  • Suck up any remaining pollen with a hand-held vacuum, or apply sticky tape.


  • Dab at pollen stains with a damp cloth.
  • Try to brush it off with your hand, as this drives the grains deeper into the fabric.


  • Lie the fabric face down on a paper towel and dab from the back with dry cleaning fluid.
  • Shift repeatedly to clean spots as the towel absorbs the stain.
  • Then pre-treat with laundry stain remover and wash in the hottest water and bleach that the fabric can tolerate.
Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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