Whether you're working with cherries or cherry juice, one thing's for sure: cherry juice stains skin, clothing and just about any porous surface it touches. If you don't want your hands to look like a scary Halloween experiment gone awry, break out the lemon juice to get those ruddy stains off your skin.
Why Cherries Stain
Cherries and cherry juice, much like grapes, grape juice and wine, contain tannins, which are natural compounds found in many plants. Some forms of wood, nuts and berries also contain tannins that stain well enough to be used as dyes for fabric. Much like tannins dye fabric, they can dye skin and even teeth. Coffee and black tea also contain tannins, which is why some coffee and tea drinkers resort to a whitening toothpaste to remove beverage stains from their teeth.
The Lemon-Juice Method
Lemon juice, a naturally acidic liquid, helps remove cherry juice stains from skin. Rinse your hands, or wash them with soap first to remove as much of the cherry stain as possible. Dry your hands with paper towels to avoid transferring the stain to a hand towel. Slice a fresh lemon and squeeze some lemon juice directly atop the cherry-stained portions of your skin. Rub your hands together, and then rinse them under lukewarm water. You may need to repeat the lemon-juice hand wash several times to remove the cherry juice stains. You could also squeeze most of the juice out of the lemon for another kitchen project, then rub the inside part of the rind over your hand to release leftover lemon juice and oil. Don't apply lemon juice into open wounds, cracked skin or even something as minor as a paper cut, as it may burn.
The Baking Soda Method
Baking soda also works well as an all-around stain remover, even on cherry-stained skin. Wet your hands slightly, and then sprinkle a light coating of baking soda over the stained areas. Rub your hands together over a sink. Rinse the baking soda off, reapplying more as needed, to remove the rest of the cherry stain.
A Slick Solution
If part of the cherry stain remains even after using lemon juice and baking soda, grab whatever cooking oil you have on hand, such as vegetable oil or olive oil. Apply a drop or two of the oil to the affected area, and then rub the oil into your skin. The oil will help pull the remaining tannin stains out while moisturizing your skin. Wipe the area dry with paper towel and reapply oil, if necessary.
- You can also use bottled lemon juice if you don't have a lemon.
- Use an oxygen bleach product to remove cherry stains from utensils, hard surfaces and clothing.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, Kroger, SFGate and others.